Sunday, 26 August 2012

Developing a Style in Wedding Photography

Wedding photography is one of the most important genres of photography. It is and has always been the livelihood of the majority of professional photographers.

Wedding Photography
Photo By seanmolin

In the earlier days of wedding photography; there used to be the traditional style where in photographers had a ‘list of shots’ to be made and they went by it to record a wedding including many studio sessions with sets and backgrounds and intricate lighting set-ups. Then the journalistic style of wedding photography evolved, where in photographers tend to go with the flow, recording events as it unfolds, often going the candid route. People were not posed and various emotions were captured even without the subject being totally unaware of it.

Most wedding photographers fall into either one of these two categories but whatever your chosen route is, it is essential to develop a unique style of storytelling which could be easily recognized by others. You should develop a distinct photographic style which would make your work stand out from the rest of the crowd. Seeing a picture people should immediately associate it to your style and that’s the key to generating more demand for your photography skills.

Wedding Photography
Photo By seanmolin

Remember the families of whom you shoot will actually treasure your work for generations, showing it to their friends, colleagues, neighbours and acquaintances all of whom may be potential clients for your work.

Some Points to Remember When Evolving Your Own Unique Style

Remember, for you to be a successful wedding photographer, your work should stand the test of time. So try to keep using the current trends to a minimum level and do include classic style shots too in your album.

wedding photography tips
Photo By seanmolin

Some trends in photography which are popular currently may not be so popular a few years down the line. For example, tilting the frame to add an extra dimension, using heavy vignette effects, ultra wide angle distortions, extremes of colour, diffusion etc were all popular at some point of time, but not any more. Such effects will actually ruin your album by making it look very dated. On the contrary less gimmicky work in the lines of good photo journalistic photography will look current even after many years have passed.

You could learn many a things from the movie industry and adopt it in your wedding photography style, like establishing of a scene with a wide angle shot, then moving in with a medium shot and then capturing details with tight close ups etc.

wedding photography tutorial
Photo By Bertpalmer

You could also depend on various sources like works of great painters, good photographic magazines, fashion calendars and catalogues and even facebook albums of your friends for inspiration. Learn to read and interpret a picture, de-construct it, break it down to its core elements and find out what makes it a great picture. Practice this and in due time you will start to see opportunities for potentially great pictures in your everyday life, not to mention work site. It should also be mentioned here that while taking inspiration from the work of others is acceptable, never try to copy anyone else’s photographic style, instead understand the fundamentals, put your own creative thinking into work, use your imagination and come up with your own versions of it and slowly you will see your own style evolving out of the process.

One way to practice developing a unique style is to limit the focal lengths available for you to work with. For example purposefully shoot a wedding with only a 50mm prime, an 85mm prime and a 17mm or 24mm wide this limitations will actually force you to think of how best to make use of the available options and will aid in developing your own style in wedding photography. Another approach is to use consistent aperture values in all shots, like sticking to f/4 or f/5.6 etc. Do give it a try and see if it works for you.

wedding photography tips
Photo By kellyniemannphotography

While organizing your wedding album there should be an order and continuity in the shots, in fact going through the album should be like a story telling session where the story slowly unfolds with the flipping of each page, taking the viewer through the set of events that took place in fine detail. Going through the album one who was present at the scene should re-live the experience and one who was not present should feel like he or she was actually there. If you accomplish this with your work then there is no turning back.

Evolution is a Continuous Process

Always keep your options open, keep looking for new ways to improve your photography skills and allow your style to evolve continually. Not only does this allow you to stay on top of current trends in the industry but also create a brand value for your pictures. Stick to good photographic principles, present your work in the best way possible and your clients will consider you above the rest of the competition.

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