Father in a suit holding his son while the child looks at the bride in her wedding dress and veil before she walks

Your Guide to the different types of wedding photography

In the world of wedding photography, there are quite a range of styles, each capturing the essence of the special day in a unique way. Until you’re getting married the chances are you’ve never even thought about it. Most people think there’s just one thing called “wedding photography” and that’s it, right? 

As a portrait photographer, my passion lies in exploring these diverse approaches to immortalise moments of love and joy. So, let’s look through the lens at different wedding photography styles, understanding the trends and unravelling the reasons behind their popularity.

Traditional Wedding Photography

The cornerstone of wedding photography, traditional style, captures posed and planned shots. It’s the classic approach, where everyone is meticulously arranged, ensuring that no moment is missed. It can be time-consuming but many couples appreciate the formality and the structured nature of these photographs, and enjoy the timeless elegance they evoke.

Documentary Wedding Photography

In recent years, there has been a notable shift towards documentary wedding photography. This style revolves around capturing candid moments, unscripted and natural. It’s about telling the genuine story of the day, focusing on real emotions, and unguarded interactions. People love this style for its authenticity and the ability to capture the true essence of their relationships and the moments that matter the most.

Bride smiling and wearing a floral wreath while holding a bouquet as the best man gets his boutonniere fixed next to her

Candid Wedding Photography

Similar to documentary style, candid photography thrives on spontaneity. It’s a photojournalistic style where the photographer becomes an observer, capturing unposed, candid moments. This approach is cherished for its ability to capture genuine emotions, creating a treasure trove of heartfelt memories.

Editorial Wedding Photography:

Editorial wedding photography draws inspiration from fashion and lifestyle magazines, infusing the wedding day with an editorial narrative. It involves curated scenes, artistic compositions, and attention to detail, transforming the event into a visual masterpiece. This style is ideal for couples who appreciate a touch of glamour and want their wedding album to resemble the pages of a high-end magazine. The downside is that all those images need planning and setting up to get the right composition, light and moment. 

Old School Fashion Look with Hard Direct Flash

For couples seeking a vintage, old school fashion vibe in their wedding photographs, the use of hard direct flash adds a distinctive touch. This technique, reminiscent of classic Hollywood glamour, involves a direct, powerful burst of light. The appeal lies in its ability to create deep shadows and strong contrasts, enhancing the dramatic effect and adding a retro vibe to the images. The hard direct flash evokes a sense of nostalgia, harking back to an era where photography was bold and raw. This style accentuates facial features and creates sharp, defined shadows, adding depth and character to the portraits. It's more flattering to younger people with classic features. At the time, the intensity of direct flash can sometimes be harsh, potentially washing out details or creating unflattering highlights on the skin. Hard direct flash may not suit every situation, especially in outdoor or well-lit venues where the natural light can complement the atmosphere more effectively. Also, flash is not subtle. It can be quite intrusive and for some people it can be uncomfortable, affecting their natural expressions and making it harder to capture genuine emotions.

Fine Art Wedding Photography

Fine art wedding photography is akin to capturing a love story in a dreamy, artistic manner. It involves creative framing, unique compositions, and often incorporates natural elements to create visually stunning images. LIke traditional and editorial styles it can be very time-consuming but many couples are drawn to this style because they admire its ability to transform moments into ethereal, timeless pieces of art.

Father of the bride hugging her at her wedding to give her away as she is holding a bouquet of flowers

Why I Love Documentary Wedding Photography

In the bustling landscape of wedding photography, the documentary style has emerged as the reigning trend, and for good reason. Its popularity can be attributed to its authenticity and non-invasive nature. These days couples often want more than just posed pictures; every wedding is different and they want photographs that tell the unique story of their day.

Unlike trends that come and go, the authenticity of documentary style ensures that these images remain timeless, evoking the same emotions even decades down the line.

Couples spend a lot of time and money planning their big day and the way I see it, they should be able to enjoy as much of it all as possible.

Of course, I am happy to do a few standard posed photos for granny’s mantle, but I’ll get those out of the way quickly so everyone can enjoy the day and I can document it. My goal is present the photos in a way that tells the real story of your wedding day - from the beautiful to the bonkers!

Not as easy as it looks

But don’t be fooled - it’s not as easy as it looks. It’s not just a matter of clicking away at everything and hoping to capture a moment (photographers call this spray and pray!). It’s all about being able to predict what will happen next, anticipating the moment and being ready when it does. It’s also about having an eye for the right kind of shot.

Find the right fit for you

Some photographers see beautiful or interesting light first, some the beauty of a composition and others the funny or bizarre. Take time to through lots of photographers portfolios. You’ll see they all have a style. Find the one that’s a great fit for you and you’ve found your photographer. 

I'll be there to guide and support my couples throughout the day, but ultimately it's about just letting everyone enjoy themselves so I can concentrate of seeing all the unique moments that make every wedding day special in its own way.


—N & F

Two female wedding guests laughing and smiling around the wedding cake at the reception
A father playing with his laughing son at a wedding reception
Bridal party and wedding guests pull on a rope in a game of tug of war on the grass
Bride walking and dragging her wedding dress train across the grass
Bride and wedding guests pull on a rope in a game of tug of war on the grass
Bengali wedding guests gathered around and smiling as a child gives an envelope to the mother of the bride
Father of the bride giving a speech at the wedding reception from the bridal party table with three women laughing

"Gary was friendly and professional, putting everyone at their ease - we barely noticed him most of the time so he got some great natural shots of the family relaxing together. We couldn't be more pleased with the results - the photographs are a wonderful reminder of a lovely day."

—Kath Coar

A woman in a white fuzzy jumper and chiffon dress serving herself a slice of red velvet cake on a white plate

London based photographer Gary Williams


If you're looking for more than just posed photographs, if you want your wedding day to be documented authentically, capturing real emotions and heartfelt connections – then you've found your photographer. Send me your details and and let's create memories together. If you want to know more about me, click here.