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What is the Difference Between Wedding Portraits and Wedding Photojournalism?

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  • Written By: Miranda Fine
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2016
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Wedding portraits and wedding photojournalism are two distinct styles of wedding photography. A photographer who specializes in wedding portraits will focus on formal, posed pictures of the bridal couple, wedding party and guests, while a wedding photojournalist will concentrate on capturing wedding events as they unfold before, during and after the ceremony.

Wedding portraits are posed and often represent an ideal of the wedding. They usually focus more on the bride and groom and the aesthetic elements of the wedding than on what occurs during the actual event itself. Wedding photojournalism strives to document the actual wedding and what occurs. While the two styles of photography are not mutually exclusive, most photographers specialize in one or the other. Before choosing a photographer, it is important to think about how you want to remember your wedding, and the types of pictures you want.

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If your vision of wedding photography includes tableaux such as the bride and groom gazing into each other’s eyes before a blazing sunset, or holding hands and gazing together toward a distant vista, rather than your colorful aunt doubled over with laughter, then the style of formal wedding portraits may be for you. Formal wedding portraits can assure that everyone looks their best in the pictures, and that everyone you want to be included is present in the pictures. A wedding portrait photographer will spend a lot of time posing romantic pictures of the bride and groom, and formal pictures of the wedding party and the bride and groom’s families. Often, wedding portraits are taken before the actual wedding and again during the event.

A wedding photojournalist will concentrate on documenting the event as it occurs. The photographer might start taking photos before the ceremony when the wedding party is getting ready, and will likely stay for the entire event in order to document it from start to finish. The wedding photojournalist will concentrate on candid shots of the bride, groom and guests that capture the emotions and tone of the ceremony and reception. An advantage of wedding photojournalism style photography is that the photographer can capture a sense of how different people experience the wedding, and the unscripted joy and exuberance that often accompanies them. Most wedding photojournalists will be happy to take some posed portraits of the wedding party, but will focus their lens where the action is.

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