Does Style Matter?

I was shooting a wedding a few weeks ago with a photographer I hadn’t met before or seen his work before, which is not unusual.

He and his assistant were both very friendly and we started to get a bit of a rhythm going, both jumping in when we wanted a shot, both asking the other to please move if the other was in the shot.

It was a bit harder for me as he clearly liked backlighting just about every one of his shots, so he always had his assistant behind the subject with a remote flash. As a videographer, I am not a fan of flash, but I understand that in some cases photographers need it and we both have to work together to make sure the couple get the best photos and video from the day.

So I created this new style I call “shooting from the side” :). I kid of course (kinda), but it was a bit of challenge to get the shots whilst making sure to not get the assistant and the flash in the shot every time.

Another “style thing” that I noticed was that this photographer was getting everyone to pose in every shot. Most photographers I work with at weddings do a bit of direction, but this photographer was posing each shot like it was a fashion shoot.

This created an interesting dynamic between him and the bride in particular. She would ask him at least once every 30 minutes how she was doing and if things were looking good.
Corp setup

Things got even more interesting once the ceremony and family pics were done and we moved onto the location shots. We went to one of the usual spots around the church where I had shot before, and suddenly a van with what looked like a hundred balloons turned up and out came a whole bunch of feather fans.

Before I knew what was going on, the photographer had the groomsmen as well as his assistant on their knees around the bride holding the feather fans up. I will admit, it was a beautiful shot, but took about 25 minutes to set up. The balloon shots also took about 30 minutes to set up and shoot.

Now for anyone who has ever shot a wedding, you’ll know that you never have enough time to get everything you want, but the day needs to run to schedule, especially if you are booked till 9pm and the speeches, which you HAVE to capture, don’t end up starting till 8:45!

One big concern that started creeping into my mind was about style. I could see that the shots the photographer was getting were very, very styled and posed. The style of video I shoot at weddings might look composed in some shots, but mostly we just try to capture the spirit and the feeling of the day. As a result, I started to worry that if the couple really liked the style of photos they were getting from this photographer, they may not like the style of video that I was shooting as the styles could be very different.

This became a bigger concern me when I got home and had a quick look at the photographer’s website. I really liked some of the shots as they were beautiful and very creative, but I don’t know about them being right for “wedding photos”. They were heavily styled and it looked like quite a lot to touch up had been done. I cringed to think of how much time each shot would have taken to set up, and how much time that took on these people’s wedding days when they should have just been enjoying the day instead of holding a pose for this amazing shot.

I was talking to a photographer friend of mine about this and he made a good point, he said “If this is what the couple wants, then what’s wrong with that?” That is really the crux isn’t it? Just because

If this was a corporate shoot, I would have more gear than one car can carry, but this is a wedding.

Of course, just because I think it’s a bit much for a wedding day, doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. The couples who want that style and understand that it takes a bit more time and effort on their wedding day to get the shots, are clearly happy with it.

What do you think?

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