I recently had a meeting with potential clients and they asked me “what is fine art wedding photography?” It’s a term that a lot of photographers use to describe their style and/or their work, but what does it really mean?
To be honest, I always thought fine art wedding photography was just a pretentious term that some photographer’s used to make themselves appear more high-end than other photographers. It sounds fancy and high-end, doesn’t it?? According to Google, fine art wedding photography is a pretty broad term with no real industry standard or definition. From what I understand, fine art wedding photography is a term that refers to photography where the images are created to be enjoyed as a visual art. So… I think that most wedding photographers today fall under the umbrella of fine art wedding photographers! Yes, there are pure photojournalists out there who stay true to that art form – but more often than not, wedding photography has started to lean towards fine art and most photographers could be considered fine art wedding photographers.
A common misconception is that fine art wedding photography is exclusive to film photographers. This isn’t true. But a LOT of film photographers use the term to describe their style and/or work. As I mentioned before, I’d venture to say that most wedding photographers today are fine art wedding photographers – whether they shoot film or digital – because they are crafting a visual story for their clients versus sticking to strict photojournalism. A lot of wedding photographers – me included – are styling details, directing clients, art directing throughout the day… all in an effort to create a cohesive and visually appealing story for clients to cherish forever.
Fine art photography is a term that, I think, could be interchanged with editorial wedding photography. It’s a style of wedding photography where the photographer is crafting a story through their lens with artistic images. Instead of being a fly on the wall, like a true photojournalist, fine art wedding photographers are injecting themselves into the day by carefully choosing locations, lighting, composition, styling, and posing in an effort to create an artistic story of the wedding day. So, by that definition, I am a fine art wedding photographer! And many other photographers are too… whether they use that term to define their style or not.
So my conclusion? Fine art wedding photography is just a term that some photographers use to make themselves seem fancy because pretty much everyone falls under this umbrella. I prefer to use the term “editorial” and will continue to do so, because I am NOT fancy haha!! Photographers who use the term to describe themselves or their work aren’t necessarily any “better” than someone who doesn’t use that word to describe their work or style. At the end of the day, it’s really just a marketing term. I hope this is helpful in demystifying what, exactly, fine art wedding photography is!