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.