Once you know your personal style, choosing a photographer becomes a lot easier, writes Patricia-Ann Young

“Modern-ly traditional” is how Allan at Biggar Picture Photography describes his work

All photographers have their own unique approach, and it gives their photos a distinctive look that sets them apart from the work of other snappers. But they’ll often share a common approach to the art of taking pictures, a style that will help you narrow down what you’re looking for.

We’ve pulled together the most popular wedding photography styles right now for you to choose from – and spoken to some of the Scotland wedding photographers who have spent years perfecting them.

21st-century traditional wedding photography

We’ve all seen those static, staged wedding shots from the ’80s and ’90s sitting on shelves in living rooms as we were growing up. Don’t worry – that style is firmly in the past where it belongs. Traditional photography has been given a sleek, 21st-century twist. “I’m modern-ly traditional,” says Allan Forrester at Biggar Picture Photography. “I like to blend into the background as much as possible to get those natural, candid shots, while still ensuring the traditional portraits are captured with as little fuss as possible.”

Traditional photography is styled and directed by the photographer, but that doesn’t mean it looks stiff. “You get a lot of different types of shots just by taking guidance from your photographer,” Allan explains. “Styled shots can be natural too, though. It’s just about making the interactions between the couple ever so slightly different.”

Biggar Picture Photography captures the must-have portraits with minimal fuss

Moody and magical wedding photography

Sometimes a style is more about the vibe than the poses. Some photographers will lean into a darker aesthetic to bring a sense of drama and romance to your wedding shots. Patricia Garrigós is an expert in this approach – think Taylor Swift’s Folklore era. “I think the current generation of young adults grew up immersed in storytelling – we’ve read the books and watched the films, and when we get married, we want that fairytale dream to come true,” explains the photographer. “A wedding is so full of love and magic.”

Right: Mat and Lisa in Holyrood Park, captured by Patricia Garrigós Photography; left: She was also behind this medieval-style wedding shoot featuring models Cristina and Ion; dress by Nightingale Corsetry and makeup by Emma McLean

Patricia says that while she has her own signature look, it’s really all about the couple. “I will direct them to get the image composition right, but it’s really about what feels natural and comfortable for them,” she tells us. “I’ll sometimes direct them through stories, like they are characters in a movie, to help them understand what mood I’m going for, but ultimately I want them to be themselves.”

Light and airy wedding photos

At the opposite side of the spectrum is the light and airy approach. While dark and moody draws on the deep romance of a wedding day, light and airy taps into the fun and celebratory aspects more. If you want your pictures to have a real sense of joy that you can carry with you forever, this might be the style for you.

Pure love and joy radiate from Dougi McMillan Photography’s images

Dougi McMillan’s photography is filled with this joie de vivre: “I look to get into the spaces where my subjects are completely natural and show their emotions in the moment,” says Dougi of his style. “Even when I shoot a portrait or a group shot, it still captures the essence of the moment, the space in between where people are just themselves. I always want to show the love between my couples, the place where they show pure love and joy.”

There’s happiness even in the rainy shots, thanks to Dougi McMillan Photography

Reportage wedding photography

Gail Photography’s time as a press photographer has influenced her style

Reportage photography, or candid photography, originated in the world of journalism. Hence the name ‘reportage’ – photojournalists reported a big story by taking photos of it as it unfolded. With candid wedding photography, your snapper will try to do the same thing: blend into the background to take pictures of special moments as they happen, rather than directing the couple into romantic shots. “I began as a press photographer, so that really influenced my style,” says Gail McCarthy of Gail Photo­graphy.

Gail Photography has honed her skills capturing off-the-cuff wedding moments

“I actually don’t do that many engagement shoots because I want things to look as natural as possible on the actual wedding day. When you’ve practised before­hand, it can sometimes look a bit contrived. I’d rather speak to the couple for an hour and get to know them.”

Gail appreciates that most of us aren’t used to being in front of a camera: “People aren’t models! And wedding days aren’t perfect, but it’s those imperfect moments we all laugh about. I want my couples to look at their photos and be taken back to a moment on their wedding day that makes them smile.”

Adventurous wedding photographer in Scotland

Rachel Spence Photography has mastered the art of capturing those magical unscripted moments

Think of adventure photography as reportage with an edge. If soft and romantic isn’t for you, get yourself a photographer with whom you can have fun and who will push your boundaries in a way you’ll really enjoy. “I call it ‘winging it with a camera’ – I just want to hang out with my couples and have fun,” says the woman behind Rachel Spence Photography.

“I do a lot of stuff you wouldn’t expect to see in wedding photography. Recently I sneaked into a disused barn with my couple and found a trampoline, and I once found my way into a garden centre too! I’m honest with my couples, I’ll tell them ‘I’m not sure if this is gonna work, but let’s try it’, and occasionally it doesn’t, but a lot of the time, that’s how you get the really special shot.”

Rachel Spence Photography puts fun at the heart of her work

This style isn’t completely left to the fates, though, as Rachel explains: “I recently had a couple who got married at Trades Hall in Glasgow’s Merchant City. I told them, ‘Let’s walk around and see what happens.’ Little did they know, I’d been out exploring area the night before, looking for all the secret places that would make the perfect background for brilliant pictures.”

Scottish landscape wedding photographer

We live in what is famously one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and lots of photographers – not to mention lots of couples – want to bring Scotland into their wedding snaps. Our rugged landscapes and atmospheric cities make for seriously romantic backdrops, and all you have to do is find a photographer who appreciates the country’s natural beauty as much as you do.

Left: Wildling Weddings’ photographer Alysa loves exploring Scotland’s city and countryside; right: She also adores the symbolism of her couples pictured in a forest

One such photographer is Alysa Tarrant at Wildling Weddings – hailing from the USA, she was instantly smitten when she first came to bonnie Scotland: “I’m absolutely in my natural element when I’m shooting in a forest or by a loch,” she smiles.

“It’s amazing to see how many incredible shades of green Scotland has, and I think couples love that too. It’s so nice to have that print on your wall of you and your partner in a lush forest together. It symbolises so much – new growth and a world of possibilities. It’s exciting.”

She admits she’s still constantly astonished that you only have to drive half an hour in Scotland to find vastly different landscapes. “One minute you’ll be on what looks like a tropical beach, then you’ll be in the misty grounds of an old castle,” she marvels. “To me, as an American, I find having so much dramatic change close together is really exciting.

My favourite photos are always the ones that really convey the newlyweds’ enjoyment. I often photograph international couples visiting Edinburgh, and I love taking shots of them seeing views across the city for the first time. They’re just so blown away by it.”

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