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  • Writer's pictureGiovanni Rusconi

What is wedding photography?

What does wedding photography really mean?

When a client follows the advice of a friend or relative and turns to a photography studio specializing in weddings, what will he do? He'll probably call the wedding studio or look up a website address. What can you expect from such research?

There are a great variety of 'styles', ancient and modern, photojournalistic or posed, which will appeal to a wide range of potential customers.

The wedding photos

Traditional wedding photography is like a record recorded especially for the occasion: cataloging the guests, what they look like, what they are wearing and what is happening on the day. Customers are given a series of prints documenting their wedding. Traditional images are perfectly crafted from a technical point of view, but often lack soul.

History book wedding photography is one where the photography goes beyond documenting the event. All the details and moments of the day are captured, telling the story of the day often through the most dramatic moments.

A photo of eternity rings is always important for the couple. It's always helpful to include special details like this.

Even the bride's shoes deserve a shot of their own!

This is still essentially documentary photography, but images of people typically take on a less formal style, with only a few people showing eye contact with the camera.

The reportage style in wedding photography

The reporting style is intended to show the event exactly as it is. Reportage is the purest form of wedding photography. It's all too easy to report poorly, shooting all day to produce nothing of real substance.

The great reportage photographers are just that, great craftsmen of the highest level. They have the extraordinary ability to always be in the right place at the right time with the right lens and to get the shot even in difficult lighting conditions without being noticed.

Personal style in wedding photography

Personal style can range from mainstream fashion to simple minimalism. This work is the product of a direct photographic service, an extreme degree of intervention by the photographer. This is where photographers take control and implement their unique style.

Straight shots are often made to look natural and as if they were actually happening without any intervention from the photographer. The key to this type of work is in the subject itself. Even if a photograph has been perfectly set up from a technical point of view, the direction of the subject and his participation in the shot can really make the difference.

It's easy to photograph the bride and groom, but it's much harder to capture the love that exists between them.

It is the ability to capture love, fun, tenderness and beauty that makes the work of great wedding photographers necessary for the creation of good wedding photographs.

The digital revolution, or should I say evolution?

Over the centuries, photography has reinvented itself several times. With each new phase came a new set of skills and craft opportunities.

In the early days before color, a photographer considered exposure to be only a small part of the process. All photographers processed their own negatives and printed their images under magnifying glasses.

With the arrival of color films, the professional laboratory with automatic processing and printing emerged. With this the art of photo printing was lost by an entire generation of photographers who delivered their films to the laboratory on Monday and collected their prints a few days later.

The exposure latitude

The exposure latitude of film allowed photographers to rely on the camera's built-in meter. With the arrival of digital, the roles are reversing again with the photographer regaining control and reclaiming the art of the printer.

It is no longer possible to leave the camera in the car and leave the rest at the laboratory!

The transition to digital and the return of photo printing

Photographers with some degree of color blindness may not find the transition to digital easy. The difference between good amateur photographs taken of a wedding by Uncle Antonio and those of an official professional photographer is largely due to exposure and printing capabilities.

Digital photography is now available to everyone, and is no longer the prerogative of wealthy amateurs and professionals. Once again we discover that the craft of photography has come back to life.

Professional work has been pushed to new and higher standards to maintain a detachment from traditional amateur work. It can be fun to shoot a wedding in homage to the minimalist style developed in the 1950s where “less is more.” It's surprising the amount of effort required to achieve a convincing look.

Combining this with an understanding of the changing role that photography has played in wedding documentation along with knowledge of the equipment, techniques and systems of the past helps us understand the current market and predict future trends.

The products of wedding photography also change

The products also change. Print albums are likely to be a key product in some market sectors, but increasingly DVD presentations are emerging as new high-value products.

The world now forces photographers to offer images delivered in high resolution on disk as part of a demand-driven package. The pace of change is fast and the way people use digital images is also changing.

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