Weddings have trends just like most things and if you can predict what they might be then you can stay ahead of the pack when it comes to your marketing and booking some great weddings. Being able to forecast what the next big things might be can make all the difference in the current super saturated playing field. Now, we all work in slightly different markets, I shoot weddings at the most creative end of the spectrum, that are often quite alternative and I’ll travel anywhere within the UK to shoot them. Your market might be more local to your home or more traditional in style. Wherever you are positioning yourself, the trends eventually filter down.
For the last couple of years, I’ve been shooting big weekend long outdoors and festival style weddings. Now the good thing about weddings is that the trends hang around for a while. We plan our weddings a year or more in advance so the fashions don’t change as quickly as some industries. I don’t think the festival weddings will disappear but I do think we will see some new kinds of wedding emerging.
Brides are competitive, if they’ve been to 5 friends’ weddings and they were all in a teepee tent with sharing plates, that’s been-there-done-that. If you are spending more on one day than any other day in your entire life, most of us want it to be outstanding for everyone that attends. You want it to feel fresh. So if Festival is on the way out, what’s on the way in?
You have to love the great British weather and I’ve lost count of the number of outdoor weddings that I’ve shot that have been badly affected by the weather. Torrential sideways rain so all guests have to huddle inside the tent or ceremonies in the blazing sun at 2pm with no shade and everyone gently turning bright red. When you pick a date for a UK wedding you are playing weather roulette and that’s stressful so I predict that weddings come back indoors. This doesn’t mean that we are going back to hotels that churn out weddings week after week. Couples are getting more creative with the spaces that they want to party in and the industrial/warehouse wedding will get bigger. They can look incredible with some minimal styling and they often have gorgeous light.
This trend has been exploding recently. In uncertain financial times for many, why bother to feed and entertain 100+ people when you can sack it all off and concentrate on just being with each other. The average UK wedding now costs a whopping £30,335, so who can blame couples for just running away and having a day all to themselves – well with an awesome photographer in tow to record it all? The elopement market is wider than just the UK, as it’s now considered to be a desirable location for couples from abroad to elope to. Scotland’s gorgeous landscape is the most popular but London is great for elopements and so is Northern Ireland, thanks to all the exposure that Game of Thrones gave to its glorious locations.
Front Room Weddings
Backyard Weddings are a big thing in the US but we just don’t get the weather or have the space that they do. Plus as a society we are becoming increasingly insular. We now get everything delivered, there’s an app or a website that in just a few clicks enables us to get just about everything that we need brought to our homes. Soon the only thing that we will buy in person is a haircut. So I predict that weddings will become the same – that couples will get everything brought to them including the celebrant and get hitched right in their own home. And if it’s not big or fancy enough, then they’ll hire a nice AirBnB.
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TRENDS
Just like the weddings themselves, trends come and go in the photography too. I mean who remembers Spot Colour? That was considered innovative at one point! I’ve been doing this for a long time now, 2020 will be my 20th year and I’ve seen many wedding photography fashions become hot and then cold. I’d say that if you are in this for the long game then avoid anything too extreme but here are some predictions as to what I think we will be seeing more of soon.
Intentional Mistakes and Movement
We are at the stage now where cameras are so incredibly accurate. I shoot on Sony A7IIIs and since I’ve switched to a mirrorless system, I’ve noticed that I shoot less frames. I don’t have to shoot loads – what I see on the back of the camera is exactly what I’m getting so the margins for error have dramatically reduced. And in a way, this actually makes me sad. I’ve always adored the accidental genius shots – the ones that happen when you are experimenting, when you make a mistake. This is the ‘human’ part of photography and that could easily be lost with all the mechanics of our kit now. So let’s bring that back. Yes your camera shoots beautifully all the way up to 360000 ISO but what happens when you make it too low for the available light, what happens if your shutter is open for just that little bit too long to freeze the action? You might get the most beautifully broken frame. Let’s face it, emotions are messy so let’s not be trying to record them with the accuracy set all the way to 100 all the time.
This is another trend that I think is inspired by the Mirrorless Movement. The cameras are getting smaller and they are designed to be used away from the face. So by nature you soon find that you rarely shoot from eye height. You don’t appear to be taking photos so much with a mirrorless. You can easily shoot discreetly, capturing scenes that before, putting your big old DSLR to your face might have triggered your subjects’ self consciousness. And this is how street photographers often work so I predict that this will be a more visible element in wedding photography.
Vanity Fair Photos
My last prediction is that wedding photographers will be turning away from Instagram when they need a shot of inspiration and they will get back into buying printed magazines. Looking at photos on a tiny screen is nothing compared to seeing them printed in lovely heavy magazine pages. Wedding photographers shoot groups and parties and the magazine that shows both of those incredibly well is Vanity Fair. Think of Annie Leibovitz’s incredible group cover shoots and all those glamorous Hollywood party pictures. In fact, I’ve just had an email from my next bride asking if I can do some of those ‘cool squad photos that look like Vanity Fair’. BOOM!!!!
So, now you know! This article was written for my regualr column in Professional Photo Magazine. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these or your own predictions for the trends in either weddings or wedding photography. Drop me a line …
UK Wedding Photographer + Boss at Photography Farm