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Wait, there's more than one type of Wedding Photography?

A beautiful newly-married couple in front of their Wedding Venue, the groom smiling at his bride and the bride looking over her shoulder while smiling at the camera. Taken at the Surrey House in McKinney, Texas. Image by Photography of Sarah Mae.

You may already have an idea of the type of photography you want for your wedding day, but may have a hard time describing it to your photographer or others. In case you need some help finding the right terminology I've put together a little guide below of the the variety of photography styles most photographers are familiar with.

It's also important to note that while each Wedding Photographer may be able to capture each style, we do tend to favor and specialize in a specific one. So knowing what style(s) you prefer can make finding your preferred Wedding photographer a little easier.

So without further ado, here are the 5 primary Wedding Photography styles:

Traditional Wedding Photography of the Bride's Wedding Party in front of the gazebo at the Surrey House in McKinney, Texas. Image by Photography of Sarah Mae.


When you envision Wedding Photography, these are probably the classic Wedding images that come to mind (i.e. the formal family and wedding portrait images that are taken at nearly every Wedding). The results from this classic style mean your images will stand the test of time. These are the traditional black and white images, carefully posed and meticulously planned out. Most often the photographer specializes in capturing ordinary moments in a beautiful and elegant way. Your photographer will tell you exactly how to stand and place your hands so that everyone looks good in these photos. This style is definitely more formal but can always be given a modern twist.

The happy and giddy faces of a Groom's Wedding Party as they 'help' their friend get ready for his wedding. A great example of Natural Portraiture of a wedding held at the Surrey House in McKinney, Texas. Image by Photography of Sarah Mae.

Natural Portraiture

Natural Portraiture is a fancy way of saying lifestyle photography with a bit of a twist. Most images will appear to be candid, and most often they are, however often the photographer will do a little bit of staging before the image is captured so they can make sure all of the important elements are in the frame. This style is a mix of candid, natural shots and images with some direction and staging provided to get the perfect shot. In the photo above, the bridesmaids' reactions are genuine in response to seeing their friend in her wedding dress for the first time, but in order to capture their reaction, with the bride in the fame there was some slight posing leading up to them seeing her.

A photojournalistic image of the bride and groom's first touch on their wedding day. Taken inside the Bridal Cottage at the Surrey House in McKinney, Texas. Image by Photography of Sarah Mae.


If you are not into the traditional posing or styling of shots, then a documentary wedding photographer is probably whom you'd prefer. The documentary style focuses on candid and spontaneous images that truly capture the entire essence of your wedding day. These photographer act as a fly on the wall, and allow the events of the day to unfold naturally. While they may give a little direction (like turn this way) to get the best image, for the majority of the time they will try to make themselves inconspicuous so you can carry out your day as naturally as possible.

An artsy Wedding Photo of the Bride and Groom following their Wedding Ceremony at the Surrey House in McKinney, Texas. Image by Photography of Sarah Mae.


If you want something that is more personal, and unique then an artistic style may be your ideal choice. This photography style captures your special moments from a unique angle, or will incorporate additional props to create more depth or texture in your photos (like this veil does in this image). These pictures tend to utilize a lot more of the space around the couple and not just of the couple full frame and up close. If you are open and willing to have a bit of fun with your photographer you will be amazed by the results.

A dramatic photo of a groom lighting up a cigar following the wedding ceremony on his Wedding day. Taken at night against a pitch black sky the groom's silohuette is show with a cigar in his mouth, smoke pluming in the air as he is light with light from the side. Taken at the Surrey House in McKinney, Texas. Image by Photography of Sarah Mae.


While all styles will use different types of lighting, dramatic images make it a key component. This style will showcase a variety of different lighting techniques that the photographer has mastered to create truly breathtaking portraits. You will notice in this photographic style the use of negative space used a lot as well as back lighting to emphasis their subject.

As you can see, throughout the day a Wedding photographer will most likely use a mixture of all 5 types of photography if that's what you want, but if you would prefer to utilize one more than the others it is best to know that beforehand so you can discuss that with your photographer during the booking process.

Personally, I enjoy doing a little bit of everything, but I definitely lean more towards Natural Portraiture. I've found it relaxes my couples and their families to have a little bit of direction on the wedding day when there is so much going on. They know that I'm going to help them look their best in their photos so they can relax and enjoy the moment as it happens.

With that being said, I always sit down with my clients to discuss what types of images they are looking to capture from their wedding day, and the most important moments they want to capture so I can use the style that best fits their needs/desires.


Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on Wedding Photography! In my next blog post I will chat about your Wedding Cake! I am so excited because I will have another special guest share their thoughts (and tips!) for choosing the best cake for you!

Happy Wedding Planning!

-Sarah P.S. All of these images were taken at the lovely Surrey House in McKinney, Texas!


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