Wedding photography has changed so much over the past ten or so years. When I photographed my first wedding I used a medium-format camera. Most weddings were typically the same. I would be at the church to meet the bride as she got out of the car. There followed a few pictures in the church. Following on I would do a few formal, standard group shots outside of the church, and a final goodbye shot as the bride and groom were ferried off to the reception. I was at the church for only a couple of hours and had very little contact with the happy couple before and after the ceremony. I would take at most 100 pictures and after the couple were shown the proofs an album was produced and that was the end of it. There was no creativity. There was a set routine with few variables.
Compare that with wedding photography in the 21st century. now a wedding photographer has to have people skills,be an expert at fashion, reportage, still life, inside and outside lighting, beauty as well as being a creative business person. As before the day cannot be repeated, but now there is so much more expected off a wedding photographer that there is much more that can go wrong. The upside of this is that if the wedding photographer can be different and more creative there is a very good living to be made from the wedding business.
Most young couples don’t want their wedding albums to look like their parents albums. This doesn’t mean that there is no place for the traditional wedding coverage. I always press the idea to the couple that although a more creative approach to the proceedings is the way to go they will be disappointed in later years if they don’t have some traditional types of photographs.
The most popular wedding photography today is a reportage kind of coverage that concludes with a storybook. The wedding photographer covers the whole day, capturing every detail from the bride preparing before the wedding, through the ceremony and then the speeches and the later dancing. Although this approach is reportage in that the day is recorded as it happens, a number of the photographs are posed. If these photographs are done well most of the coverage will look as though they are candid. This kind of photography still needs the photographer to be an expert in using flash, natural lighting, posing etc. In fact all of the skills that the traditional wedding photographer has built up over the years.
Your own personality will determine the kind of wedding photographer that you will become. Trying to be something that you are not will be disastrous, both for the couple and for your career. The wedding photographer, more than almost any other specialist photographer, relies on word of mouth to build up his reputation. So don’t stress yourself out and damage your reputation by taking on the type of wedding that your personality isn’t suited to.
Find your own style, stick to it and develop your own creativity.