* The Traditionalist.
If you like the look of posed photos in your parent's album - then, you should look for a "traditional" photographer. They'll shoot with a medium format camera, bring lots of equipment and lights, extra care and time will be taken to pose each photo. Usually they will shoot the pre-ceremony pictures after you and your bridesmaids are dressed, taking care that everything looks perfect.
You'll get shots of you and your parents along with some traditional poses of putting on your garter, placing the flowers on dad's lapel, formal shots of your gown, etc. After the ceremony the wedding party will gather for "altar returns" where the photographer will have you re-enact the key moments of your ceremony and then take formal shots of the wedding party.
Expect to take some time getting the photos you need, and be sure to ask how quickly you'll be able to leave for the reception. At the reception, a traditional photographer will often quickly shoot the cake cutting, the garter and bouquet toss, the first dance, etc.
Traditionalists typically deliver anywhere between 75 and 150 proofs with this style. These photographers usually follow a strict shot list of proven saleable poses and know what brides typically expect for their albums.
Emphasis is placed shooting for large wall portraits rather than the storybook type album, and they are known for outstanding print quality.
* The Photojournalist.
Strictly speaking this style is totally hands off photography! It's the complete opposite of traditional wedding photography with the purpose of capturing events as they happen. Coverage usually begins when you're getting made-up or dressing and photos capture the exciting atmosphere from beginning to end.
Photojournalism does not mean "black & white only", the best of this style uses color as well, nor does it mean this photographer will follow a shot list. It's a documentary style and extremely easy on the nerves for you and your guests. Wonderful storybook albums and wall photos will show every important moment as it happens.
The only downside is that often parents are disappointed that formal group and family photos were not taken. Others are delighted that they didn't have to pose for any of those tiresome shots! Photojournalist work quickly. Don't believe the skeptics when they call this "snap-shot photography". You'll be able to see the difference between the professional photojournalist and the photo hobbiest. These are not your Uncle Joe's photos.
Expect many more proofs from this style; anywhere from 250 to 1,000 depending on the length of your day. Photojournalist work very quickly without getting in your way. These photographers are in great demand, but take care to review several portfolios and albums. They should be consistent in quality and style.
One wedding per year shot in this manner does not a photojournalist make. This professional will be on his/her feet longer than you will and has to have a passion for the entire process.
* The Flexible Photojournalist.
If you like the photos in wedding magazines, you should look for this photographer. They simply combine the best of photojournalism while accomodating your desire for formal and group photos. The best part is they are adept at executing those pictures in a contemporary magazine style. Probably the most difficult wedding photography to accomplish, it takes a quick eye and an exceptional personality to do it all.
Look for story-telling albums and portfolios showing all of the important events of the day as well as genuinely flattering photographs of key people and groups. Expect lots of close-ups, details, emotion and action as well as relaxed poses of both groups and individuals. Nothing should look forced and everyone should look engaged in the moment. Further, these professionals are capable of shooting fashion and artistically styled photographs.
Like the photojournalist,they usually shoot quickly in both color and black & white, with multiple hand-held cameras, zoom / telephoto lenses and very little extra equipment to get in your way. They are comfortable working in natural light and outdoors, and known for directing the shots only when necessary.
Choose someone who seems to be warm and friendly, as they'll be interacting with your guests to get the shots you want, and one who will be happy to review examples you like from magaines. Further, this pro isn't worried about the point & shoot cameras you'll have for your guests or taking a moment to fullfill those last minute requests.
Most couples find the Flexible Photojournalist delivers the best of both worlds while being extremely easy to work with throughout the entire process. They should be interested in creating a custom photography plan just for you. Expect around 300 to 1,000 proofs for review.
Author Terrill Province