Wedding photography is the photography of activities relating to weddings. It encompasses photographs of the couple before marriage (for announcements, portrait displays, or thank you cards) as well as coverage of the wedding and reception (sometimes referred to as the wedding breakfast in non-US countries).
During the film era, photographers favored color negative film and medium-format cameras, especially by Hasselblad. Today, many more weddings are photographed with digital SLR cameras as the digital convenience provides quick detection of lighting mistakes and allows creative approaches to be reviewed immediately.
In spite of diminishing film use, some photographers continue to shoot with film as they prefer the film aesthetic, and others are of the opinion that negative film captures more information than digital technology, and has less of a margin for exposure error. Certainly true in some cases, it should be noted that exposure latitude inherent in a camera’s native Raw image format (which allows for more under- and over- exposure than JPEG) varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. All forms of RAW have a degree of exposure latitude which exceeds slide film – to which digital capture is commonly compared.
Technology has evolved with the use of remote triggers and flashes. Wedding photographers are now able to take advantage of traveling light and having the ability to use creative lighting.
There are two primary approaches to wedding photography that are recognized today: Traditional and Photojournalistic. Traditional wedding photography provides for more classically posed images and a great deal of photographer control interaction on the day of the wedding. A Photojournalist style of wedding photography takes its cue from editorial reporting styles and focuses more on candid images with little photographer interaction. These are two extremes and many of today’s photographers will fall somewhere in the middle of these two styles.
A third style that is becoming more popular is a fashion-based approach. In contemporary/fashion-based wedding photography, photojournalist will combine candid images of the events of the day with posed images that are inspired by editorial fashion photography as would be found in magazines like Vogue or Vanity Fair. This style often involves more innovative and dramatic post-processing of images.
A fourth style is wedding studio photography. Typically, couples will select a studio in. They will then make an appointment with the studio for either in-studio or location shoot, which is becoming popular in recent years, to do “glamour wedding shots”. In attendance will be a hair stylist and make-up artist in addition to the photographer and the couple. The couple will go through many changes of clothing and backgrounds in a similar manner to the fashion based approach.
Portrait photography or portraiture is photography of a person or group of people that displays the expression, personality, and mood of the subject. Like other types of portraiture, the focus of the photograph is usually the person’s face, although the entire body and the background or context may be included.
Approaches to Portraiture
There are essentially four approaches that can be taken in photographic portraiture — the constructionist, environmental, candid and creative approaches. Each approach has been used over time for different reasons be they technical, artistic or cultural. The constructionist approach is when the photographer in their portraiture constructs an idea around the portrait happy family, romantic couple, and trustworthy executive. It is the approach used in most studio and social photography. It is also used extensively in advertising and marketing when an idea has to be put across. The environmental approach depicts the subject in their environment be that a work, leisure, social or family one. They are often shown as doing something, a teacher in a classroom, an artist in a studio, a child in a playground. With the environmental approach more is revealed about the subject. Environmental pictures can have good historical and social significance as primary sources of information. The candid approach is where people are photographed without their knowledge going about their daily business. Whilst this approach taken by the paparazzi is criticized and frowned upon for obvious reasons, less invasive and exploitative candid photography has given the world superb and important images of people in various situations and places over the last century. As with environmental photography, candid photography is important as a historical source of information about people. The Creative Approach is where digital manipulation (and formerly darkroom manipulation) is brought to bear to produce wonderful pictures of people. It is becoming a major form of portraiture as these techniques become more widely understood and used.
Styles of Portraiture
There are many different techniques for portrait photography. Often it is desirable to capture the subject’s eyes and face in sharp focus while allowing other less important elements to be rendered in a soft focus. At other times, portraits of individual features might be the focus of a composition such as the hands, eyes or part of the subject’s torso. Additionally another style such as head shot has come out of the portraiture technique and had become a style on its own.
Traditional– Formal senior portraits, in and of themselves, date back at least to the 1880s in America. Some traditional senior portrait sittings include a cap and gown and other changes of clothing, portrait styles and poses. In recent decades, the convention has been to feature male students in tuxedo jackets and female students in a silk or fur drape and a pearl necklace which is meant to simulate the appearance of a formal gown. In some schools a portrait studio is invited to the school to ensure all senior portraits (for the yearbook) are similar in pose and style, and so that students who cannot afford to purchase these portraits on their own or choose not to purchase portraits will appear in the yearbook the same as other students. Other schools allow students to choose a studio and submit portraits on their own.
Modern-Modern-Senior portraits may include virtually any pose or clothing choice, within the limits of good taste. Students often appear with pets, student athletes of both sexes pose in letterman jackets or their playing uniforms, while many men choose glamour photography. Outdoor “location” photos continue to increase in popularity, replacing studio portraits. Picture proofs are usually available to view online the next day which are lower quality, unedited and often with a watermark of the studio.
Senior Portraits– Senior portraits are often included in graduation announcements or are given to friends and family. They are also used in yearbooks and are usually rendered larger than their underclassmen counterparts and are often featured in color, even if the rest of the yearbook is mostly reproduced in black and white. In some schools the requirements are strict regarding the choice of photographer or in the style of portraiture, with only traditional-style portraits being acceptable. Many schools choose to contract one photographer for their yearbook portraits, while other schools allow many different photographers to submit yearbook portraits.
Commercial Photography is probably best defined as any photography for which the photographer is paid for images rather than works of art. In this light, money could be paid for the subject of the photograph or the photograph itself. Wholesale, retail, and professional uses of photography would fall under this definition. The commercial photographic world could include:
- Advertising photography: photographs made to illustrate and usually sell a service or product. These images are generally done with an advertising agency, design firm or with an in-house corporate design team.
- Fashion and glamour photography usually incorporates models and is a form of advertising photography. Fashion photography emphasizes clothes and other products; glamour emphasizes the model and body form.
- Still life photography usually depicts inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural or man-made. Still life is a broader category for food and some natural photography and can be used for advertising purposes.
- Editorial photography illustrates a story or idea within the context of a magazine. These are usually assigned by the magazine and encompass fashion and glamour photography features.
Photojournalism can be considered a subset of editorial photography. Photographs made in this context are accepted as a documentation of a news story.
Still life photography
Still life photography is a genre of photography used for the depiction of inanimate subject matter, typically a small group of objects. It is the application of photography to the still life artistic style.
Landscape photographs typically capture the presence of nature but can also focus on man-made features or disturbances of landscapes.
Photojournalism is the process of storytelling using the medium of photography as your main story telling device. While a journalist will use their pen and paper to tell stories, a photojournalist will use their camera to capture the visual representation of a story.
Architectural photography is the photographing of buildings and similar structures that are both aesthetically pleasing and accurate representations of their subjects.
Event photography is the practice of photographing guests and occurrences at any Event or occasion where one may hire a photographer for.