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Trends and Styles for Wedding and Party Photos

Your photographer should be skilled in all the methods of memorializing your event: from tradition to trendy

One of the most important tasks of planning a wedding or special event is choosing who will be taking the pictures that will last for many years to come. You must also decide on the "style" of photos and be aware of the latest trends.

Always be clear up front with the photographer about your needs. In addition, ask for recommendations - he or she may have a certain style of shooting that will lend itself to the fun of capturing honorees and guests.

You should feel comfortable with the photographer's style and personality - and be ready to look around if you feel that your first choice does not have the expertise to photograph in a variety of situations.

Before you begin, always ask the photographer what you will actually "own" as part of the fee. Will you be able to take the negatives or digital files and have them reproduced on your own? Or will you be required to order all copies and enlargements through the photographer? The price will be higher for the former, but if you want to provide albums for friends and family, this may be your best option. However, the work quality may not be as high; in other words, you should not expect studio portrait work when asking for this level of service

Also ask about the viewing method before you make a final selection of photos. Can you view them on-line (along with selected friends and family), on a disk, or will you review sheets of proofs?

How you save your photo collection is also an important choice. The trends will come and go and you should inspect albums at the photographer's as well as the options of purchasing your own. Magazine-style albums have come to the forefront in recent years and offer an alternative to the more formal and traditional formats. Not only are the photos arranged to tell a story, but graphics are added for a personal touch; sort of an elegant scrapbook.

You also want to discuss what style of memories you want to include in your album. A talented professional photographer may be adept in one or more styles; it is up to you to choose how many different looks you want to incorporate. The ultimate decision will be based on cost as well.

First and foremost, you will probably want to arrange for traditional photos. These will be formal stills in which you and your entourage are posed. A photographer should be using the highest end in equipment for these and we recommend they be prepared to use manual lighting equipment, both in the foreground and in the surrounding areas. This fill light will add depth to your setting and will also eliminate shadows on faces and in between bodies. Natural light is also nice for traditional photos.

If you want a touch of drama for some of the stills, ask to see samples so you and your photographer can be clear on what type of artistic touch you want. If you're creating a magazine format with templates, you may also want to arrange for some black-and-white or sepia-toned prints. Be sure your photographer is skilled in the use of black-and-white shooting and editing. Your photographer may suggest using wide-angle and fisheye approaches to some shots.

You may also want to have romantic, or what is called fantasy, portraits made. These are often done in a studio setting where the photographer can better control the lighting and mood.

The photo-journalism style tells a story. These are pre-arranged with the photographer and are a series of photos that show the progression of your special day. You'll provide a wish list for the photographer well ahead of time, so the extra cost can be factored into your budget. In addition to these, you may also want candid photos. These will capture the special moments that are spontaneous. They may focus on the guests and all the little events and emotions that surround the event.

Once you visit with a photographer and see actual samples of the above trends and styles, you'll have a better feel for which will work best for you. Your main goal is to create memories that will last a lifetime.

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