Trends are like tides. They come and go, and if you’re not careful you can get swept up by them (queue the awkward high school photo). A few wedding photography trends, however, are worth getting in on the act! So, what are the latest trends in wedding photography? And which ones should you add to your bow?
The way we capture weddings in 2023 might be different from years gone by, with 360-degree cameras and drones kicking about, but we’re also moving back to classic ideas inspired by the past – like film photography.
Many of the new trends in wedding photography we see popping up in 2023 are also inspired by the art of documentary photography. It’s similar to many of the décor trends appearing, with authenticity and intimacy at the heart of how we frame these celebrations. Let’s dive in!
Let’s get real peeps – because that’s what this is all about. The rise of documentary-style wedding photography is a longing for images that feel AUTHENTIC. People are becoming less and less interested in the “highlight reels” of people’s lives on social media. Many couples these days want images that are raw and real, rather than overly posed, over-edited, and “perfect.”
I love to see my clients forget the staged Pinterest moments and focus more on just enjoying their wedding day. And that’s the thing! By enjoying their day more, the photos end up being better. Many photographers note that those in-between images from the day, where natural joy and emotion shine through, are many of their clients’ favourite pics.
In 2023, there’s a real focus on capturing pure emotion, and that includes the tough stuff as well as the joyful moments. Some of these shots can look like something you’d find within the pages of a glossy magazine, which is a big part of their attraction. The photojournalistic style has been a growing wedding photography trend over the last few years but is really coming to the fore this year. For many in the know, it’s the future of wedding photography.
The rise in popularity of documentary-style photography at weddings – wanting something more raw and real – is also linked to the increasing requests for film photography.
With film, what you shoot is what you get, giving you genuine snapshots of the night. Film images also have a nostalgic, fleeting quality while the direct flash can give off a cool and candid paparazzi vibe.
Another reason why film is one of the latest wedding photography trends is that each image essentially costs money and you only have so much film in a roll, so it makes you more mindful of the photos you take! There’s no taking hundreds of shots until you get the perfect one – and that gives the image a different, more treasured, intentional feel.
Pro tip: Shooting film throughout the day isn’t always practical. Many photographers who are interested in film will shoot digital photography, as well as film. Especially since, with a little help, you can get the filmy look on your digital images too (although that kind of defeats the spirit of them – maybe let’s keep that one between us).
I love seeing couples re-think what they envision for their wedding day – to deconstruct what they want from the day like a Poke bowl does to sushi. Does it really need to follow a prescribed formula, just like every other wedding you’ve been to? Or can things be changed up a bit? The same goes for photos.
For example, why not have a photoshoot before the wedding? It’s the perfect way to make sure the vision of you, as the wedding photographer, matches what the couple have in mind – to ensure you’re aligned with what they want from the final photos. And you get to develop a friendship and camaraderie with them before the big day – and have a damn good time together! It’s one of the latest wedding photography trends that really make sense.
This can work wonders by taking the pressure off on their wedding day and will, in turn, make your photos much more natural and free – allowing the couple to feel more open in front of the camera.
A clever thing to consider is to put yourself forward for engagement shoots, which allows couples to get a sense of what it is like to work with you. From there, they can potentially sign you on for their actual wedding day!
Let’s be honest, you can take a drone photo of a dumpster and make it look epic! The power and beauty of drone photography is that it allows you to capture a wedding day from a different perspective.
It’s probably the easiest way to capture an entire wedding party in one grand shot and can give your wedding pics a wonderful sense of place. From overhead shots of the sundowners to pulled back views of the ceremony from above, this method definitely can bring more gravitas to an image.
Wedding photos taken with the help of a drone are becoming more and more in demand, capturing gorgeous and effective shots from above that we would never see otherwise! As a wedding photographer, it’s a great value-add for your clients, and can be offered as such. One classic bird’s-eye view image of their day is often one worth framing, and couples are happy to pay a little extra for it.
Photo booths can sometimes feel a little tacky and are definitely not a new addition to weddings, but they are being reimagined and elevated in ways they haven’t been before!
Creative couples are bringing in beautiful drapery and décor to enhance and elevate the shots. An emerging trend is to go even further though, and have an interactive ‘set’ photo booth that guests can enjoy and get more editorial-style photos – drawing on whatever style or age the wedding couple want!
Another example of this is a 360-degree photo booth. They create a fun interactive experience for the newlyweds and guests and are something to do for people who don’t want to stay on the dance floor all night.
I absolutely LOVE this fresh take on wedding photos because I always enjoy seeing wedding photographers get creative with lighting. And night photography really forces us to do that.
One of the genuine Gen Z wedding trends, neon night photography has a dreamy edginess to it – a mysteriousness that really draws you in. It’s inspired by street photography but has hints of images you sometimes see at concerts and clubs.
Using whatever light is available to you is a great way to experiment and create something unique, especially when the source of light is limited. Neon lights cast wonderful shadows on the subjects and create moody images that really draw you in and really stand out.
Whatever style of photo couples might be after, they all have one thing in common: the couples wanna look goooood! And the soft and airy hue from romantic filters makes everyone look like royalty.
Throw in some evening sun to give their skin a golden kiss, slightly floated lines to make the frame especially romantic, and clearly visible details deviating out the frame, and you’ve got a style that is going to really win people over.
This is one of those wedding photo trends that is starting to pop up more and more, at smaller weddings in particular, where it’s possible to invest in high-quality and aesthetically pleasing details. And it’s those details that we as photographers can really hone in on, to give our images an element of detail and provide reminders of all the special effort that has gone into the day.
A big chunk of the finances at large wedding parties are traditionally directed to catering and accommodation for guests, but a smaller wedding allows couples to spend these expenses on decorations and accessories – exactly the ones that we can lap up for our B-roll!
This is a trend that popped up in 2022 and is expected to become even more popular this year. As you likely know, blurred motion photography is used to showcase movement – rushing traffic or running water – but can also be used to capture a still subject that’s actually moving, like a passing bicycle with a blurred background.
It gives an image a sense of movement and can work nicely as the bride and groom run through their flower confetti or are on the move on the dancefloor! They make for really artistic shots that complement a collection of in-focus images and contribute to the overall story.
Keep it in mind when shooting your next wedding and maybe identify beforehand which moments could work best for the blurred motion shots so you have your settings ready to go!
Staying on top of trends and what couples are looking for is a great way to stay relevant and desired as a wedding photographer. It’s something that I’ve spent my life devoted to! As a Melbourne wedding photographer, this has led me to help fellow photographers grow their businesses. If you’re looking to take your wedding photography business to the next level, then my one-on-one classes might be just the thing for you! Drop me a line here and let’s discuss how I can help you level up!