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Photojournalistic vs editorial photography style: which should you choose for your wedding?

If you’ve been looking for a wedding photographer in 2023, you’ve probably stumbled across a lot of buzzwords like photojournalism and editorial wedding photography. As a photographer who specializes in these two styles I find myself often explaining what photojournalistic vs editorial photography even is. First, we need to understand each style on its own. 

What is photojournalistic wedding photography? 

Photojournalistic wedding photography is an art driven style of photography that aims to document the real and raw action that happens at a wedding with little to no interruption. The definition, according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is: Photojournalism is journalism that uses images to tell a news story. News is supposed to be unbiased and informative. This photography style protects the true essence of an experience by observing and waiting for real life to happen in front of the camera lens. If your photographer only shoots in the photojournalistic wedding photography style you can anticipate no direction or posing. You’ll be left to live the day as it happens and can expect to forget your photographer is even there.  

What is editorial wedding photography? 

Editorial wedding photography is a much more curated and involved style of photography. Editorials are usually heavily directed because it is meant to be material that will be used for publication. Each little piece of the image is crafted together to create the art. This style is common in fashion and print magazines, because perfection in an image feels somewhat magical and unobtainable to those experiencing the art. Editorial wedding photography is directive and invasive to the wedding day. If your photographer only shoots in the editorial style you can anticipate being posed throughout the whole day and often in-between moments are not of value with this style. 

Why do I shoot both styles?

As you probably gathered, these two styles are opposites. Photojournalistic wedding photography is completely hands-off and editorial wedding photography is completely hands-on. A wedding day is one of the most complex photography jobs out there. Some parts of the day, I am simply observing and anticipating sweet moments to come. During your family portraits, I am directing people into place, fixing stray hairs and reminding the men to put their hands in their pockets. Each part of the day requires a different skill set and style. Just imagine how chaotic family portraits without direction would be. There would be no guarantee that you’d actually have a photo with everyone you wanted. In the same way, a reception with only the editorial style wedding photography would highly impact your ability to be present. The photographer would have to interrupt the true experience to make the lighting just right.

My style

My style is a happy blend of the two. I love the real, authentic moments that come from you simply living your wedding day. Your presence with your people is the most important thing to me. However, I also love to create beautiful art inspired by you. This does require skill with light and composition. I do give direction. For a solid example of what this practically looks like, let’s talk getting ready. An editorial wedding photographer would manufacture each moment. They’d tell you where to stand, where to look, what position to hold, and they might even have you do it a few times to get the perfect shot. A photojournalistic wedding photographer wouldn’t step in for any of it. Wherever you choose to stand, is where the photos happen. If your mom zips the dress quickly and they missed the shot, you won’t be redoing it.

My style, since it’s a blend of the two, looks like directing you into the place with the best composition and light, while allowing you to get ready as usual. I don’t often make my clients redo things but I do ask that you move somewhat leisurely in order to assure I get the moment. My clients are often quite relaxed and, while they want the beautiful moments, they don’t want or need perfection at every part of the day. They want the raw, the real, the moments truly lived.

Photojournalistic vs Editorial: How To Choose Your Wedding Photography Style 

Now that you know what the differences between photojournalistic vs editorial photography are, let’s walk through how to choose which style is best for you. Everyone is drawn to something on their wedding day. Reflect for a second and think about how you want to feel and what you want to remember. Photojournalism allows you to be present, but doesn’t guarantee all the images you may want. With less control on the artistic side, there is a lot more prioritizing a moment over being technically correct with the camera skills. This leads to grain and blur, which you may not mind. Maybe you’ve always dreamt of feeling like a celebrity or a princess on your wedding day. Editorial style wedding photography is for you, if you’ve always envisioned imagery that is more composed and could be seen on the cover of a classic magazine like BRIDES.

In summary:

If you value the following then photojournalistic wedding photography is for you: 

  • Being present on the wedding day
  • Candid, in-between moments
  • Documentation of the messy and imperfect things 
  • Motion blue and grain. 

If you value the following then editorial wedding photography is for you:

  • Posed and composed imagery 
  • Curated details
  • Documentation of the main action 
  • Clear and clean imagery

When choosing a wedding photographer don’t think that you have to choose between photojournalistic vs editorial photography. I truly believe that the best way to document a wedding is the blend of these two styles. You want to be present, but also it’s an important day and you want the beautiful imagery. When hiring a photographer, like me, who specializes in both styles, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll be able to enjoy the day without interruption when it really matters, but not left to wolves for the moments that direction will save you time and stress. If you love the imagery you see below, fill out my inquiry form and say hello.


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