What styles of Wedding Photography are there?

What styles of Wedding Photography are there?

Wedding photography isn’t just about having a top of the range camera and simply organising guests to stand for a photo. Understanding and talking through the styles of wedding photography is a large part of my job. It helps ensure that the couples I work for get the very best wedding photos that are personal to them and their wedding day. Some people want elaborate and visually stunning photos that can take time to prepare, others want unobstrusive and natural photos to remember the day as it was.

To help you decide what style of wedding photography (and photographer!) suits you, I’ve listed out some variations of styles below. The style isn’t just about the way the photo looks, but also how it was taken and what you can expect from your chosen wedding photographer.

Natural, Live & Unstaged (Reportage)

manchester town hall events

My preference and strength over many wedding photographers is this approach. I find that overly-elaborate shoots with posing and fashion shoot-esque requirements only waste your valuable time on your wedding day. If you’re not having fun and enjoying yourself, how can we ever photograph those moments of spontaneity and sheer joy?

This style of photography lets the wedding photographer be an extra but unheard guest on your special day. I can be quiet and unobstrusive, I can meander around your guests and not add any stress or fuss to the proceedings whilst capturing some truly natural and unstaged moments. This approach means that photos are taken throughout the day without taking you away from your guests (remember no one wants to be waiting 2 hours before they even seen the Bride and Groom!).

Elaborate, Dramatic & Staged (Contemporary)

The opposite of this approach is a more staged and elaborate wedding photography shoot. I work with some couples who have seen / or have a specific idea of the wedding photo they want. This is the most important day of your life, so many couples aren’t bothered about taking a little more time to get the perfect shot.

Though this style does take a lot more time, more equipment and may require your wedding photographer to manually adjust the lighting, it can reap some great rewards. The downside however is that you’re perhaps missing out on your own wedding. I however, often do a mix with my couples to achieve those one or two stunning dramatic shots and then use the rest of the time on natural documentary style wedding photography – so there is a happy medium.

Artistic, Wholesome & Atmospheric

I love this style of wedding photography, especially when the conditions (e.g. weather) are perfect for it. Many couples don’t want a standard wedding photo. Many are happy to have subtle changes and additions to the contrast, the colouring and focus area. These type of shots might take the surrounding area or landscape into more consideration. The focus of the photo might not necessarily be the Bride and Groom but the setting around them.

Being artistic isn’t just about the images though, it’s as much as about the wedding photographer and the couple’s willingness to be creative and open to ideas. Whether that’s the Bride willing to pop on a pair of wellies to stand in the nearby field or the Groom being comfortable with a public display of affection, this style is all about creativity, originality and often, spontaneity.

Traditional, Portraits & Straight-forward

mono portrait of bride

Many couples just want to ensure that they have wedding photos of their guests and loves ones. A traditional wedding photo shoot is still very popular and not to be sniffed at. A good wedding photographer will be able to adapt a number of styles to make sure you get a bit of everything. This approach makes sure you get exactly what you want and don’t have to worry about relatives being “left out” of the photos.

The largest issue with this style is keeping them creative. There’s only so many photos of you and your family that you want and too much time spent on this might mean we miss the interactions between your friends and family who might not be on the photography list. This also requires a higher number of shots as there is inevitably an uncle not looking at the camera or a grandmother who has blinked.

How are wedding photographs taken?


I largely shoot my weddings in digital like most other wedding photographers. Digital means that as a wedding photographer, I can take a near unlimited amounts of photos and I can see what I’m shooting on the camera display to assess the results. Digital cameras also help in darker venues where light might be restricted. My cameras allow me to customised, optimise and adjust to the surroundings which means I can spend more time taking photographs rather than trying to “catch the best light”.


In comparison, photographs shot on film are in someways the opposite. They take a lot more time and effort to take and process post-wedding and there’s much less flexibility for editing versus digital. They can also cost more as all that additional time is an expensive process. However, despite it’s age versus new technology, film can produce better photography in terms of the range of shadows/highlights and there’s a distinct soft quality to wedding photography taken on film.

Why should I choose Mick Cookson wedding photography then?

One of the reasons I love what I do is that I like to mix all these styles up. I’m incredibly flexible and adaptive to your wedding day. If you want certain photos with grandparents or friends I will make sure you capture them. If you want a dramatic evening shot, I can make sure we prepare for this so we have time to do it without stealing you away from your own party. If you want to just enjoy your day but be able to look back at natural and beautiful photos to remember it as it was, then I most certainly can help with a reportage style.

Whatever your requirements, I’m always eager to listen and help plan the very best wedding photography that is unique, creative and special to you.

Best Lancashire Venues for Wedding Photography 2017

Best Lancashire Venues for Wedding Photography 2017

I recently posted a blog about my favourite wedding photography from 2016. I regularly get asked by couples, family and friends where the best wedding venues are for capturing magical natural wedding photos. This got me thinking about what venues I really enjoy shooting at that allow me to be ultra creative in a live and unstaged environment. With this in mind, here are some of my top choices for best Lancashire venues for amazing wedding photography in 2017.

Browsholme Hall

One of the best venues for Lancashire wedding photography, Browsholme Hall & the Tithe Barn always provide so many brilliant options. The Hall offers the opulence, history and luxury of a stately home where many couples choose to have their ceremony. The Tithe Barn for the reception is a recent multi-million pound refurbished barn with period features, oak beams, exposed stone walls and looks incredible when lit by candlelight.

Beeston Manor


Beeston Manor is without doubt one of Lancashire’s most sought after wedding venues and with 140 acres of land to play with, it’s no surprise why. Like Browsholme, it has a converted 16th century barn with high oak beams and sandstone walls. I love shooting in barn venues like this as you can really get a wonderfully atmospheric feel to all your wedding photos. I especially mention Beeston Manor because of the famous helicopter pad for a special arrival of the bride and groom. As you can imagine, this facility means we can capture some truly extraordinary wedding photography!

Bartle Hall

Bartle Hall Wedding Photography Lancashire // Dawn & MichaelI’ve been a Bartle Hall Wedding photographer a few times in 2016 and I always look forward to returning (as I am already in 2017!). With stunning grounds and gardens (and some decent weather) I can capture some beautiful and natural shots of guests milling about outside on the terrace. More than often, it’s those live and natural shots that produce the very best memories. If it rains, there are plenty of original features and charm inside the building which means that you don’t necessarily have to worry too much about the weather.

Eaves Hall


Nestled in the heart of the beautiful Ribble Valley, Eaves Hall is a stunning Lancashire wedding venue for photography. Yet again, it has the right balance of charm and history inside the Georgian mansion with the surrounding beauty of the gardens and grounds. The venue makes it very easy to capture the elegance of a wedding, but also all the excitement, emotion and joy that only comes with natural wedding photography.

Mitton Hall


The photo above shows how spectacular Mitton Hall really is for any Lancashire wedding photographer. The 15th century house is full of intricate features, charming quirks and some stunning views over the Lancashire country side. I really enjoy weddings here because they allow you to capture some fantastic natural light shots both in and outside. When the main chandelier is lit and the sun has gone down, the main hall (in the photo above) creates such an intimate and romantic atmosphere that it really makes for a great picture.

So there you have it, five of my personal favourite venues for Lancashire wedding photography. If you like what you see and what to have a chat about previous weddings I’ve done in Lancashire, or perhaps even some venue suggestions, please just get in touch.

Questions to ask your Wedding Photographer

Questions to ask your Wedding Photographer

Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Having been a Manchester Wedding photographer for over ten years, I’ve met hundreds of couples and have answered every variety of question possible. Finding the right wedding photographer is a crucial element of planning your big day, you want to make sure you have confidence in the photographer’s ability, reliability and communication. It is traditional to meet with your prospective wedding photographer before agreement so that you can get a chance to ask questions, see if you get on with them and look through past work.

The face-to-face session is really important for you to find out more about the wedding photographer’s work as well as give him or her a chance to ask you questions about what you want. With this in mind, I’ve put together a handy list of questions you should ask your prospective wedding photographer:

Are you available on our wedding date?

This sounds obvious but asking this first might save you and the photographer a lot of time if they are unable to accommodate your date.

Have you ever done a shoot at our wedding venue? If so can you provide an example portfolio?

Asking for past experience at your venue not only potentially allows you to see how the photographer shot the venue last time, but it also may be useful to ask the photographer what his/her thoughts on the venue are and whether there are any good suppliers he/she can recommend as well.

What style of wedding photography do you recommend for our venue?

If the photographer has worked at the venue before then they may be able to best recommend a style of photography to suit the venue. For example, if the venue is small or difficult to work in, an overly elaborate photographic style may be too time consuming unrealistic.

How do you work on the day?

Ask your wedding photographer about what style they use on the day, will they come to wherever you’re leaving from? Will they demand several hours to take photos or will they likely take a step back from to try capture natural photos as they happen. Most wedding photographers are flexible in their style, but if there is a certain way of working you’d prefer then be sure to ask the photographer if they can oblige.

Will you be the wedding photographer who will be there on the day?

Don’t be disappointed on the day to find out the wedding photographer sent isn’t the same you talked to (who you may have had a lot of confidence in or a good rapport). Confirm what photographer will be there on the day.

Will you be assisted by any other photographers on the day?

Finding out if there will be more than one photographer is important as it may mean that you can capture pre-wedding moments with both the bride and the groom as they are getting ready. It may also impact cost so it’s always a good question to ask.

Have you worked with our florist / DJ / wedding planner / videographer before?

It is always worth finding out if your wedding photographer has experience with your other suppliers. If they already know each other and speak highly of each another then your day will likely go smoother. If say your photographer hasn’t worked with the videographer before, it may be worth suggesting they both get in touch to decide how they can stay out of each another’s way without disrupting the wedding.

What time will you be available from and for how long?

Though an obvious question, you need to be clear about exactly what you want. If you want photos of the bridal party getting ready then your photographer may need to arrive significantly earlier than usual. If you want photos of your first dance, then the photographer may need to stay a little longer. Be clear about what photos you want and ask the wedding photographer how much time they need.

Do we need to provide a meal during the reception?

Wedding photographers eat as well! It can be a long day for us so many weddings and venues offer “crew” meals at a reduced rate so that the wedding photographer doesn’t need to “nip out” to grab something to eat and potentially miss a great moment. Some photographers are happy to bring their own packed lunch, others may ask for a meal during the wedding breakfast.

Would you need access to our wedding venue in advance?

If the wedding photographer has never shot at the venue then they may want to scope out the building and surrounding area for potential shoot positions and plan. The last thing you want is your photographer demanding to be allowed access to the church at 6am on the morning when it’s all closed up!

Are you insured?

Sometimes you just can’t plan for everything and unfortunately accidents and problems do happen. Make sure that your photographer is issued for Public Liability and Professional Indemnity. Some venues may not let them shoot without it.

How will you be dressed throughout the day?

There’s nothing wrong asking how the photographer will be dressed for the day. Most wedding photographers worth their salt will be professionally dressed. If you’re wanting something different, then make sure you speak to your wedding photographer in advance.

Is it ok if other people take photos during the wedding / reception?

It’s always worth discussing with your photographer if you want other photos to be taken. They may advise that photos with flash could spoil your professional wedding photos or distract family members when being photographed. Some couples make it clear they don’t want photos taken from anyone else because they don’t want photos shared across social media on their wedding day. Equally, some couples may want to welcome as many photos as they can. It’s always best to ask the question early on to avoid any awkwardness on the day.

What information do you need before the wedding day?

To avoid stress and any last minute issues, always make sure to ask your wedding photographer if they require anything else from you before the wedding day. Sometimes this may be a list of people you specifically want photos with, an itinerary of the day or contact details of the wedding party. This will help avoid surprises and last minute requests from both sides.

How many photos should I expect to get from my wedding?

This is always a hard one to answer exactly as there are so many different variables at play but your wedding photographer should be able to estimate the volume of photos you can expect.

How long will it take until I can see my wedding photos?

Ensure clarity right at the start about deadlines for your wedding photos. This will allow you and the photographer to set realistic expectations.

How will I receive my wedding photos?

It is important to ask in order to understand what to expect. Many photographers use USB devices or Cloud file storage that can be accessed online. Some may decide to store the photos on a DVD or CD.

Will I own the copyright on my wedding photos?

This sometimes depends on the costing of the wedding photography package. Some wedding photographers don’t actually provide the copyright which means if you want to print your own photos you won’t be able to. Find out if this is included in your cost.

How much will my wedding photography cost?

Most wedding photographers will present you with a quote and a number of packages in regards to cost. Some will include extras like a printed album, an extra USB device or additional professionally processed photos.

Is a printed album included in the cost?

Many couples automatically expect an album in the cost but this isn’t necessarily always so. Production and printing of a professional wedding album takes hours to get perfect, so many wedding photographers will charge an extra cost for this.

How much of a deposit do you require to secure a booking?

If you’re happy with the photographer and the answers you’ve heard, it might be time to talk about booking. Most wedding photographers expect a deposit to secure the booking in advance, so find out how much this is before agreeing.

To see some of my own individual answers to these questions, take a look at my wedding photography frequently asked questions post or contact me if you’re planning your own Manchester based wedding.

Ten Manchester Wedding Venue Ideas

Ten Manchester Wedding Venue Ideas

Ten Manchester Wedding Venue Ideas

Having been a Manchester wedding photographer for nearly a decade, I’ve put together some of my favourite wedding venues as well as a few places that might be under the radar for couples looking to choose the perfect place to tie the knot. If I’ve missed a venue off that you absolutely love, let me know and I’ll update the list.

Didsbury House Hotel

Didsbury House is a luxury boutique Victoria hotel that boast stunning décor, a warm atmosphere and plenty of opportunity for some brilliant wedding photography. 4.5 miles south of Manchester, this lovely hotel is set in the village of Didsbury making it great for transport for guests but close to the city centre. Didsbury House has recently been refurbished bringing a contemporary twist to period and original features. It has 27 individually designed bedrooms for guests and wedding party to stay over and a number of lounges and bar for pre/post wedding festivities.


The Midland Hotel

Midland Hote

The Midland is a Manchester icon right in the heart of the city centre so it’s not a surprise it’s one of the preferred wedding venues in Manchester for some many couples wanting a city wedding. With plenty of opportunities both inside and outside, I thoroughly enjoy shooting weddings in this stunning Grade II listed building. The staff are incredibly helpful and with 312 exquisite rooms it’s a great venue for couples who don’t want their guests to have to travel far for accommodation.


The Lowry Hotel

Lowry Hotel

I’ve shot a number of weddings at The Lowry Hotel recently and have always been impressed. It’s one of Manchester’s nicest hotels so it’s not a surprise it’s one of the top Manchester wedding venues. Again, it’s a great venue for capturing some outdoors city shots along the river (providing it’s not raining!). It’s very central and there’s plenty of accommodation on site or nearby, making it very stress-free for guests planning to stay a night or two.


Manchester Town Hall

Manchester Town Hall

This venue is a dream for a Manchester wedding photographer like myself, I can’t stress how much I highly recommend this as a venue. As recently mentioned in a blog I did for Jacqui & David’s wedding there, there is an abundance of creative opportunities for weddings here. The Great Hall where the wedding breakfast can be held is nothing short of stunning and seats up to 220 guests. It has the heart and grace of historic Manchester wedding venue with the buzz of a city center atmosphere.


Great John Street Hotel

Described as “madly eclectic” and oozing with “individuality in design and experience” this is definitely a quirky Manchester wedding venue with elegance, style and panache. Originally an old Victoria school house it’s now one of Manchester’s hottest hotels and wedding venues. The rooftop lounge is particularly is a brilliant spot for summer weddings overlooking the old playground. GSJ is the perfect wedding venue for couples looking for a bit of urban chic and something stylish in the city.


King Street Townhouse

Recently opened, this 1872 Italian renaissance building has been completely revitalised as a luxury city centre hotel. The biggest draw for the hotel as a Manchester wedding venue is the 6th floor heated South Terrace that offers spectacular views over the Manchester city skyline. Every Manchester wedding photographer is eager to shoot here as a relatively new venue as the creative options from the terrace alone provide some stunning wedding photos.


Albert Hall

This is a very alternative wedding venue but one with a lot of rich heritage. Reopened in 2012, Albert Hall is a former chapel and Grade II listed building that doesn’t necessarily promote itself as a wedding venue but is licenced for weddings. It is without doubt one of Manchester most magical and intimate concert venues with Vitoria features, vaulted ceilings and a magnificent organ at the center. If you want a wedding that’s going to be unlike any other, this could be your perfect choice.


The Monastery

Gorston Monastery

Gorton Monastery is another hidden gem in Manchester for weddings. An incredibly romantic, peaceful and huge venue, it can house up to 450 guests in the Great Nave. Despite its very Christian name, the venue can host Hindu, Indian and Jewish celebrations as well. The acoustics and natural light at this venue are spectacular and if you’re struggling to find somewhere for a seriously large wedding then look no further because at capacity, this is a truly brilliant wedding venue.


The Castlefield Rooms

The Castlefield Rooms

Another firm favourite of mine throughout the year (I shot Jude & Daz’s wedding here in January 2016), this boutique wedding venue on Castle Street has plenty to offer in terms of creative wedding photos. Situated with views of the Bridgewater canal on one side and traditional Manchester red brick and cobbled street on the other. This venue works all year round with plenty of creative opportunities to choose from. It comfortably takes up to 200 guests and yet again, is very central making it easy to get to for wedding guests and party alike.


Victoria Baths

For a completely alternative and entirely original wedding, Victoria Baths could be a great Manchester wedding venue. It is licenced for alcohol and weddings, and though it may look a little sparse when it’s not set up, it offers some fine Victorian architecture and grandeur. With a bit of work with dressing and planning this could be an extra special and completely creative wedding venue.