Fine Art Wedding Photography – what does that even mean?
If you have just started searching for your wedding photographer you are probably feeling a touch overwhelmed by the amount of choice out there. Maybe you are wondering ‘how on earth will we find the right photographer for us?’ And ‘what does “fine art wedding photography” even mean’??
In your search you may have come across words like, reportage, documentary, dramatic, quirky, and of course fine art. It can all be a bit overwhelming trying to decipher how these terms relate to the look of the photographs.
A good place to start is to decide whether you would like your wedding photographs to look ‘bright and airy’ or ‘dark and moody’. Would you like them to have a soft, natural colour palette or something more dramatic and saturated? Do you love romantic, elegant portraits or would you prefer something more edgy?
If you’re drawn to bright and luminous images you are probably looking for a fine art wedding photographer. Like me!
I am going to explain what fine art wedding photography is and how to tell it apart from the many other styles. Whether it is the right style for your wedding is for you to decide!
Fine Art Wedding Photography Is Bright
You will notice that all of my photographs are very light and bright. This is because I use a technique called ‘over exposing’ when I take photos which is key to the fine art aesthetic. This style of photography gives the photographs a dream-like look and is ever so flattering on skin tones, which makes it perfect for weddings. I aim to deliver this style consistently throughout the wedding day regardless of the weather so if you book a fine art wedding photographer you can expect bright photographs which are full of light.
Another key aesthetic of the fine art look is soft shadows. To achieve this I always place my subject with the sun behind them. This stops any harsh shadows, which can be quite unflattering. Backlighting like this give the image a luminous look when the light seems to shine out of the photograph. In contrast some style of photography prefer direct light which creates a much more shadowy look.
Fine art wedding photographs favour natural light. This means they wont be using an artificial light source such as flash unless it’s completely necessary. Using the natural available sunlight gives my images a very soft and classic look. It also means I can work in an unobtrusive way without any distracting flashing lights. Being a fine art wedding photographs means that I know how to find and use good light. For me the best natural light is slightly muted and diffused such as under a high canopy of trees or in the soft shadows of buildings.
As a fine art wedding photographer I am all about the details. Not only do I love the prettiness of them but they also help tell a beautiful story of your day when the key colour or motif of your wedding runs through your entire wedding album. For this reason I always make sure to allow time to set up and style your wedding details in a beautiful way. Shoes, flowers, jewellery, wedding favours, table decorations are all important parts of your wedding vision which I am there to capture. I photograph these elements in an editorial style, which makes them look very clean and uncluttered. I will often arrange a few details such as shoes, perfume and jewellery into a set up, which tells the story of bridal preparations for example.
I am often asked how I get a blurry background in my photos. This look is characteristic of fine art photography but the way in which it is achieved is pretty technical so I wont go into too much detail. Let’s just say that I set my camera and lenses in a particular way, which creates this effect. This look is also known as ‘shallow depth of field’. I absolutely love this look because it draws your eye to the subject of the photograph and allows you to focus on them rather than being distracted by messy backgrounds. Shallow depth of field creates a calm intimacy in the photograph, which I think is very beautiful and romantic. Perfect for weddings!
You wont find many bold colours in my photography. If you look through my portfolio you will notice that the colour palette is very soft and muted. This is again fine art thing and is achieved by using the right camera, lens and settings.
Because I shoot Fuji film which is known for it’s pastel colour palette this further enhances this look. These refined colours give my photographs a timeless and elegant look.
I am often asked if I pose my couples, the answer is yes! But by posing I mean gentle direction to get the most flattering and beautiful photographs. My posing is never stiff or uncomfortable. With nearly a decade of experience I know how to get tender and romantic portraits for my couples. Using natural light and all of the techniques I mentioned previously I work with my couples to capture authentic moments of connection. These are the photographs, which will hang on walls and be passed down generations in heirloom albums.
If you would like to see more of my fine art wedding photography take a look at my portfolio here.