What Is The Difference Between Traditional, Contemporary and Reportage Wedding Photography


Set The Scene

Just imagine! You’ve been planning your wedding for the last 18 months. The closer you get to your big day, the more excited you feel. All the details planned out to the tee. As the day approaches, you see all your loved ones come together and celebrate. The wedding venue decorated just how you imagined. Everyone is dressed up. There is an air of love and happiness. As you finally see your love, all the stress and anxiety is forgotten, and it really is the best day of your life. 

The days and weeks after your wedding, you’re excited because you can relive this day over and over again when you look back at your photos. Finally the photos get delivered, you set an evening where you can both sit back, relax and go through your memories…

…Oh dear, the photos are not what you expected them to be. Click here to see 10 Things You Should Know To Find Your Perfect Wedding Photographer.

Do Your Research

To get on the right step, the first thing to clarify is what sub genre of Wedding Photography speaks to you. Wedding photography, like all photography is subjective. Bare in mind, the subgenres can and will crossover, but this is based on the individual style of the photographer. So as you can see from the title of this blog the three main sub genres are Contemporary, Traditional and Reportage.



  • Traditional Wedding Photography is a more classic style of wedding photography prevalent during the film era.
  • You will find there are more posed shots, with a lot of direction and guidance from the photographer, with heavy emphasis on the lighting and composition.
  • This style of wedding photography may take up more time, so make sure you speak to your photographer and allocate the amount of time they will need.


  • Contemporary Wedding Photography is very visual and creative.
  • It pulls on current trends, and experiments with lighting and angles.
  • Images are very stylised and clean with relaxed posing.
  • You would be forgiven to think that the resulting images were something pulled out of a fashion magazine.
  • This sub-genre is more about capturing the artistic vision the photographer has, rather then the overall mood, ambience or atmosphere of the day.
  • This sub-genre is more focussed on the portraits of the bride and groom.


  • Reportage or Photojournalism Wedding Photography is a more natural candid approach to wedding photography.
  • The photographer will capture the emotions and moments as they unfold throughout the day, without interrupting the ceremony.
  • This results in images which will bring back a flood of memories and emotion when you look back at the photos in the years to come.
  • The photographer will watch and anticipate events unfold, and so will need to be ready to adjust settings on the camera accordingly.
  • The purpose of reportage wedding photography is to capture the story of the day.

The Outcome

Now that we have identified the sub-genres, you need to understand what style speaks to you. Or better yet, put the sub-genres in order of importance for you. Photographers will most probably crossover sub-genres, so by prioritising what is more important for you, you can look for photographers in that style. Every photographer is unique and may be stronger in one sub-genre over the other. Look through their portfolio and if you want to see specific styles of images ask them if they have anything like that to show you. Personally I am stronger in reportage wedding photography, but I also have elements of contemporary and traditional wedding photography in my work.

I hope this helps you find your perfect wedding photographer.


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