Choosing the right Photographer for you!

So, here's a special treat for all you wonderful couples out there getting ready to hire a photographer. Larissa and Trevor from the fabulous Ambient Studios have graciously honoured us by being our guest bloggers today! We are so thrilled to pass along these amazing tips (not to mention the wicked eye candy) that they provided especially to us about what style photography is right for you. Enjoy and don't forget to take the fun quiz at the end:)

Taste Verses Trend
As you sift through a sea of magazines and bridal shops, reality TV shows and wedding expos it becomes quite clear that the ‘current trend’ dictates what we see and can often influence our opinion.  Like most other creative industries, the wedding world is bombarded by many changing trends each season from colours to place settings to dresses to center pieces.  But one must be mindful to also choose what best reflects their own taste and personality – after all, this is a very personal day, and you wouldn’t want to end up with memories that don’t reflect your style. 

I can speak first hand as a photographer when I say that when it comes to being influenced by trends in the industry, wedding photography is no exception.  We see a wide variety of fades float in and out of the industry at a steady rate, from post-production variations to photo booths to specific poses.  At times a new trend can be beneficial to the industry – but one must be mindful not to jump onto a bandwagon without evaluating your own personal tastes first. 
For example, when I first began shooting weddings there were some very strong post-production trends floating around, some of which are still being used today.  Black and white photos with a colour accent were all the rage – you know the ones, where the couple is in black & white and the flowers are in colour?  Another trend of the time was overlaying text onto images such as “eternal love” or “just married” to compliment the photo.  Now, more recently we see an increase in faux textures overlaid on images, antique finishes, the addition of film grain, or a desaturation of colours for a more muted look.   Ultimately, trends will come and go and couples will either love them or eerr…not, but when it comes to photography it is important to keep in mind that these photos will eventually act as your memories of the day.  You may love the way these effects look now, but will they stand the test of time?  

One such trend, or rather shooting style that has quickly established itself in the marriage market is documentary wedding photography, sometimes referred to as wedding photojournalism.  While this is a bit different than the post-production trends we were chatting about earlier, it has emerged onto the scene quickly and the term has made its way through the lips of many-a-bride in the planning stages.

As with any trend you will find that many photographers will adapt to mimic or learn the ropes in order to accommodate a couple’s request.  While it’s nice to be a part of the latest trend, I’d like to reiterate once again, that it’s important to first recognize which style you are drawn to instinctively.  Some couples are a great fit for a documentary style, while others are more comfortable with a creative fashion photographer, or a more traditional approach.  Like anything, the first step is to understand what you are looking for. 

So- let’s break it down:

What is documentary wedding photography?
    Documentary shooting is a candid, unobtrusive approach to photographing your wedding.  For a documentary photographer the goal is to cover your day as a story by capturing genuine moments and interactions between you and your guests.  Most documentary photographers aim to blend into the background to the point where you don’t even notice they are there.
How is it different?
    Instead of spending the majority of your day posing for the camera, couples are able to interact with their family and friends naturally.  This means, for example, that instead of posing for a photo with your father in the morning before the ceremony, a documentary shooter would work to capture the look on your fathers face as he first sees you in your dress.  Real, genuine moments are the main focus rather than posed memories or directed group shots.
Is it right for me?
    As with every trend or style, the fact that it is popular right now does not necessarily make it right for you.  You should be honest with yourself and be sure to choose a style that best suits your personality.   After all, your choice of photographer and their shooting style will dictate the printed memories you are left with after everything is said and done. 
Here is a rough guide to a few of the current photography styles and generally what they include.  Of course, every photographer is unique, but this will give you a good basic of understanding to start from:
      Traditional Style
      • Most of the images are posed, with people smiling and looking at the camera.
      • Formal, posed group shots with your family & friends are taken.
      • The photographer will offer lots of direction to you throughout the day, for example: tilt your head a little, place your hand here, etc.
      • Photographer is usually open to utilizing a specific shot list that you can provide and will follow it throughout the day.
    Fashion Style
      • Posed, creative photos with an edgy feel.
      • Lots of direction is given and the goal is to achieve that model/fashion look that you see in magazines.
      • Props are often used to create interest and sometimes there is a story line involved and a specific photo location is utilized.
      • Lighting is usually used off camera, is very dramatic and adds interest to the photos.
      • Strong poses with attitude and personality are created.
    Documentary Style
      • The photographer will offer little or no direction throughout the day, and blend into the background as much as possible.
      • Images that depict true emotion, moments and interactions are the focus for the majority of the day.
      • Photos of the couple consist of very candid, natural moments between the pair, sometimes on site or at an alternate photo location.
      • The story of your day is captured through images and you are left with a set of images that showcase the entire day from beginning to end. 
    Fine Art Style
      • There is a mixture of image types, many are posed, some include eye contact with the camera and others do not.
      • Current post production trends are often applied to images to create a unique look or feel.
      • There is usually an element of drama and/or a unique perspective to the photos created through the photographers angle and or creative cropping.
      • Special lenses or effects are often utilized to add drama. (tilt-shift lenses, fish eye lenses, lens flare, etc.)

Keep in mind that some photographers will offer a service that is a combination of two styles or a mixture of a few key elements, so be sure to keep searching until you find a fit that is right for you.  It’s hard to break everything down to only four categories, but hopefully this will act as a good starting point for those of you who are beginning your search.
Still not sure what which style is for you?  The simplest way to decide is to begin looking through a few different photographer’s portfolios, and get a sense of which images you’re drawn to.  Ultimately, you want to be comfortable with not only your photographer’s style, but their personality as well.
As a quick side note, it’s important to recognize that photography style is a very personal element and is unique to every photographer, because of this it was difficult to narrow down four choices to highlight for you here.  Keep in mind that while a company may aim to shoot with a specified style, you should ensure that you are able to see a portfolio created by the actual photographer that you will be working with on your day.  Believe me when I say that even given the same situation, no two photographers will produce the same image.- this is one of the things that makes photography so awesome. So, remember that it’s key to have access to and be comfortable with the portfolio of all the photographers who will be joining you on your day.

Happy hunting brides & grooms!
-Larissa Issler
Co-owner & Photographer
Ambient Studios
Just for kicks, we’ve created a little quiz which might help you decide – all in good fun of course - and keep in mind that your top result may just be one of the styles that will work for you, many couples will be comfortable with a combination of two styles.

No comments: