Photography Styles: What Do They Mean?

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Wedding photography is usually one of the first vendors you’ll start looking for once a ring is on your finger! After setting a budget, picking a venue/your date, looking into photographers typically is one that comes next. With it being such a large part of your day, it’s important to know all the different types of photography that are out there.

Over the years, different styles of photography have popped up and continue to! It’s important as you start consulting with businesses to know the style you love and want to look back on for years to come. The style of your photographer and how they shoot won’t change, and you should never ask them to. Pick a photographer who’s style aligns with your vision, and ultimately one you click with personality-wise as well!

We have lots of tips on how to consult with potential photographers, but before you can vet them, one needs to know what they’re looking for. We’ve gathered feedback from four of our favorite Ohio photographers about their styles! They explain their type of photography, how they create it and why they choose it as their medium. Take a look!

Kismet Visuals & Co.

“Choosing a photographer is an important style decision. It’s just like choosing your colors or florals for your wedding.

I always recommend browsing through local (or maybe not local) photographers work. Save the ones that speak to you, the ones you gravitate towards and search for that common theme. Is it the colors and editing you like? Is it the posing?

There are SO many wonderful photographers out there, but each one will be able tell your wedding day story in a unique way. I’ve been shooting weddings for ten years. While my skills have definitely grown, the one thing that has stayed consistent is the authenticity of my photos! I want the posing to feel authentic and the editing to feel lifelike. I am inspired in so many ways by film, but I am not a film shooter, nor am I trying to pass my work off as film! The range that you see in film is something I love: the highlights, shadows and grit. But I want my work to be authentic to what it is. That is digital photography.

I hope when someone sees my work, they know that it is going to be timeless. There are no filters added to it that will later date it. I like my greens to stay pretty true to life and skin tones to be accurate. Shooting with a more bright and airy feel in mind, I do this because bright and airy to me feels happy!

In my initial meetings I have many couples ask what style of photography that I consider my work to be. I don’t like to put myself into a box. I go into every wedding (and every shoot I do) with one goal in mind – That is, to offer my clients a variety when it comes to the style of photos they will get. My couples will receive traditional photos, the ones where they are looking at the camera and smiling. I often remind them that grandparents and parents love these shots for their mantles 🙂

My most popular style, and the one I love most, is what I call “guided lifestyle.” This is what you see most when you land on my website or Instagram. They are authentic moments of my couples or families, with a little help from me to get there. I find the best light, the most flattering angle, then give them some suggestions to get the pose to look natural. Then, I let them take it from there. Often times, it’s as simple as telling my couple to look at each other and laugh! This makes them feel silly, and in return I get genuine laughter that is so cute and filled with joy.

The third style I give my clients in their wedding images is documentary.  I often hear from my couples that these photos are their favorites to look at because they were not even aware I was taking the photo. They are like a bonus or a surprise for them. And who doesn’t love a surprise?! I stand further back with a longer lens. It allows me to be a part of that moment without them knowing, and therefore, true and genuine moments are captured.

These three styles are so important and always on the forefront of my mind while shooting. I truly believe it’s why so many of my couples are thrilled with their photos and refer me to others! They don’t feel like all of their wedding images are one style and can enjoy the variety of what their day provided. I encourage you to find someone who fits your style. Be aware of the value in what they are offering. This is my perspective on your wedding day, and I assure you that it will be captured as authentically as you planned it.

Thanks for following along with me as I delved into a little bit of my style.  Happy wedding planning, brides and grooms!”

You can check out more of Allison’s work via her (new) website, here! And you can also follow along on Instagram, @kismetvisuals.

The Brauns Photography

“Our photography is first and foremost rooted in photojournalism. We document weddings in a way that is honest and reveals the heart and soul of the story. We focus on authentic moments that happen organically, and we approach everything with a mindfulness that emphasizes the significance of the day. Weddings are meant to be an emotional celebration of love, and the best way to honor that is by carefully using our presence to enhance the experience, rather than distract from it. It’s really amazing how our actions and our etiquette can impact our client’s experience in a positive way!

Stylistically, we focus on classical elements such as lighting, contrast, line and form. Our style is often described as being “darker,” although we don’t push too far into the moody, noir look. Our goal is to produce images that are beautiful, but also elicit a memory. What is the point of wedding photography, if not to help the bride and groom relive the emotions and memories of their wedding day?”

You can check out more of The Braun’s work via their website, here! And you can also follow along on Instagram, @wearethebrauns.

Lauren Lee Photography

“Stylistically, I have defined myself as a fine art photographer with a photojournalistic approach. I particularly fell in love with the fine art style, which is most often viewed in the photography world by the use of film and soft, dream-like images created with purpose. I love it’s artful look and timeless quality. Personally, I love the tones of film and while I shoot medium format film, I’m most often achieving a match digitally. Seeing the light around me and where I place my subjects is a defining element to my style. I use a combination of clean compositions, attractive light, motion and emotion to define my specific style.

When it comes to a wedding day, preserving moments is my top priority. I
definitely still bring my background as a newspaper photojournalist into each wedding day. I believe in letting a moment unfold naturally and capturing the real. Creating a level of comfort in front of my lens is how I want my clients to feel and how I believe I am recognized. I love serving modern, romantic, fun and adventurous couples who care about the little details but even more so, for the moments that mean the most!

More thoughts and questions to consider:

When I’m classifying photographs, I can typically divide a diverse body of work into the following categories: Film + digital film tones, dark and moodier tones, bright and airy, vibrant and punchy, and more of a natural straight out of camera ‘RAW’ look. The colors and tones of a photograph should feel pleasing to you as a viewer as well as the overall look.

An overall look is achieved by the technical skills and choices made by the photographer. How does the photographer handle depth-of-field? Do the images have soft backgrounds and sharp subjects or is it more in-focus throughout the entire image? Is there consistency and/or purpose to the photographers technical choices? How does the photographer handle light? Take a closer look into the highlights and shadows of a body of work.

Once you’ve decided you’re on board with a style, ask yourself how the photographer connects with the subjects. Does the photographer encourage a connection between the subjects? No two couples emotive connection photographs the same. But, you should enjoy how the photographer portrays the relationship and to me, that should feel natural. When it comes to a wedding day, what is important to the photographer? Does it align with what is most important to you? For my clients, I like to prioritize moments and photojournalistic coverage. I enjoy when a moment unfolds naturally vs. staged, but I will also re-stage a moment when necessary. I love photographing details and will set aside time for those photographs to be completed to not interfere with what I consider most important.”

You can check out more of Lauren’s work via her website, here! And you can also follow along on Instagram, @laurenleephotography.

Nicole Clarey Photography

“I get asked all the time, “Why do you shoot film?” It’s a valid question with all the different types of amazing digital cameras available. Honestly, there is just something magical about images made on film. It could be the texture of the grain, the richness of the color or its element of nostalgia. Whatever it is, it’s incomparable to digital.

This in no way means digital is “bad” or even that I don’t like digital!  I use digital gear and it has its own strengths, too, like fast pace and low light situations. But in the end, I believe film wins in natural light. Film is actually very malleable and hard to overexpose. This is because the film continuously soaks in light on a negative, also lending to its “magic”. Even on a gloomy Ohio day, it can make someones skin look like it’s glowing so it’s always the format I choose to shoot during portraits and in well lit environments. 

I also love film because of the softness it lends to my imagery. This is something I personally find hard to emulate in the digital format. Sometimes it can be so stark and, dare I say, a little “too perfect”. The softness is romantic and it gives that sense of nostalgia I want my clients to feel when looking at their photographs. I find that more often than not, my couples truly connect with those film images, whether they realize it or not.

All of this aside, my main job as a photographer is to make sure that the grandest moments, to the smallest nuances, are all captured. I find that film is just another tool for me to be able to do that and I will continue to incorporate it so long as it does so!”

You can check out more of Nicole’s work via her website, here! And you can also follow along on Instagram, @nicoleclareyphoto.

All four of these businesses are some of our favorites, and we hope the descriptions of their styles helps you narrow your own down! Make sure to check them all out, website, Instagram and all!

Happy planning, friends. Cheers!

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