Photography is For People, Not For Reels and Likes

Do you have idea how you want your wedding photography to look?

Have you been inspired by wedding styled shoots seen on Instagram or TikTok?

What do you want from your wedding images?

Your wedding day is all about you, capturing a milestone marking day. With so many styled shoots on social media, it is easy to be inspired, and to forget the reason for your day; the two of you.

Your Wedding Isn’t a Styled Shoot

Styled wedding photography involves showcasing the work of wedding suppliers in a location chosen by the person or people organising the shoot. It could be to showcase a venue which fits in with the theme of the shoot.

Styled wedding shoots are selling the services of those involved, they aren’t reality, they are a marketing opportunity for all involved, including the models in the shoot. Some are real couples; some are models looking to add to their image portfolios. Many models aren’t portraying reality, they portray an illusion. This is commonly seen in shoots with two female models giving the illusion they are a genuine couple.

Models know how to pose, they are used to posing in a certain position, looking a certain way, or having to repeat poses as many of the same shots are taken. They are confident in front of a camera which many people aren’t. Models know how to work the camera and won’t be as body image conscious as lots of people can be. They can be chosen for their look, height, style, tattoos, hair colour or body shape, to fit in with the theme and clothing for a styled shoot.

Models or those in styled photoshoots may not know the person behind the camera. It is essential to gel with your wedding photographer and to find one who will shoot your day as you want it to be, not how good it will look on their social media.

Styled shoots can take hours to set up with uses of lights required to make sure the shots are lit to any required specifications. On the day of your wedding, photographers have time, lighting, and location constraints to work around. On a wedding day there are time limitations with food being served and other things taking place and a lot of people present.

Outdoor shots can be dependent on the weather more than a styled shoot. It’s not always possible to get other shots while waiting for rain to stop, wind to drop or bright sunset to stop casting it’s light and shadows.

Creating shots which look like those seen in styled shoots isn’t always achievable. Photographers can only work with what natural and available lighting, scenery, weather, and venue structure is available to us during each wedding.

Your wedding day is about marking and celebrating the next stage in your relationship, that is the purpose of a wedding day. Wedding photography has more restrictions than photographing a styled shoot. A photographer’s purpose is to capture what we see on the day of a wedding, with some scene creation.

Journalistic Wedding Photography

Capturing what we see without being too obtrusive to those celebrating the occasion or event is called journalistic photography. Many still want posed shots and family line ups with other journalistic, natural shots. Some of the best shots I have taken as a wedding and events photographer, have been taken without those in them posing. Natural smiles, real laughter, the ’love sparkle’ look in eyes; moments of reality which can’t be recreated.

Posed shots capture a created image, journalistic shots portray a natural moment.


Social Media Weddings

Social media is full of weddings, and we are all inspired by what we see. Social media isn’t always a truthful documentation of reality. Reels and videos are made for likes, follows, popularity, awareness, current trends, influences, brand awareness and sales. Social media moves fast and what is trending today may not be in a few weeks’ time.

Previous social media wedding trends included:
Dinosaurs running after a Bride and Groom
Newlyweds holding smoke bombs
Photoshopped imagery
Pumpkin heads for Halloween weddings
Holding up Instagram frame boards
Puppies and kittens held as cute accessories
Phone images with the couple in it blurred behind the phone

Weddings follow trends, do you remember outdated trends for wedding photography including a Bride photographed through a keyhole, images of the couple on a champagne glass cake mash images and ‘trash the dress’?

Some trends no longer chosen by many wedding couples. Being influenced by trends or a styled shoot may result in a change of mind as your day gets nearer and new trends appear.

Social media weddings are current trends, trends to follow others or to get followers and likes. With likes, follows and social media popularity comes criticism and negative opinions. Social media has positives and negatives. Having your wedding photography shared may not be as positive an experience as you hoped it would be.

Finding the Right Wedding Photographer is Important

Finding the right wedding photographer to shoot your wedding or event is important. Good photographers have unique styles, others copy the styles seen on social media. As an experienced wedding and events photographer, I would advise you to check out all prospective photographers websites rather than just their social media accounts.

Social media reaches a lot of people and with lots of followers, content posted may differ from their website content. Check out their galleries on their websites as usually just a few images from a wedding or a shoot will appear on social media. See if their style matches your requirements. Can you visit them in person, meet them on video call or see them at a wedding fair?

Photography is For People, Not For Reels and Likes

If you have been inspired by a styled shoot, a reel or content you have seen on social media, adding your personal touches will make it unique to you. Your wedding day and all that happens should be a representation of you as a couple, with both of your individual personalities to be seen.

Your wedding photography should be about you, your day, and your relationship. Once the cake has been eaten, the clothing is hanging in your wardrobe, your wedding gifts have been unwrapped and are in use, and any flowers from the day have died, all you have are your personal memories and visual ones. Your images and videos will be reminders of your day.

Reels are fun to watch and reach a lot of people, do you want to share your personal day of celebration with potentially millions of strangers commenting both positive and negative opinions on your post? ‘You do you’ and have the day you want, not a day staged for social media audiences.

Words and images by me, Rob Farrell a dark alternative photographer, capturing images of darkly alternative weddings and lifestyle photography.