This is a simple enough question but can you believe that I struggled to answer it only just this morning? I was being interviewed via email so I had all the time in the world to ponder my answer. 2.5 hours, in fact, I got to my desk at 6.30am and I was still trying to come up with an answer at 9am. This was after leaving it until the deadline as well.
As it was no longer the crack of dawn, I felt it was perfectly acceptable to start asking other people for help. So I messaged Sophie who helps me with content creation and is always very wise. She wasn’t impressed with my first answer – ‘that word is overused’ was her response and she’s right, of course. I’m not even going to tell you which word it was.
I then hit up my friend and fellow wedding photographer, Rebecca Carpenter. She sent me a stream of comedy voice notes all saying cliche after cliche and we decided that we needed to start a self-help group for Moment Capturing Storytelling Wedding Photographers. ‘Hello, my name is Rebecca and I’m addicted to moments…’
You’d think after 20 years in the industry, I would have this all figured out by now, right? But the truth is that I have mostly avoided defining what style of wedding photographer I am. Certain terms become fashionable for a while but what comes in, always goes out. So if you are too heavily associated with one particular style, it can be hard to have longevity.
Of the hundreds of photographers that I’ve mentored, I’d say at least 90% would describe themselves in a very similar way. We look at each other’s websites and socials so much, that it is inevitable that this common language occurs. But if it blurs into one for me as an educator, imagine how it feels for potential clients. The points of differentiation become very limited.
In reality, whatever style you say you are, over a wedding day you are highly likely to find yourself dipping in and out of genres. Some parts you are shooting are mostly Documentary Style, when you get into full creative mode you might be Fine Art Style. To me, being a wedding photographer means shooting portraits, fashion, still-lives, interiors, landscapes, dancefloors, food etc. We are the jack-of-all-trades in the world of photography.
How To Define Your Photography Style
So why bother? Why is it important to be able to describe your style? Back to those potential clients. It’s hugely overwhelming planning a wedding. There are so many services to book and for each of those you have multiple options to chose from. This is most likely the first time that they have looked at photographers’ businesses or thought about what’s important to them in terms of photography. We need to make it as easy as possible for them so they go from that overwhelmed position to feeling confident about what they are searching for. That’s where putting out some messaging on what style you are will help.
We all have parts of the wedding that we love shooting more than others. Chances are that your style can be defined by what those are for you. I love shooting portraits that have a fashion edge to them. I’m also thinking of how the layers to a narrative can fit together in order to tap into more senses than just seeing. Our memories are made up of all of our senses, so I’m always striving to reveal the others in images. So I would say that my style is Editorial.
If your happy place at a wedding is shooting the interactions between people then you could be a Documentary Wedding Photographer.
If you are struggling with this question yourself, I have devised a short quiz that can help you. I mean who doesn’t love a quiz? Grab yourself a cuppa and take part.
Photography: Lisa Devlin
Workshop: Photography Farm
Lead Photographers: Lisa Devlin + Katie Rogers Photography
Styling & Planning: Studio Between with South Events Specialists
Stationery: Ink and Paper London
Florals: Blooming Haus
HMUA: Makeup by Kelvin
Location: The Brighton Studio
Jewellery: The Vamoose
Shoes: Emmy London
Model: Yu at Select
Dresses: Charlie Brear