Wedding Photography: Photojournalistic or Something else? What’s Right For You.

September 25, 2019
I think this photo is ridiculous and awesome, and that’s basically my point.

Over the years, I’ve seen the term “photojournalist” or “photojournalistic” a billion times when it comes to wedding photographers. I feel like I have to speak up, because I don’t think those photographers (and clients) actually understand what that term really means.

To quickly clarify, a “photojournalist” is someone like a war or newspaper photographer (remember newspapers?). They grab the most poignant, candid shots that tell the story of what’s happening in the moment. Simple as that.

When it comes to wedding photography, I’ve lost count of how many wedding photographers claim that they’re “photojournalistic” in style, when almost every photo on their website/portfolio is standard, posed, and/or planned. It seems like being a “photojournalist” has become nothing more than a buzz word.

That said… what, as a client, do you want out of your photographer? Is it price? Is it convenience? Is it observation? Is it editing? Is it creativity? There is no wrong answer here. Every client wants something specific when they hire a photographer.

I could discuss this all day, but I won’t. Instead, let me list what the main different types of photographers should be doing for you:

  1. The Photojournalist. Their style/job: To capture the event as it happens, showcasing the best genuine moments in their final product. Lots of silly and loving results.
  2. The Portrait Photographer. Their style/job: Carefully setting up lighting and scenarios to get a beautifully lit/crafted image as the event unfolds. Nothing too crazy, but certainly well done and proper. Traditional.
  3. The “Magazine” Photographer. Their style/job: Basically it’s all about the client (bride and groom, in the wedding example). Usually dramatic. Hair, makeup, multiple lights, grand scenarios… like a magazine cover. Cleaning skin tones, replacing the sky in photoshop, digitally adding seagulls in the ocean air, etc… like a fairy tale.

Assuming one of these types of photographers speaks to you, just make sure that they’re going to give you what you want in the end. For example, if you want the high-fashion look, maybe don’t call the photojournalist. If you want the pure joy and emotion of the event, maybe don’t hire the fashion-oriented photographer.

Some of us dabble in multiple styles as needed, of course. Things bleed over. But make sure you hire the person that innately has the same care/vision that you hold dear.

Brides and Grooms don’t often think too far into this concept ahead of time, and I can’t blame them. The whole idea and process can be daunting. But the kind of photos you’re going to receive certainly depend on who you work with.

Let’s put it this way… you wouldn’t hire a Country band to play your reception if you wanted Rock N’ Roll or Pop music, right? I mean sure, they’re all professional musicians and they might be able to play whatever you want, but you’d ideally hire someone who’s strong in their craft and passionate about what they do, yes?

So, hire the person that specializes in exactly what you’re after.

A friendly PSA from your friendly photographer 🙂