Editorial and Documentary Wedding Photography

What’s the difference and which one is right for me?

Peterloon Estate

When searching for a wedding photographer, the first thing you are going to start noticing are the terms: “Documentary” and “Editorial.” As a person that is not a professional photographer, you are probably wondering “What in the world does Editorial Photography and Documentary Photography even mean and how do I decide which one I need for my wedding?” It is okay to feel overwhelmed by the amount of options when searching for the perfect wedding photographer, and that’s okay. As Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland Wedding Photographers of over 12 years, we are here to give you the low down on everything you need to know about both styles of photography so that you make the best decision for YOU.

Castello di Ristonchi

Let’s begin…

Your wedding day is one of the most significant moments in your life, filled with love, emotion, and cherished memories. When it comes to preserving these moments, choosing the right photographer is crucial. Among the myriad of photography styles available, two popular options stand out: Documentary and Editorial style photography. Understanding the nuances between these styles can help you determine which best suits your vision for capturing your special day.

Documentary Wedding Photography:

Documentary style photography, also known as photojournalistic or candid photography, focuses on capturing authentic moments as they unfold naturally. This approach aims to tell the story of your wedding day in a genuine and unobtrusive manner. Photographers employing this style blend into the background, observing and documenting the day’s events without directing or interrupting the flow of the ceremony and celebrations.

In documentary style wedding photography, expect candid shots that reflect the raw emotions, interactions, and atmosphere of the day. These images often include spontaneous laughter, tears of joy, and heartfelt embraces, providing a candid and unfiltered portrayal of your wedding experience. From the nervous excitement of getting ready to the emotional exchange of vows and the joyous celebration that follows, every moment is captured as it happens.

Lytle Park Hotel

Editorial Wedding Photography:

On the other hand, editorial wedding photography draws inspiration from the pages of high-fashion magazines and editorial spreads. This approach involves more direction and styling from the photographer, with an emphasis on creating visually striking and aesthetically pleasing images. Editorial style photographers often incorporate creative lighting, composition, and posing techniques to produce images that are artistic, dramatic, and editorial-worthy.

Editorial style wedding photography typically involves more involvement from the photographer in terms of directing poses, arranging compositions, and orchestrating scenes. Expect images that are meticulously curated, with careful attention to detail and styling. From stunning portraits against picturesque backdrops to carefully composed group shots, every image is crafted to exude elegance, sophistication, and editorial flair.

Let’s look at the differences in real images

Destination Wedding

The first image on the left hand side is a perfect example of an editorial image. The model is purposefully sitting on the stair at the direction of the photographer. The model is also posing with her left hand under her chin and right hand resting on her legs (which isn’t something that we do everyday). You can also see that her bouquet is perfectly placed on the step next to her.

In contrast, the second image right below it is a great depiction of a Documentary style shot. Nothing in this image was staged by the photographer. What happened instead was that the photographer noticed the model standing and holding her shoes (because her feet hurt) and creatively captured that specific moment as it took place.

Cincinnati Wedding Photographer

Choosing the Right Style for Your Wedding:

When searching for a wedding photographer, it’s essential to consider which style resonates with your personal preferences and vision for your wedding day. Both documentary and editorial styles offer unique advantages, and the decision ultimately boils down to your individual tastes and priorities.

If you prioritize authenticity, spontaneity, and a narrative-driven approach, documentary style photography may be the perfect fit for you. This style excels at capturing the genuine moments, emotions, and interactions that make your wedding day truly special. With documentary style photography, you can relive the authentic essence of your wedding day for years to come.

Conversely, if you envision your wedding album as a collection of editorial-worthy images that showcase your love story in a visually stunning and editorial-inspired manner, editorial style photography may be more suitable. This style allows for more creative direction and styling, resulting in images that are not only beautiful but also reflect your unique style and personality.

Are there photographers that do both?

Yes! Many photographers understand the importance of each style of photography. With weddings, it is sometimes necessary to pose the couple and bridal party. But other moments should be left untouched and captured as they truly happen. There are many photographers that take this into consideration and focus on both styles of photography during your big day; ourselves included.

Want more photography advice? Follow us on instagram at @kindredlightstudios and check out our work on kindredlightstudios.com. See you there!

Pinecroft Mansion


We began our photography journey when we were 16 years old and have been documenting love stories ever since.

With over 15 years of photography experience and over 11 in the wedding industry, what sets us apart is our commitment to making you feel completely at ease in front of the camera. Whether you're seeking a photographer who seamlessly blends into the background, alleviates any nervousness, or brings a sense of fun to your wedding planning journey, we are dedicated to providing a personalized and unique photography experience.

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