What defines a Photographer’s creative style?
As you trawl your way through photographers websites trying to find your perfect photographer what should you be looking for? You have seen all the descriptive blurb in search results, natural, relaxed, fun, modern, creative, documentary, photojournalistic, reportage, alternative, unconventional, quirky, the list goes on! You click into websites looking for something different. You will have seen all the featured images and love them all, and want your wedding photographs to look like them all. Well perhaps almost all! To be honest, most wedding photographers these days are taking the approach that falls under quite a few of the descriptive terms above, the approach where your wedding day is documented in photographs. That is where the demand is and there is certainly no shortage of supply. I totally agree with that approach, I think it is great. I love working in that way and I think it gives the newly-wed’s a great memento of their wedding day. But, these days that method alone does not distinguish one photographer from another.
As the Bride and Groom, you are the subject of everyone’s attention, not least the photographer’s. You have your own personal paparazzi for the day. But you are also very expensive models for the day! You will have spent an absolute fortune on the dress, the hair, the makeup, the suit, and so on. You might even have spent the last year or more dieting and working out to be looking your absolute best for your wedding day. You are going to want some great portraits of yourselves. Phone shots just aren’t going to cut it! So when you are browsing those websites you will also be looking at the Bride and Groom Portraits and consciously or sub-consciously you will be looking at the style that they are taken in.
You might see a difference in the colour, or tones in some wedding photography in comparison to others. You might see some weddings shot entirely or almost entirely in black and white. You might even see black and white photographs where the flowers, or the bride or someone or something is in colour. This is called colour popping. These can often be quite overt styling features that you will not miss when you see them. My thoughts are, be careful! And with that I will move on to my style.
Correct Colour – The Technical Bit!
You might think correct colour just comes out of the camera automatically; Not necessarily! Digital cameras are built around an image sensor, which captures the image and an image processor which basically reads the digital information from the sensor, processes it and sends it to the memory card.
Not all image sensors nor processors are built the same. For starters they are a technology that is constantly in development as camera manufacturers strive to bring us the latest and greatest incarnation of their product. Add to that the fact that these manufacturers are in constant competition with each other for sales, so they are not averse to adding a little enhancement to the colours produced out of camera. So there is a multitude of variables to start with all of which effect colour in some way or another. Another factor is lenses. Camera lenses are highly technical items these days. They are made up of multiple elements all of which bend and refract the light in different ways. Then add in the multitude of light sources that we are dealing with as photographers, daylight, candescent, fluorescent, LED, etc and you can see why colours might not be faithfully reproduced out of camera.
By using a colour checker card and some clever technology in my post capture process I can guarantee that colours reproduced in my images are as close to original colours as humanly possible. All of my photography is captured in a file format known as RAW. That means that every piece of information is recorded including colours in every image. I can and do convert a number of photographs to black and white according to the clients wishes, but I still retain all the full colour files. I don’t do toning or colour popping but I can if the client requests it. You just won’t find it in my portfolio!
Look and Feel
I like to isolate my subject by throwing the background out of focus. Don’t get me wrong, backgrounds are important in lending context to a photograph, particularly portraits and particularly in wedding photography, but a nice soft background can still give that context whilst at the same time adding to the ambience of the occasion.
It is a special moment in a wedding ceremony when the exchange of rings takes place. I like to get some nice close ups at that time, and if I can get a soft background with fantastic bokeh like this then I will be really happy!
I like to shoot through items in the foreground. It gives a lovely soft effect and again, adds to the ambience of the day.
Aren’t kids just great at weddings. For them it can be overwhelming, fascinating, entertaining and exhausting all at the same time! I love to capture both candid and posed shots as the day progresses. Capturing their looks, expressions, moods, and all of the emotions that they let loose during the day.
Sometimes the best portraits are the ones caught between poses! But nice simple couple portraits are hard to beat.
I’m always on the lookout for an unusual angle.
And pure emotion!
Expressions are great. You can be sure this couple will remember what was being said at that moment!
These are a few examples that define my style of wedding photography. It is by no means an exhaustive list. It’s more about the look and feel of what I do. For me it’s about bringing more than just a documentary record of your day. It’s about bringing that, plus the moments. Moments that the Bride and Groom will certainly have missed. Emotional moments expressed by family and friends, the emotions between the couple, funny moments as secrets are revealed during speeches. All of these things that will bring back vivid memories of the Wedding Day.
You can check out my Wedding Photography pages here.