Traditional vs Photo journalistic wedding photography

Traditional vs Photo journalistic wedding photography – A wedding photographers experience

03 MAR – Tips and Articles – by Lucas Kraus

This weeks article is going to discuss the difference between traditional and Photo journalistic wedding photography and some of the factors to consider when planning your wedding. Some wedding photographers only classify themselves as natural or “photo journalistic”, but what does this mean exactly and how does it differ from the traditional style of wedding photography?

Photo journalistic

Photojournalism in regards to wedding photography basically means that there will be no posing or directing of subjects at all. Your wedding photographer will literally be in the background capturing those candid moments that unfold naturally. I never really understood the appeal of this until I recently got married myself. I literally told my wedding photographer that the only “posed” photographs I want is one of me, my wife and our son and a few family shots of our parents. In fact, we don’t have one posed photograph of just me and my wife.

I am not sure if my attitude was a result of being at hundreds and hundreds of weddings myself, or because my wife really really hates having her photograph taken, but we had decided we wanted a very relaxed atmosphere where we could talk with our guests and not be stopped to take photos. Do I regret not having more posed photos of me and my wife? A little. When I create beautiful posed wedding photographs for my clients, I often think how nice they would look blown up and put on a canvas. We did not have a traditional “Location shoot” so we do not have any photographs like this, however we have many great candid shots that we could put into a collage.

I can say however, that we genuinely enjoyed our wedding. It was relaxed, easy going and spent some quality time with our guests. We chose our venue specifically because it was all on the one location and our guests could relax and enjoy drinks outside in the gardens. Our ceremony started at 5pm and finished at 5:30pm and we were inside at the reception at 6pm. Easy.

Traditional vs Photo journalistic wedding photography

Traditional wedding photography

Some couples place a big emphasis on wedding photography which as a wedding photographer I love. Some couples like me and my wife are happy with just a couple of nice ones that show at least some evidence that the day actually took place. Every wedding is different and it is totally up to the bride and groom as to how they structure their day.

We have all seen those weddings when the bride and groom walk down the aisle, a group photo is quickly taken and then straight into family photos. The bridal party are then whisked away for hours and you will not see them until they make their entrance at the reception. This is traditional wedding photography. Usually at the “Location shoot” the bridal party are posed the entire time and the wedding photographer will more than likely get hundreds of great photographs.

When meeting with couples for their pre-wedding consultation, sometimes I am faced with the dilemma of when couples are indeed having a location shoot for say 90 minutes, but say they only want natural photos that are not posed or directed. As a wedding photographer, this is difficult to comprehended. If the wedding photographer gives no direction or posing during the location shoot my guess is that all of the photographs taken during this time will consist of the bridal party standing around, talking, drinking and perhaps laughing. These photographs will be great, but 90 minutes worth?

In order to get photographs seen on my home page or wedding photography portfolio I will need to give direction and posing instructions. The trick is, making the poses look natural. I have developed this style over my career and have developed poses that allow the bride and groom to feel comfortable and look natural. I do not do any crazy poses such as jumping in the air or the groom dipping the bride. Why? Because these are not things that you would do on a day to day basis.

A lot of my poses are actions that you and your partner might do naturally. These might consist of holding hands and walking while looking at each other, groom cuddling bride from behind or bride and groom facing each other with their foreheads softly touching (okay so this might be pushing it a bit). I may also give posing direction in order to make you look your best, this might include getting the bride to look at the camera on an angle, tilting chin up slightly or having the groom put his hand in his pocket to give him a more masculine look.

Traditional vs Photo journalistic wedding photography

Can I have both?

When planning your wedding, you will at some stage consider the wedding photography and how long you want doing the “Location shoot”. The two styles I have mentioned above (being photojournalistic vs traditional) are completely opposite, however you can have a combination of the two. If this is something you want, then this is how I would plan your location shoot as an example

  • 3pm to 3:30pm – Ceremony + group shot + family shots straight after
  • 3:30 to 4:15pm – Relaxing with guests and having a few drinks
  • 4:30 to 5:45 – Location shoot
  • 5:45 to 6pm – Bridal party rest
  • 6pm – Entrance into reception

As you can see, the above timeline allows you to spend time with your guests and have a traditional location shoot. The rest of the time I will not be posing or giving direction. I am a big believer in not interrupting the ceremony or dragging the bride and groom around at the reception for posed photos (unless you want table shots).  One thing to mention is that the best time to do the group photo and family photos are straight after the ceremony. Why? Because everyone is together. Once you allow your guests to wander around the gardens it will be close to impossible to organise a group photo and get family together for family photos.

As a wedding photographer, I encourage you to spend time with your guests as I want you to have a memorable day but am also conscious of the fact that you probably want beautiful “posed” photos. Planning your wedding similar to the timeline above will allow you to do both. There is no set time for Location shoots. If you give me 90 minutes then great. If I have 30 minutes then I can still get some great photographs, just not as many.

Traditional vs Photo journalistic wedding photography

When planning your wedding, it is easy to get swept up in wanting to please other people. Just remember, your wedding day is about you. You are doing the planning, you are spending the money, so make sure you allow yourself to enjoy the day. Many times during my career I have seen couples overwhelmed and stressed with how much they cram into their day or try to have to many different spots for location shoots.

It is a good idea to speak with your wedding photographer and what they think. A wedding photographer should be flexible and fit in with what the client wants. If you are looking for a  wedding photographer in Brisbane, then please visit our Contact Page.

Special thanks to:

GZee Pix for the excellent wedding photography.

Eschol Park House for being such an amazing venue. I’ve shot here around a dozen times for weddings and the service has always been excellent.

Steven Lee for the personalised wedding script. Steven and I have worked together on several occasions and I love his style. So many of my guests commented on how great he was.

Kylie Price for making my wife look even more amazing.

The Marmalade Sky for the flowers. They were great!

1 reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

    Leave a Reply

    Want to join the discussion?
    Feel free to contribute!

    Leave a Reply