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As one of the important rites of passage, a wedding is the culmination of

months of detailed and exhausting preparations. It is the fulfillment of dreams

and lifetime expectations. The wedding photographer does more than simply

record these events-he or she is preserving cherished moments of a family's


Wedding photographers must have a creative, empathetic perception of such

moments. The key is to understand and capture the essence of the occasion and

to reveal a genuine sense of joy and emotion. There will be no second chance and little margin for error in putting these moments on the cameras memory.

Traditionalist Versus Photojournalist

There are approaches to photographing a wedding, the traditional and the photojournalistic. Of course, there are variations in both styles as well as crossover

between the methods.

In simple terms, the traditional approach is to isolate and concentrete on the wedding participants (i.e., the bride, groom, attendants, fammilies, etc.), producing

a planneed series of portraits. These images are created typically during a

wedding-day session, where the photographer poses and directs the subjects to

achieve a desired result. Often the photographer relies on exact lighting and

body-positioning techniques. The traditional photographer supplements the formal portraits with a number of "action" photographs, may of which are staged,

prompted, or in some way enhanced. Pose photographs often comprise eighty

percent or more of the overall traditional coverage.

The more contemporary, photojournalistic approach, on the other hand, concentrates on the events of the wedding as they naturally occur. The photographer works unobtrusively, without posing, prompting, and often without

active subject awareness. The photojournalist usually takes considerably more

photographs, but with little intrusion or interruption. Pose photographs are few,

ussually comprised of a limited number of quickly-gathered groups, and account

for twenty percent or less of the overall coverage.

Clearly, the attitudes and approaches of both these types of photographers are

different. Traditionalists command attention(and obedience) as they go about their

people moving, lighting, and posing: photojournalists seek quiet invisibility to

facilitate the documentary process.

Just as these approaches are different, so are the typical consumers of the

respective coverage. Generally speaking, clients opting for traditional coverage are likely to have fairly large (photographic) wall portraits displayed in their homes. These clients value the work of the master photographic portraitist and, for

the occasion of the wedding, solicit the photographer's direction and guidance in

creating classic, time-honored portraiure.

Typical clients of wedding photojournalism are less likely to use personal

photographs as wall decor. They usually display only smaller, table-sized framed photographs. These clients tend to prefer natural documentation of the

wedding, without out active direction by the photographer.

Historically, the portrait approach has been the overwhelming style of choice

for the professional wedding photographer. Today, while the traditional methhod

maintains a healthy following,there is a growing number of contemporary couples

who prefer a less predictable, more intuitive record of their wedding. Wedding

photojournalists, myself included, have been quick to respond with less structured, non-fictional coverage. Thugh numbers still favor the portrait school,

momentum in today's market appears to be toward the more natural style.

Jim Charalambous

Photoprint cyprus - for Brides

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