Wedding Photographers: informal, formal, reportage, candid… what style will be best for my wedding?

What Sort Of Style Will Be Best For My Wedding Photography?Those first tentative steps into the discovery of wedding photography can be a confusing time for many brides-to-be, as few will understand the types of photography on offer. Traditional photography once lent itself to the formal style, grouping family members and friends in specific, scripted/ posed shots. While this was a great way of including everyone in your photos, the end result was somewhat lacklustre in style.

Contemporary photojournalism styles have changed all that. Wedding photography has become as much about detailing the story of “the big day” as it is about everyone in attendance. Its for this reason that styles such as candid, informal and reportage photography have become almost preferential to the stiff, formal alternative.

Deciding on the right style for your own wedding largely depends upon what you intend to do with the photos, post-event. Some brides opt for canvas print transformations that become focal home décor, whereas others prefer to compile their photos within a coffee table book. Perhaps you would prefer to frame a couple of grouped photos for wall-mounting, and organise the rest within a photo album. Whatever you want to do with your photos will ultimately influence the hiring of your photographer, so be sure to ascertain whether they specialise in one, or several of the following.


Candid photography describes the style of spontaneous “point and shoot” one might associate with the paparazzi. A candid photographer is experienced in seeking out the intricate stories and details during your event; often mixing amongst the guests to get the best shots. This style is ideal if you really want to capture the essence of joy and celebration within photographs; up-close shots of friends and family enjoying catching up, drinking and dancing. A candid photographer focuses in upon the smiles, expressions and glances of love exchanged between you and your partner, throughout that special day.


Reportage is very similar to the contemporary style of candid photography; used to capture the essence and sentiment of an event or situation. A reportage photographer is experienced in the use of specific angles, natural light and casual behaviour to his/ her advantage, to avail stunning photos that you are probably unaware were even taken.

Reportage images are generally best taken with a long zoom lens (so the photographer does not infringe upon the natural behaviour of the subject) and a narrow depth of field (minimal background subjects) to really focus upon the important people/ objects. Additional enhancements, such as blurring of the background behind a subject can really transform the very nature of a casual photograph, into something you’d be more likely to find in a glossy magazine.


Informal techniques are often inclusive of candid and reportage styles. The term “informal photography” generally applies to any style which does not capture subjects in grouped or individual poses. Informal photography also extends to the touch-up techniques sometimes applied using a photo editing suite like Photo Shop, however the majority of professional photographers are able to strike the right balances to achieve such effects naturally. Informal photography is often applicable to photographers who go that one step further and make every photo a unique piece of art, using a combination of composition, candid photography and depth of field to really make them stand out.


The term formal is generally applied to the types of posed photographs we are accustomed to framing and hanging on a wall after the big day. Such photos are usually posed and scripted shots, whereby the photographer has directed his/ her subjects into certain positions prior to shooting. While some may consider formal photography to be outdated, it is still the perfect choice when you want images that incorporate all of the important people in attendance at your wedding.

Choosing one particular style of photography can be difficult, particularly when you want photos that encompass a variety of elements from the big day. If you are unsure, consider using a photographer who specialises in both formal, and informal techniques. Their portfolio should give you a good idea of how they can combine candid with formal, to create a wedding album that even your grandmother will enjoy, seeing her relatives in both natural, and group shots.

Christopher Strickland