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Most Popular Wedding Photography Styles for 2021

Marcela Diaz



I'm a New England-based fine art wedding and engagement photographer. With my unwavering commitment, my objective is to skillfully encapsulate the intimate moments that unfold during your wedding day.

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Bride and groom pose for their wedding portrait by Marcela Plosker, Boston based wedding photographer. Image overlaid with text that reads Deciding on Wedding Photos For Your 2021 Wedding? Read About the Most Popular Styles Here.

When planning your wedding, one of the most important vendors you’ll hire is your wedding photographer. There are many amazing wedding photography styles to choose from, and it’s important to figure out what kind you want.

Once you decide on a wedding photography style, you can work on finding a wedding photographer who specializes in that particular kind of photography.

Most popular wedding photography styles

Want to know the most popular wedding photography styles for 2021? As an experienced Boston wedding photographer myself, here are the top photography styles I recommend you consider for your upcoming wedding!

Digital versus film wedding photography

First of all, there are two formats that photographers can take pictures in: digital or film. Before you choose from the other wedding photography styles, you’ll need to decide whether you want digital or film photos (or both). 

Most photographers shoot in digital these days. The main advantages of digital photography are how quickly you can access your photos and how many more editing options this format allows for.

For example, your wedding photographer could upload your wedding photos to a computer on the day of your wedding, so you hypothetically could see raw images right then and there! Plus, editing software for digital photos allows wedding photographers to shoot in less-than-ideal lighting, but still be able to give you a gorgeous result. 

On the other hand, film photos are classic and never go out of style. Film has a soft, romantic quality to it that is perfect for wedding photos. However, these photos can end up being quite costly, especially considering that your photographer will have to buy rolls of film and pay for the elements of the photo-development process. This process also is quite time consuming and usually takes a lot longer than it does to get digital images.

Tip: You can always have your wedding photographer take mostly digital photos with some film photos as well. This way, you get all the benefits of having tons of digital photos at your disposal, while also getting a few special keepsakes (AKA film photos) along the way, too.

Choose from these wedding photography styles…

Once you know which format you want your pictures to be in, it’s time to pick your favorite(s) from the many wedding photography styles there are to choose from.

Candids (documentary)

Candid photos are one of the most special wedding photography styles. Rather than focusing on posing perfectly or capturing highly stylized photos, candids are about capturing real life and spontaneity. This photography style is also called “Documentary,” because it truly is about documenting your wedding day in action. These are usually the photos that are the most emotive because the emotions expressed are completely genuine.

Think about it: a father seeing his daughter in her wedding dress for the first time, that look in the groom’s eyes when he sees the bride walking down the aisle…candid wedding photos are simply the best! These photos never go out of style!

A candid image of a couple dancing and laughing during their wedding reception as an example of a wedding photography style by Marcela Plosker, a Massachusetts wedding photographer.

Lifestyle wedding photos

Next on our list of popular wedding photography styles are lifestyle pictures. Unlike candid photos, these ones do call for styling and artistic direction from your photographer. For lifestyle photos, your photographer will probably give you some general directions on how to pose and what expressions to make.

However, these photos are still meant to look candid, so the directions won’t be too specific or formal. For example, your wedding photographer may instruct you to walk hand-in-hand down a cute walkway or to smile and laugh as you gaze into each other’s eyes while standing in front of a scenic backdrop.

Since many weddings in 2021 are going to be smaller and more intimate, lifestyle photos are one of the best wedding photography styles to choose from. This casual, yet gorgeous style of photography is a great fit for more intimate, informal gatherings. 

Editorial style

Editorial photos are a step more formal than lifestyle ones. These photos place a lot of emphasis on telling a story or exemplifying a theme. Think of photos in fashion magazines; these are done in an editorial style. Editorial shots are portraits that are typically more glamorous, classy, and polished. So, if you want to take wedding photos in an editorial style, your photographer will probably have very specific, highly stylized instructions about how to pose, etc. 

If your dreams of having a large, extravagant wedding have been dashed because of COVID, editorial photos can help bring back that lavish, sophisticated feel. This is a wedding photography style that will automatically elevate the look and aesthetic of your photos! 

Artistic wedding photography

Artistic wedding photos are next on our list of top wedding photography styles. These portrait-style photos are about being playful, unique, and experimental. With artistic wedding photos, it’s about trying new things and staying present in the moment. Maybe you have an idea of something you want to try (a photoshoot location, props, etc.) that’s personal to you and your relationship. Or maybe your photographer will get a burst of inspiration during your shoot. Either way, it’s a style different than the norm. 

There’s some level of risk associated with this kind of wedding photography, since you don’t always know how your experiment will turn out. With that said, I totally think these photos are worth the risk! They provide a great opportunity for you and your new spouse to bond and enjoy some time together on your wedding day, and the unique photos will be so special to you both. 

Classic wedding photos 

Finally, classic wedding photos never go out of style! Especially if you want to incorporate other more unique photo styles or elements, having some traditional pictures can draw a perfect contrast. The classic wedding photography style is one that is iconic and tried-and-true.

These are the poses, the moments, and looks that have stood the test of time. Photos of a mother helping her daughter put on her wedding dress or a bride standing alone, with her veil trailing behind her are always so breathtaking. These classic photos are formal and so striking; it’s always worth it to incorporate some into your wedding photo gallery. 

I recommend looking through Pinterest or even your parents’ wedding album to see what popular and traditional wedding photos you love. Maybe even specifically search Pinterest for vintage wedding photos, so you can get a good feel for this style and which specific shots you are drawn to the most.

You can’t go wrong with any of these wedding photography styles!

These wedding photography styles are poised to be the most popular and fitting ones for 2021 weddings. The good news is, you can’t go wrong with any of them! 

All of these wedding photography styles will give you special, beautiful photos that convey the true love and incredible celebration of saying “I do!” So, don’t stress about whether you’re making the right choice or not. Simply pick the style(s) that best suits your personality, relationship, and overall wedding aesthetic/style.

Now, it’s time to find a wedding photographer that specializes in the wedding photography styles you want. Check out this post to learn about the most important questions you should ask a wedding photographer you’re considering hiring. 

Xoxo, Marcela

North Shore, Massachusetts and Boston Wedding Photographer Marcela Plosker sitting in a chair with a cup of coffee

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