My all-time favorite photograph isn’t just one photograph at all; it is the curated, culled collection that makes up nearly every single issue of Martha Stewart Wedding. Yes, the OG Style Me Pretty, the first Pinterest (which was created by literally clipping and push-pinning pictures from the glossy pages). I loved the staging, the posing, the colors–some so rich and vibrant, others so classically muted. No matter what, they were so bright, so full of live with their light nature.
This has become the bulk of my style, which I like to say is light and airy. This is not everyone’s style, of course. Look up Annie Leibovitz and Diane Arbus and it is clear that dark, deliberate, intense images have their own sense of beauty, sense of purpose.
So what does that mean?
This set of opposites deals more with the photographer’s style more than anything. Some photographers shoot and edit to achieve bright images with a pop, others look to make their work with darker hues and saturated colors. Like so many things in this industry, it really comes down to personal preference.
How can you tell which is you?How do you know what (or who) to look for when picking a photographer? Here’s a few hints…but first, look at these two examples:
These are two images from the same wedding gallery, with one being light and airy, while the other is more dark and moody
If you are drawn to brightness and flashes of color, you might be a light and airy person. Photography for you should highlight the joy of moment, the emotions as they were. You appreciate how everything is so light and the images is more equally illuminated. Darker images may seem more dingy or heavy to you, and you would rather the images look so light that they might just float away.
However, if you like drama, you might be more in tune with dark and moody. Hold on now, we’re not talking THAT drama…we’re not Mean Girls here. Drama in a photography case is purposeful contrasting and highlights/shadows; while light and airy photos are as such, dark and moody photos have more specific light to highlight certain parts while other elements of the image are in the deeper shadows. If you like more mood in your poses and gestures (such as that as Queen Annie Leibowitz), dark and moody might just be your style.
Now, this is not to say that all light and airy photos are all smiles and dark and moody are panned, blank expressions; this could not be further from the truth. You will find tons of dark and moody photographers who capture smiles and lots of light and airy photographers that enjoy a good model face. In my definition of these two dichotomies, it simply comes down to their play with light and their use of it for creating a specific feel.
Still (or even more) confused? Pick up a magazine, and flip through it. See what ads draw your attention. Are the bright and colorful, or are the darker and more saturated in their style? That will be an indicator of your photography preference (this is how I knew I had to go for light and airy–that is what naturally draws me in, so naturally I shoot that way).
How you feel is how you want your photographs to look. When choosing a photographer, think about, but also feel about it, too–think about what feelings are evoked when you view their work, as those are the feelings desired when you look at your own photographs.