There are so many decisions – both big and small – that all come together to create a wedding celebration that perfectly represents your love story. A major key to telling that story is determining the perfect photography style for you. Think about it: after the cake is cut, you’ve danced your final dance, and the last gift is unwrapped, the only thing left after your wedding day are your photos. Photos you’ll love, cherish, and want to proudly display in your home. Photos you’ll show your future grandchildren! And that’s why it’s so important to find the right photographer (and photography editing style) to capture your love story.
Before you started planning your wedding, you may have thought there isn’t much difference between wedding photographers besides their pricing. Maybe you already knew light & airy and dark & moody were distinct editing styles (thanks to Instagram) but not much beyond that. In reality, there are many different photography approaches and editing styles to choose from. Each of them evokes different moods and emotions and pair well with different wedding themes.
To learn more about the five most popular wedding photography styles, I interviewed four fellow Kansas City photographers (and myself). My goal is to help you identify which style speaks to you the most, and why. It doesn’t matter how a style speaks to you, just that it does. You are selecting a wedding photographer for your wedding to capture your memories. Maybe it’s the way a style makes you feel. Maybe you can imagine these types of photos hanging in your home. Or maybe you’re just drawn to the color palettes! Whatever the reason, determining the perfect photography style for you is a major step in finding your photographer!
LIGHT & AIRY
Light and airy images feature soft – but bright – natural light, like you can see the air floating through the image. All tones are even throughout a light and airy image (there are no harsh shadows), and it’s often described as “fairytale-like”.
Why this style:
“I always find myself riveted by light and airy photos. There is something about bright, clean photos that catches my eye. Light and airy photos have a timeless feel; they are classic. I love bright, glowing images with clean skin tones because they are always in style.”
– Kelsey Alumbaugh, Kelsey Alumbaugh Photography
BRIGHT & CLASSIC
The bright and classic style features vibrant colors, true-to-life skin tones, and balanced lighting (not too light, not too dark).
Why this style:
“To be quite honest, I fought this style for a long time as I developed my own approach and voice with my photography. I thought it was too safe, too expected. But time and again I found myself gravitating back to this style of editing. I mean, there’s a reason I picked it for my own wedding! Its timelessness draws me in. By capturing true-to-life color and lighting, my clients can focus on the most important thing in their photos: how they feel about each other in that moment.”
– Bailey Pianalto, Bailey Pianalto Photography
DARK & MOODY
Dark and moody images highlight darker shadows and deeper colors (think gem tones). They give off cinematic vibes and are often described as “brooding and romantic”.
Why this style:
“One of the reasons I am meant to be a wedding photographer is my passion for love and romance. My eye gravitates to dark (but vibrant and rich colors), deep tones, and contrast that enhances an emotional romantic theme. I use dark and moody photography to draw the eye to the focus of the photo, using the background to accent, but not take away, from the subject. Using this style, my work has been described as ‘intimate’ and ‘enchanting’.”
– Cassandra Plummer, Cassandra Marie Photography
Filmy matte photos are digital images edited to look like film photos. They feature bright whites, cool (blue-y) greens, and luminous skin tones.
Why this style:
“I’m a digital photographer but have always been drawn to the film-inspired look. There’s something about the “cleanness” of this style of photography that I love. Since starting my photography journey, my style has evolved, but my core principles haven’t. These principles have given my photography a classic, consistent style that both my clients and I love.”
– Angie Scott, Angie Scott Photography
In these types of photos, certain colors (often primary colors) are desaturated to draw the focus away from them, allowing other elements of the image to stand out.
Why this style:
“Coming from a background in fine art, I look at my work within the context of art history. As a painter and drawer, I frequently work in a reduced palette of earth tones. The limiting of one’s palette is a conscious choice today, but this method dates back to eras when painters were not able to access pigments to create “strong colors”. My attraction to muted tones comes from a personal romantic notion of time’s presence; within relationships we see this manifested as the weight of our personal pasts, and the hope we have in love moving forward into marriage.”
– Juliana Noelle Jumper, Juliana Noelle Jumper Photography
DETERMINING THE PERFECT PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE FOR YOU
Each of these photography editing styles speaks to people differently. Some are drawn to brighter images, while others gravitate to more subdued color palettes. Thankfully, the odds are very good that there’s a photographer out there that fits your personal style and needs. Now that you have determined the type of photography style that you most want to capture your wedding day, you’ve made your decision a little less daunting! While searching for the right photographer, ask yourself these three things.
A photographer’s editing style is only part of what makes them the perfect photographer for you. Knowing your posing preference and finding a photographer that fits your personality will help make your big day run smoother and more relaxing for you, which will help capture the best possible moments on your wedding day!
- Does the photographer’s style match the style that I’m looking for?
- What is their posing style and approach? Do I want more posed photos, more candid photos, or a mix of both?
- Does the photographer’s personality seem like a good fit for me? Keep in mind, you’re going to be spending all day with this person. Finding a photographer that will bring out the best in you on your wedding day will bring out the best photos of you!