Lace wedding dresses were in, then out, and then back in again – and just like the bridal gown, wedding photography trends change with time. Remember how selective colour was once popular? The soft look of film went out with the arrival of digital, then back in with Instagram, right alongside those now popular lace gowns.
When it comes to wedding photography, do you really want the bride and groom to look back on their 50th anniversary and regret their photographs as much as they regret mullets and bell bottoms? Where can photographers draw the line between finding something new, and creating something that will only be laughed at down the road? These nine wedding photography themes are a safe bet for images that won’t go out of style.
Formal poses will likely always have their place in wedding photography. Classic poses show the bride and groom in all their decked out wedding day glory, often showing details that may sometimes be overlooked in the candid shots. Even in the days of Facebook and selfies, an image of the couple together looking at the camera — like for a formal newspaper announcement — will likely always have its place.
Classic poses aren’t necessarily stiff gazes into the camera either — the bride looking at her bouquet is another example of a classic wedding photo. The rings together, the formal family group photos. Classic photos aren’t necessarily always the couple’s favorite, but they help capture details for a varied wedding album that doesn’t go out of style.
Black and white
No matter how far technology pushes photography past the roots of black and white film, a good black and white shot will always be fashionable. When you remove the colour from an image, you force the viewer to notice other elements — the way the groom’s hand rests softly on the bride’s cheek, the subtle contrast in the wedding dress, the way the light filters through the sanctuary’s stained glass windows.
Wedding albums shouldn’t be black and white in their entirety (after all, colour is a detail the couple will want to remember too), but a few good black and whites help give the wedding day photos some classic appeal that will last through every anniversary.
Ultimately, as wedding photographers capture details of the day as they unfold, they’re working like photojournalists. The candid shots, whether that’s during the ceremony, while getting ready or at a less traditional (but still fashionable) first look, will never go out of style. Couples want to remember the way the groom’s face looked as the bride walked down the aisle or the way the ring exchange was filled with nervous laughter.
Photojournalist wedding photography styles are often mixed with the classics to create a cohesive collection of memories of the big wedding day — but those candids will never go out of style.
Lifestyle wedding photography is when classic poses meets halfway with photojournalism. The photographer gives the couple some direction, like asking them to walk hand in hand, to slow dance or to hold each other in a certain way, but then steps back and lets the moment unfold. Lifestyle wedding photography is photojournalism, but with a bit of pre-prompting.
Lifestyle wedding photography often creates the shots that strangers can look at and think, Man, those two are in love. This wedding photography style won’t go out of fashion, because remembering the way your spouse looked at you on your wedding day or the way he made you laugh will always be an image to cherish.
The bride and groom put a lot of time and effort into planning every last detail — and photographs keep those details intact as the years go by. A close-up of the bouquet will last long after the flowers have wilted. Shots of the tables will keep long after the decorations have been tucked away.
Shooting the details isn’t a wedding photography theme to encompass the entire day, but paired with other styles, capturing the little things helps create a complete album the couple will love just as much on their fiftieth anniversary as they did when they saw it for the first time.
Sometimes, wedding photography themes are just as much a post-processing technique as they are a shooting technique. Instagram has made retro looks and extreme processing popular, but the more an image is altered, the more likely that look will eventually go out of style. Taking a digital image and doing selective colour or making it look like a dirty piece of old film will increase the odds that the image will eventually go out of style.
That’s not to say all image editing is bad — but sticking away from the extremes will prevent the images from becoming unfashionable before the couple’s tenth anniversary. When using Professional Photo Editors, they can edit your wedding photo to black and white, adding a subtle warming effect, removing skin blemishes, correcting lighting and other more minute adjustments likely to avoid becoming photography’s equivalent of the bowl cut, unlike those one-click Instagram-like filters.
The photographer offers a perspective of the wedding that’s different from the bride and groom and every guest. Using compositional techniques to create a unique image of the couple’s big day, allowing them to see it from another perspective, will likely never go out of style. Unique angles present the event in a different, often fun, way.
Just be careful not to go too crazy with angles — up-the-nose shots have never been in style and never will be.
Sticking with techniques that have withstood the transition from film to digital is a pretty good bet for finding a photography style that will always be fashionable — and what’s more fashionable than a bit of bokeh? Using a wide aperture to blur the background eliminates distractions and draws more focus to the subject. Weddings often feature a number of different settings for taking that blurred background further with some out-of-focus lights, whether that’s from the DJ’s dance floor lights or the strands of Christmas lights the couple used to decorate.
As a tried-and-true technique, beautiful bokeh isn’t likely to become a photography fashion flop anytime soon.
Just like bokeh, light manipulation techniques will likely never go out of style. Some of them have been more popular than others over the decades, but years later, split lighting and Rembrandt lighting is still “in” — and the same goes for more dramatic effects, like backlighting a couple in the rain or snow or turning a simple window into a stunning backdrop.
Lighting is often something that photographers can (and should) use to define their own unique style that sets them apart from other photographers and gives their work a cohesive look. While extreme editing techniques and different types of props and poses may go in and out of style, lighting techniques can help to keep a cohesive look across the decades.
Wedding Photography Themes
Wedding trends go in and out of style as quickly as different styles of jeans. Photographers need to consider how their work will look not only when the couple returns fresh from their honeymoon, but decades from now. Things like extreme digital filters are best avoided to keep the wedding album trendy for years to come. And while props like sparklers and smoke bombs will date the images as to when that particular shoot was popular, finding your own photography style and continually challenging yourself to shoot better images will never go out of fashion.