Wedding photography is the art of capturing pictures related to a wedding.

Couples often hire a photographer or a photography studio to take photographs at their wedding.



Typically, a wedding photographer offers the following services in exchange for a one-time fee:

  • Wedding day photography
  • Printed or online proofs
  • Images on a Cd or DVD

The following services may be available as add ons:

Copyright and Ownership

"The law says the "author" is the owner of the copyright. The author of a photo or image is usually the person who snapped the shutter or created the image. If you took the photo, you own the copyright. If a professional photographer took the photo for you, then he or she owns the copyright." [1]

By default the one who actually "takes" the photograph is the author of that photograph and hence owns the copyright to that photograph. As a result this does not give the photographer the right to use the photograph in any and every manner because of defamation laws. No photographer has the right to use a photograph such that the person in the photograph will be portrayed maliciously or in a way that would damage a reputation.

However, for a bride it is important that you have an agreement in writing as to what limits the photographs will be used. The contract should have a model release [2] stating that the photographs can only be used for advertising purposes and that if monies are exchanged between the photographer and someone else then that photographer needs to get back with you. This will also include the bride receiving money for those prints. Since the photographer owns the copyright to those photographs you will not have the right to sell those photographs.

Prints for your personal use

A reputable print shop will not knowingly print professional photographs for you unless you have a written permission from the photographer. The contract for your wedding should be clearly stated as to what you will get and what you can do with those photographs. If you and the photographer agree that you will have permission to make additional prints then the photographer must give you a written permission form for you to have.

In short, the photographer owns the copyright to your wedding photographs. Your contract should be explicit in its language on what are the limitations and agreements to making additional prints, the model release, and how the bride and photographer may use those photographs.


The pictures taken on your wedding day are meant to last a lifetime. Because the contribution of the photographer is so enduring, it's crucial to find one whose vision and style align with your own.

Here are the three main wedding photography styles:

  • Traditional - Traditional wedding photography (also called formal wedding photography or wedding portraiture) refers to the posed pictures, usually comprised of the wedding party and the families of the bride and groom. These are the shots of the bridesmaids with their bouquets, the groom with his parents, the happy couple gazing into each others’ eyes, etc. Most wedding albums incorporate anywhere from just a handful of these portraits to page after page of formal groupings and combinations.
The nice part about traditional photography is that, ultimately, you have a set of professional photos of your family and loved ones. The disadvantage of relying only on traditional portraiture is that your pictures may lack the energy, passion, and raw emotion surrounding your wedding. Another disadvantage to this approach is that the the process of obtaining traditional wedding images can be time consuming and take away from the bride and groom, family and guests interacting naturally, which is often the best subject matter for photos you will cherish.
  • Artistic - Artistic wedding photography includes everything from starry /glittery effects, soft-focus lenses, lens and digital filter effects, and hand-colored images. While these effects can make for a stylish and modern photo ensemble, the drawback is that ten or twenty years from now, your pictures may look dated or trendy.
  • Photojournalism - Photojournalism is the term for one of today's most popular types of wedding photography. And for good reason: The goal of the photojournalist is to tell the unique story of your wedding, from the nervous anticipation before the start of the ceremony to the reception's last round of champagne. Photojournalism captures moments rather than poses.
Advantages: natural looking photographs, low stress, real memories of real moments instead of contrived ones, the photography happens around your event timetable rather than as an interruption of it. Disadvantages: unpredictability, you won't know beforehand what your favorite photo will be or even what will be taken, you may not 'look your best' in every photo.

Shot Lists

Couples sometimes give their photographer a shot list of photos that they don't want them to miss.


  • If the photographer has a blog, you will be able to view his/her latest work and get a taste of their personality.
  • It is important to meet with a bunch of photographers in person. This way you can see many examples of their work and get a sense of how they will work to capture your day and how you "click."
  • "Clicking" with your photographer is key. It is said that on your wedding day, you might spend more time with your photographer than your own family. Find someone you feel comfortable with, can relax around, can have fun with, and can bring out the best in you.
  • Ask to see full coverage of a wedding, usually in a proof book. Websites and blogs are naturally going to display the photographer's BEST work. Seeing a couple's full day of photography allows you to see the full range of a photographer's abilities.
  • You'll want to pay attention not only to style and personality, but to products. How images and physical photographs are offered back to you vary drastically from photographer to photographer. See what kind of albums they create, how long they hold onto your images, how much it is to "buy your rights" to those images. Ask if they offer any kind of credit towards an album or other printed photographs.

Above: Please change to: "buy the photographers rights,(copyright) not your rights"


  • Make sure to arrange to feed your photographer! A wedding is a long event, and photographers are on their feet for much of the day. It is customary to offer your photographer the same food that your guests are eating.

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