Editorial Wedding Photography is definitely having a moment, and so this weeks’ Dear Devlin is a pertinent one.
If you don’t know what editorial wedding photography is, it’s a trend where photographers are taking influence from fashion magazines and applying the aesthetic to shooting weddings. They are directing images with posing that intentionally look like they fit in a high-end fashion spread, and the emphasis is on the style of a wedding and what the couple is wearing.
If you’ve got a burning question you would love to have answered, drop it here – there’s nothing too silly or too small, and the best – it will stay anonymous. You even get to create your own name! For now, we’re handing the mic to this wedding photographer, who asks –
How Do I Add An Editorial Look to My Wedding Photography?
Dear Devlin. I’d like to move my style in a slightly more editorial direction, but I’m a bit torn on how to best do this. Do you have any tips on getting more of an editorial look? Neurotic of North London
Dear Neurotic of North London
First of all, let’s think about what we mean when we say Editorial Wedding Photography. To me, it is a phrase that I’ve used for quite some time as I shoot weddings and I shoot for bridal magazines and brands. The two things influence each other in my work.
However, the term is now commonly used for a genre of wedding photography that is shot with a fashion/ celebrity photography aesthetic.
Genres of Wedding Photography
Fine Art Wedding Photography draws on techniques used by Fine Art Photographers, like soft pastel hues and low depth of field.
Cinematic Wedding Photography is influenced by cinematography and how movie scenes are composed and colour graded.
Documentary Wedding Photography borrows techniques from Documentary Photographers who depict an accurate representation of a scenario.
Of course, we can jump around more than one style on a typical wedding day but most of us will have a dominant style that we present as it’s our favourite way to shoot. If you are unsure what yours might be, try our fun quiz to find out.
Editorial Wedding Photographers might study posing that appears in fashion magazine spreads or the lighting used to shoot celebrities. This is why we are seeing direct flash being used within this genre – it imitates the way parties are shot in the back of high-end magazines like Vanity Fair and Tatler.
You are right to be wary of introducing new styles though. We book our jobs so far in advance as wedding photographers. Those couples that you have booked you for next year or the year after, contacted you for your current style and might be unsure if you have a big change in direction. But this doesn’t mean that you should stick with the same way of shooting forever. You would soon bore yourself and lose your love for the job. Style evolution is a good thing but introduce it slowly so that people get used to seeing it on your grid and in your portfolio.
My tips on getting the look would be –
Tips for Editorial Style Wedding Photography
Start not by looking at other wedding photographers but look at fashion photographers. Buy some high-end print magazines and rip out the tear sheets of the shoots and images that you are drawn to the most. Make a mood board. Get your hands on some coffee table books by photographers like Peter Lindberg, Annie Lebowitz, Ellen Von Unwerth or the classics like Irving Penn. I recommend a book called Appearances which covers the history of fashion photography. Look in your local library if doing a splurge in a bookstore isn’t affordable right now. When I was a student, I would use the college library to photocopy photos that I liked.
Start a Pinterest Board on Editorial photography. Sites like Vogue Italia and Fashion Gone Rogue are good resources. If you want to start one on Editorial Wedding Photography then I suggest looking at sites like The Lane and The Wed. Once you start pinning the algorithm will kick in and start suggesting images for your boards.
Once you are feeling all fired up with inspiration, how about planning your own shoot away from the pressures of a wedding? I still make time for these and feel like they are my time for creative play and for pushing my shooting style in new directions. Once you start to post work from shoots like this you should find that the clients that are aligned with your aesthetic start to come onboard.
Even at your paid jobs, try to find time for shots that experiment with this look more. Try it on for size. I suggest playing with your shutter speeds to allow for more intentional blur in your images. This might mean pushing your aperture up to the heady heights of F11 so ensure that your sensor is clean – any dust on there will show up at narrower apertures.
Try using flash, even in the daytime. If you point it directly at your subjects without any diffusion this can emulate the look of party photos and make everyone look like a famous person. Don’t save this technique just for people, try it out on detail shots too.
Finally, think about what really makes an image feel editorial. It might be attention to detail, elegant posing that highlights the clothing or a mood that feels modern and celebratory. Bring that to what you are shooting and have fun with it.