I always tell my wedding photography clients, the three things you get to keep from your wedding day are your rings, your spouse and your wedding photos. Everyone has different priorities when planning their wedding; whether it be venue (honestly ours), dress or food, photography should always break the top few items on your wedding planning to-do list. But how do you choose a wedding photographer, and how do you know which wedding photography style fits you best?

It can be hard to articulate what you're looking for in a wedding photographer. Maybe you like the style of a certain already booked or out-of-budget photographer but you can't describe what their photos look like? Or perhaps you're a photo novice and you're not quite sure which group you and your fiance fit into.

Fine art, reportage, editorial, documentary, cinematic, traditional – we make sense of all of these sometimes confusing and ambiguous wedding photography keywords and help you find which photography style fits you and your love the best!

Fine Art Film Wedding Photography

fine art film editorial wedding photography by Corinne Graves

Photography by Corinne Graves

Wondering how to describe that dreamy, grainy, light and airy photography filling your Instagram feed lately? The best keywords to go hunting for your dreamy photographer is “Fine Art Wedding Photography” made so gorgeous thanks to being shot with film (or analog) cameras.

Fine Art Photography, or Film Photography, touts creamy textures, a fine grain that makes for crisp – super high resolution – portraits, and a slight desaturation. Thanks to the modern age, wedding photographers who have mastered this style (humble brag: like our future wedding photographer Corinne Graves) take photos on film, scan the negatives and are able to edit the images further for flawless, heirloom style photos.

Generally, these coveted fine art film photographers come at a higher price tag. Not only because their technical talent deserves to be rewarded, but purchasing and developing film for your wedding can be costly for the photographer.

Candid Documentary Style Wedding Photography

Looking to ditch the bridal portraits and maximize your photographer's wedding coverage with candid moments of you and your loved ones? Candid documentary-style photographers capture real-life rather than poses, giving you those “magic moments” and make sure nothing looks staged. This is my (Claire Eliza) signature style!

There are a number of keywords to use to find such cinematic photographers: candid, free-spirited, documentary, photojournalistic, reportage and even “unposed”.

The editing style can vary – some photographers (like myself) err on the lighter side, freely manipulating colors and lighting in post-production producing airier, film-like photos. Other photographers go totally photojournalistic (like Remain in Light Photography below) and make minimal changes leaving their photos more newspaper-esque, and true to the event's natural light and colors.

Editorial Wedding Photography

On the contrary, if you love bridal portraits, photos of all the pretty details, and can't wait for that sunset session with your babe, try searching for an editorial wedding photographer.

Imagine the wedding photos you see in magazines – photos of the rings, tablescapes, the dress hanging, couple portraits, and a few essential wedding moments – everything is framed perfectly, evenly lit, crisp, clean and print ready. Editorial wedding photographers make you look like a model, posing and staging everything just right without looking staged.

Darin Images does a great job of this at sunset in Thailand: the couple is kissing, walking, hugging – clearly on a long portrait session. But they still look natural and in love. If you dream of seeing your wedding featured in print, or on a blog (say Bridal Musings?) this editorial approach of details plus portraits will give you the best shot.

Traditional Wedding Photography

Classic brides (& grooms!) who love the timeless elegance of their parents' & grandparents' wedding albums should stick to traditional wedding photography.

Traditional wedding photographers are perfect for couples with a specific shot list. Bridal portraits on the stairs featuring a long train, wide-angle shots of you and your love in the cathedral, plenty of combinations with bridesmaids and family members and classic staged portraits will all be included in traditional wedding photography packages.

Storyett often delivers to us gorgeous contemporary versions of traditional wedding photography. Sticking to those classic portraits, with bright colors and loads of whimsy.

Dark & Dramatic Wedding Photography

But not all couples need bright and colorful photos! Thankfully, with the endless amount of talented photographers available, if darker, moodier photos are your thing, there are plenty of options.

If you dream of windswept stormy portraits, artistic compositions with dark colors and a fearless photographer, search for “dramatic” or “dark” wedding photography styles. These photographers generally mesh a cinematic editorial style of shooting, with darker colors and moody lighting. Think editorial shoots for Nylon or indie art magazines.

Oak & Blossom are such a great example of this style – beautiful, emotive, moody photographs. They delicately manage to capture dark, dramatic photos that still fit a beautiful, happy event.

Wondering where to start searching for the perfect wedding photographer? Check our Real Wedding archives and search by style and location to browse a variety of photo styles. Couples looking for photojournalistic style photographers can browse through this fabulous site, and save tons of fab poses for your editorial and traditional wedding photography here.