When you’re planning your wedding, it can feel as if you’ve stumbled into a room where everyone is talking a language you don’t understand. There are conversations around dry hire, corkage, guipure, Mikado and so many other things besides. Of course, when it comes to your wedding photography, it’s exactly the same. Fine art, reportage, editorial and fashion… the list goes on. Well I’m here with a language lesson and I’m answering the question – can you have it all?
Words and images by Amanda Karen Photography
Let’s start with the terminology. Reportage photography has been a phrase that’s been used for a while now and it appeared around the millennium to mark out the ‘new style’ photographers of the time. Instead of a limited number of posed photos, reportage photographers documented the day as it unfolded, captured those ‘real’ moments and told the whole story of the day. Reportage is a documentary style, the shots are edited for sure but they’re also a little more ‘real’ and a little more ‘raw’ than other styles.
Which brings us neatly to fine art wedding photography. This is a term that’s become incredibly popular over the last few years. Fine art photos make up the majority of the beautiful styled shoot images that you see on blogs and in magazines. The images stand out thanks to their soft, light look and their beautiful colours. Unlike a reportage photographer, a fine art photographer doesn’t snap endlessly all day long and instead aims for perfection in each shot.
Another phrase you might hear is ‘editorial’ style photography. Again, editorial images tell your story by bringing together elements and themes from your day in their photography. They don’t just capture the day as it unfolds like a reportage photographer might, instead they definitely concentrate on composition and might not blend into the background as much as a reportage photographer will tend to do.
Fashion photography gives you images that look at lot more like those you’d see in Vogue. It’s about making you look your most model-like and can mean that your photographer might use additional lighting and super dramatic backgrounds to create dramatic images. You’ll also be directed into fashion-esque poses and you’ll need to take direction from your photographer too. Fashion wedding photography tends to only be used during your couple’s portraits if that’s what you want.
So, can you have it all? Well, I know that it’s definitely possible to include both reportage and fine art photography in your wedding day. When you work with a husband and wife team, it’s highly likely that each person will have their own preferred styled and their own skill set. For example, I concentrate on fine art images while Hutch captures the day, reportage style. We both know what we’re looking for and because there are two of us, we quite literally can be in two places at the same time doing totally different things. This means that nothing’s missed and your day isn’t held up.
It’s also possible to get a mix of images from one photographer. My advice here would be to have a really clear conversation with them ahead of the day to discuss exactly what style you want where. If you do have a dream of dramatic fashion style images but don’t communicate this, you could well end up with feminine, fine art photos that might be beautiful but not what you want.
Communication is definitely key and it goes both ways. How do the photographers that you’re looking at categorise their work themselves? Do their images range in style or do they definitely have a preferred look? Most importantly, does their look match up with what you want? Talk to your photographer and see if you ‘click’ – do they understand what you want? Do you feel comfortable that they’ll be able to deliver the images you’re dreaming about?
When all is said and done however, how images are described isn’t the most important thing. How they make you feel is really what matters.
Until next time,