I am sometimes asked what is Fine Art Wedding photography is and how it is different from other types of wedding photography.
The more textbook answer to the question is: Fine art photography is photography is created in with the vision of the artist (photographer). Fine art photography is different to photojournalism, which is only a documentary account of specific subjects and events. Photojournalism is a bit more like news coverage, as it happens, no more no less. Documentary is usually the same.
Now although I agree with the above I think it’s important to explain a bit about the different types of photography that are used and combined throughout a wedding day.
Weddings are a mixture of various genres of photography to begin with, which makes them more interesting than most genres of photography but also very difficult for many photographers. (I am one who believes it makes them more interesting)
Landscape photography: Venues are usually one of the first things a couple will decide on and tend to mean something special to the couple. Here in France often the town their family is from is chosen. A Destination Wedding couple may choose a gorgeous chateau, an amazing location next to the ocean say in the French Riviera. Now it is my job to use my landscape photography skills to encompass the venue location and the nature surrounding it. This is especially true when we’re speaking about weddings in locations such as the Provence in the South of France where vineyard and outdoor weddings are so popular. You want to look back and see where you held your wedding day, and the beauty around. Of course this is important for most locations. Here there is a very important balance of capturing the location AND the couple. This isn’t something you worry about for most locations in traditional weddings.
Still life photography: The devil is in the details, is that the saying? You want to remember all of the details such as your ring, your dress, your shoes and all the little details of the reception like the menu, floral arrangements etc. Brides often spend hours planning all of these little details. Too often photographers forget to photograph these details! I know my couples want these memories documented so I photograph all of them. These detail photographs make for lovely additions in the wedding albums and sometimes it’s the first time the couple really have the chance to see it all after the whirlwind of a day!
Children & Family Photography: So many weddings these days will have small children involved. Knowing how to photograph children is key for a successful wedding photographer. For the group photographs and for family members with children my Family Photography skills come out the most. It is especially helpful for couples now getting married after they already have children to know their wedding photographer is skilled in photographing children. I have photographed newborns and children of various ages. I’m pretty good at getting the smiles I must say.
Documentary photography: For the ceremony itself, as much as I would love to give more direction during the actual ceremony it is the biggest part of the day I have little control over. I may have choice of where I position myself, I may not have any control of my location, especially true where there are small ceremony locations and in some religious venues. I have to go with the “use what you have” principle and some times the perfectionist in me is struggling a bit! This is where creativity and skill are often combined and where my experience pays off when the conditions are more difficult.
Editorial photography: The couples portraits are where this comes into play the most as I will be looking to position you both in the best light with the most ideal background. I will then give a little gentle direction to make sure you both look fabulous. Then I have a few tricks to encourage real authentic emotion to make for a perfect image! This is the most fun part of the day for me usually, where I can really let my creativity flow and be the most artistic!
Weddings are really a mixture of the above genres of photography. You really do need to be a “jack of all trades” to be an amazing wedding photographer. For me Fine Art Photography is understanding and using the light to the best of my ability while combining my artistic vision to set the scene while giving gentle direction when needed to achieve my vision. The end result is dreamy, romantic wedding photographs that are still natural but with an artistic flare. My work has been described as Ethereal, Dreamy, Romantic and Evocative.
As well as being a photographer I am also a professional retoucher and I hand edit all of my images to a Fine Art Standard. This means I will spend the time correcting, perfecting and crafting your memories into art. I do not just burn anything to the USB directly. I want you to see your wedding photos and remember the memories of the day, to feel beautiful, and to have the desire to want to display them in your home! I want you see them every day and for your children to grow up with them on your walls. I don’t want them getting dusty in a cupboard somewhere.
Some photographers do not believe in any direction, they feel they should just capture life as it happens. They also may not process photographs at all either, choosing to just copy them to a CD or USB drive. This is against my beliefs as an artist and I feel a crucial step in the process of photography either it be film or digital is the processing that happens either in the physical dark room or in the digital darkroom and sometimes both. A lot of love goes into this step of the process for me, and I do not feel it can be rushed or skipped.
I do hope this helps to explain the differences in styles of photography and what goes into the wedding day from a photographer’s standpoint. I am always happy to discuss my process to couples personally! It is so important to have a photographer that you really connect with, don’t forget besides documenting memories and crafting them into art, I am there with you throughout your wedding day. Documenting memories for future generations.