Wedding Photography Trends.
Wedding photography trends come and go and I have seen many amazing and interesting methods over the last ten years. Some things have come and gone. Some that I have tried, some I have avoided but I have tried to learn from them all.
I will look at some of the more prevalent things I have seen recently then give some of my thoughts about the future.
Colour and effects.
Colour tints and vintage look photographs –
I have seen this done well and it can create spectacular images. It can also make your wedding photography look very dated. I have played around with some of these techniques generally at the request of a couple. I have been delighted with the results but I have always included a set of classicly edited images for the couples too.
Selective colouring within an image –
I started seeing a lot of this in the late 00’s. Another technique that if done correctly (and sparingly) can create beautiful visual effects. It started to become known among wedding photographers as “Schindlering” from the film “Schindler’s list”. I have seen it being done way too much and very poorly. But like everything, there is a time and a place for everything.
Black and White photography –
This seems to come and go depending on the photographer but I love black and white. You will see quite a bit of it in my work. For me it makes the viewer focus on the content of the image. This is especially true for photographs with emotional content.
Colour in a photograph can either add impact or distract from the visual. Whenever I photograph a wedding I have my camera set to show a black and white preview. This is because on the occasions I do check my images during the day I am concerned with exposure, framing and image content. I find colour distracts from these key elements.
When I am editing a set of wedding photographs the decision over whether the image will end up a colour or black and white photograph is a critical one for me.
Dramatic lighting for wedding portraits –
I love using flashes and getting beautifully lit dramatic images. As well as being special images for the couple they are good to showcase my work and get noticed. They are becoming more of an expected part of wedding photography than something unique and I think this will continue.
A trend that started in Chinese and South Asian marriages. Post and pre-wedding photography sessions are to be here to stay.
A pre-wedding or engagement shoot
is a great way to get to know your photographer. and of course, an excellent way for your photographer to get to know you. As a wedding photographer, I enjoy these. It gives me a chance to see how the couple interact.
How comfortable the couples are with a camera pointed at them. Do they need posing or are they natural posers? If you can get away without giving too many directions to a couple the photographs will always look more natural.
Images from these photography sessions are often used for invites or “save the day” cards too.
Post-wedding or ‘Cherish the dress’ photo-shoots
have also become more popular over the last few years. A great excuse to but the wedding dress back on and have some fun. I have photographed quite a few of these and they are great. Nobody is pre-occupied with the wedding day. The whole shoot is just about having some fun and making pretty pictures. Plus is the dress gets a bit dirty it’s no big deal.
These are a great way to celebrate an anniversary or if you have it shortly after the wedding you can use the images for thank you cards.
Staged weddings –
I often see these on Pinterest and in portfolios. Sometimes they are from a ‘Cherish the dress photoshoot”. Sometimes for commercial shoots. The images are often beautiful but obviously taken in a studio environment. I love using flashes at a wedding to give beautiful high quality looking images. A wedding is a fast-paced event and it is important to get beautiful images but it is a wedding and I try not to upset the flow of the day too much.
Same day wedding photography edits.
This can be a wonderful and powerful thing to do. I have on a few occasions taken a selection of images from the morning and the wedding ceremony. Given them a quick edit to have them ready to display on a large screen or projected for the wedding guests in the evening. It is great for people who may not have seen these events. It is also a good marketing piece for me and has gotten me bookings there and then.
Camera phones – have moved on so much over the past few years. I have seen stunning images taken with an iPhone at a wedding and it is so instant, snap, click and post. I can imagine somebody out there photographing a whole wedding on a cell phone but for me, there is still a place for a professional camera and more importantly good quality lenses as a wedding photographer.
Drones at weddings – These appear to divide some people. I know wedding photographers that hate them. One work with from time to time visibly shudders when he hears that distinctive sound of a drone in flight. I think they give you the opportunity to get photographs and video from angles that would have been impossible to achieve a few years ago. I have had to get myself in some precarious places to get a specific shot in the past that with a drone would have been so simple.
Unplugged wedding ceremonies.
I am seeing more and more weddings where couples are asking their guest to leave the cameras and phones in their bags and pockets. I think mainly because they want their guests focused on the day and having fun. Also because we live so much of our lives on social media couples don’t want their wedding ceremony ‘live streamed’ for the world to see. So much of our lives is constantly out there that sometimes we just want some privacy.
Also if you are paying a professional to photograph your wedding day having uncle Bob slowing things down to get a similar shot can be distracting. Personally, I like guests taking pictures. In just about every wedding I have photographed there has been a guest (a few times with better equipment than me). Who has asked questions, or wanted some advice and I’m always happy to help, just not as I’m trying to get those crucial shots.
What could be better than a destination wedding? For some, this is the fairytale. For others the idea of not having everybody there is a disaster. We are all different but in my experience destination weddings are on the increase. Instead of spending vast amounts of money paying for people who you hardly know to be at your wedding I am seeing many couples choose to spend it on themselves. Start with a holiday, get married then you are instantly on honeymoon.
Sounds perfect and if I was planning my wedding it is almost certainly the way I would go. When I quote for destination wedding packages I only charge extra for my transport and two nights accommodation. With air travel being so cost-effective these days that is not a significant addition.
Another alternative I see a lot is people getting married abroad then returning to the UK and having a second “event” for friends and family. That way they get the best of both and as the wedding is already done things are often more relaxed and informal.
Who pays for wedding photography?
I think it has become the exception that family and specifically the brides family are the ones paying for the wedding day. More and more couples are being responsible for their wedding costs. Often with help from both families.
The friend of the family wedding photographer – I am seeing less of this. I think many brides and grooms have been disappointed by the results of either asking a mate with a camera or hiring somebody cheap. I know people who have said it was their most significant bad wedding decision. Once the wedding day is over the photographs are the most tangible and shareable memories you have. As I was told a long time ago “Quality is rarely cheap and cheap is rarely quality”
Dirty wedding photographers.
Or dirty wedding photography. This comes in many forms and isn’t really anything new. It can be an accidental picture that is a little compromising. It can be a staged photograph that has the bide and groom (or wedding guests) looking like they are performing some sexual act. Maybe a setup shot intended to just be a little provocative and sexy that crossed a line. But lines are a personal thing. One persons sexy is persons trashy.
A few years ago it was quite popular for a bride to be to have a boudoir photography session before the wedding. Sometimes these photo shoots were made into an album, book or gift set as a wedding present for the groom. Maybe this has helped spawn the popularity of adding these types of images to a wedding day.
Where ever your opinion falls on this, harmless bit of fun, trashy and vulgar or hilarious must have pictures, it’s here and we’ll probably see more in 2019.
So what will 2019 bing to your wedding?
I think there will be more technologies in camera developments. As photographers, we are always looking out for shiny sexy new stuff. That’s always the case.
Cinematic/filmic look photographs are gaining in popularity and I expect to see much more in 2019
Things like drones (and safer drones). are here to stay unless legislation and wedding venues put an end to them.
More photojournalistic and candid photography with only a little formal photography.
Couples will continue to carry the bulk of their wedding cost.
Pre-wedding shoots and cherish the dress type sessions will grow in popularity and I welcome that.
More people will be heading to the sun to get married (just keep an eye on how Brexit effects that).
More people will be willing to invest in good quality professional photographers and not leave their images to change with a friend who photographs as a hobby or somebody they found cheap on facebook.
Couples will be looking for something unique, new and different.
Weddings will continue to be fun times of celebrating the start of a new chapter in a couples life together.
Long live black and white wedding photography!
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