There’s a lot more to wedding photography than just pointing and shooting a camera. If it were that simple, couples wouldn’t spend an average of $2,400 on a professional photographer.

“The only thing you leave your wedding day with is your new spouse and your documentation of the day,” says professional photographer Charla Storey. “You want to look back on this day and these images and enjoy them on all of your anniversaries, share with your kids, and someday even with your grandkids.”

With that kind of investment, it’s crucial to find a vendor that knows what they’re doing and matches your wedding style and personal tastes.

“What do you want your images to feel like?” says Storey. “When you look back on them in 20 years, what do you want them to look and feel like? Where is your wedding going to be located and what is the vibe?”

To help you successfully navigate the world of wedding photography and its different genres, here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular styles:

1. Traditional

When you think of wedding photos, this is probably the style that immediately comes to mind. It’s “lots of flash, a lot of front light, few shadows and more poses,” explains Storey.

Many photographers use a traditional style for group shots, like family portraits, since it’s a simple setup and will definitely stand the test of time.

2. Fine Art

This style of wedding photography is about more than just documenting your event; it’s about crafting a piece of art through creative composition, lighting and editing.

“Fine art where everything is very curated and focused on details,” says Storey, who utilizes this style most often in her own work. “I try to bring a fine art editorial approach to my weddings so that I can showcase all the unique details that make a wedding special and one of its kind.”

3. Photojournalistic

For more candid style photos, you’ll want to find a photographer who specializes in photojournalistic techniques. Rather than curating moments, the photographer captures the moments as they unfold – without any interruption of influence – making it perfect for documenting the ceremony or reception.

4. Editorial

As the name suggests, this style of wedding photography is inspired by the images you “would see in a magazine or like a Crate and Barrel look book,” says Storey.

5. Dramatic

If your wedding style is a little extra, then your photography should be, too. This style is all about lighting, using a backlighting and high contrast to create almost theatrical photographs, and has become increasingly popular among wedding photographers.

6. Aerial

Aerial photography is another style that’s been trending in recent years. And while it’s not ideal for capturing your entire wedding, it is a great way to get another angle on your big day – literally. This photo style uses drones to shoot from above, making for sweeping and often breathtaking photographs, so it’s a great add-on if you plan on hosting any wedding activities outside.

Overall, though, most photographers will utilize multiple, if not all, of these photography styles throughout the wedding and reception, says Storey.

“When you shoot details you're a product photographer, when you shoot family you’re a portrait photographer, when you shoot the reception you’re a photojournalistic photographer,” she says. However, “you can tell the photographer style and secret sauce based on the portraits of the bride and groom.”

©CTW Features