Wedding Photography: Past Vs Present

posted by Chris Valentine

If you’ve looked at your grandparents or even your parents wedding photos, it’s easy to see that wedding photography in the past tended to be much more formal. Wedding albums in the past would typically feature the bride and groom in a variety of almost standardised poses – in front of a plain white background or against the backdrop of the church.  Whilst these photos still represent treasured memories, modern wedding photography has moved away from such formality and embraced a more natural and relaxed nature, the variety of wedding photo edits has also nicely increased.

So, whilst the central features of getting married have remained the same, wedding photography has moved on. Photographers now prefer to capture each moment as it happens, resulting in more organic, less ‘posed’ photos.

New technology

While the bulky cameras of the past resigned wedding photography to cramped studios for bridal shoots after the ceremony itself, a lot has changed as a result of portable, modern cameras.

Only recently have we seen the shift to documentary style photography, which captures candid shots of the bride and groom and their guests at each stage of their special day — from getting ready, right through to their first dance. This could never have been possible without technological advancement; previously limited by film cameras, photographers can now shoot and store a near endless amount of photos on just one memory card.

This shift benefits photographers too. While they once fussed over the little details, such as the position of a bridesmaids’ bouquet, imperfect photos are now desired by couples. Of course, this doesn’t mean that bad photography is wanted — far from it. Rather, couples now appreciate quirky shots that show their day for what it really is — whether that’s the bride getting the giggles during the ceremony or younger guests pulling funny faces.

A focus on fun

This leads us into our next point; couples are actively looking for humour in their wedding photos. While no couple wants to look stupid on their big day, there is a growing preference for silly shots alongside more serious, candid shots.

Examples of this type of shot which you may recognise include the groomsmen lifting up the bride, or the bridesmaids posing under the bride’s veil. Some couples may even buy their own props to up the silliness ante — grooms can get sticker transfers for the soles of their shoes that say ‘help me’, which the congregation will see as he kneels at the altar, unbeknown to the bride!

These little quirks are growing in popularity as ways of capturing the personality of the bride and the groom’s formal shirt and overall atmosphere of the day. The shots are often what brides and grooms look fondly back on after the day is over.

The drama factor

Of course, there is a serious side to wedding photography. Getting married is one of the most momentous days of your life, so you’ll naturally want the romantic shots that showcase the love you have for each other.

Again, new technology has changed the possibilities of capturing these shots. Drones with cameras for example can be used to capture aerial shots of the bride and groom in remote surroundings, capturing the beauty of their location.

In essence though, these dramatic, breath-taking shots could not be created without the backgrounds to match. Couples are increasingly selecting their wedding venue based on where it is located, causing a rise in weddings venues in the Lake District being booked as well as other beauty spots in the UK.

Exploring different formats

As photographers move away from film photography, the availability of different formats has increased. The rise of digital photography means brides and grooms now have the option of a traditional wedding album, or receiving their photos on a memory stick or saved on a digital drive. Usually, the latter two formats are at a reduced cost, helping couples save some cash on their special day without compromising on photo quality.

As we have discussed, wedding photography styles have evolved over the years. Whether you prefer formal posed shots or more candid imagery, what’s important is that you select a photographer who is able to beautifully capture the unfolding of your day and the memories made.

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