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Samui Wedding Photography: Styles, Pros, and Cons Explained

Date of publication: 06 Jun 2023 | Updated: 07 Jun 2023

Photos at a wedding hold immense significance. They capture the essence of your special day, preserving precious moments that you'll cherish for a lifetime. As a professional wedding photographer based on Koh Samui, I understand the importance of selecting the perfect style to immortalize your memories. Whether it's the heartfelt laughter, joyful tears, lively dance moves, or the elegance of your loved ones and the enchanting venue, each element deserves to be captured authentically. Moreover, these photographs allow you to share the magic of your wedding day with those unable to attend. Allow me to guide you through the various photography styles, empowering you to make an informed choice that resonates with your unique vision.

The importance of choosing the right photography style to capture your day

Picking the right photography style for your wedding is like choosing the right frame for a painting. It can really influence how your wedding memories look and feel. The style can express your personality, capture the spirit of your relationship, and even highlight the vibe of your wedding day. That's why understanding the different photography styles and choosing the one that best fits you is so important.

In this article, we're going to take a deep dive into the world of wedding photography styles. We'll explore what different styles look like, their pros and cons, and how they can shape the way your wedding is remembered. My goal is to give you all the information you need to make an informed decision when choosing a photographer for your special day. We want to help you find a style that resonates with you, so your wedding photos can be a true reflection of your personality and the wonderful moments you'll experience. Let's get started!

Wedding Photography Styles

Before we dive into the detailed analysis of each style, let's start with an overview. Each wedding photography style comes with its unique allure, elements, and potential considerations. Here, I've put together a table that provides a brief snapshot of each style, highlighting their pros and cons. Consider this as your quick reference guide that will set the stage for our deeper exploration. It's designed to help you draw initial comparisons and get a sense of what might resonate with your wedding day vision. With this overview in mind, we'll proceed to dissect each style more thoroughly.

Style Pros Cons
Traditional Ensures all key moments and people are captured. Great for formal weddings. Can be viewed as rigid or lacking spontaneity. Limited creativity.
Authentic, emotional images. Captures unscripted moments. May miss certain people or poses if not planned. Less control over lighting and backgrounds.
Fine Art Unique, visually stunning photos. High aesthetic value. Can take more time for each shot. Might miss candid moments.
Editorial Professional and glamorous photos. Ideal for a high-fashion feel. Requires more time and planning. May feel too posed or less personal.
Illustrative Captures both posed and spontaneous moments. Great for outdoor weddings. Depends heavily on the location. Might need more direction from the photographer.
Creative and fun photos. Allows for experimentation. Might not cover all traditional aspects. Can be viewed as too trendy or not timeless.
Samui Wedding Photography: Styles, Pros, and Cons Explained. photographer Dimas Frolov photo 1867
Photo by Samui Photographer - Dimas Frolov

Traditional Wedding Photography

This style is classic and timeless, the kind most people are familiar with. The photographer has a checklist of shots to ensure that all the key moments and groupings are captured. These typically include posed shots of the bridal party, family, and couple.


  1. Controlled Outcome: The photographer has a checklist of shots to capture. This ensures that all key moments and people are photographed.
  2. Less Risk: There's less chance of missing important moments or people, as everything is planned out in advance.
  3. Formality: This style fits well with a traditional, formal wedding where structured images are appreciated. It's a time-tested approach that many families expect.
  4. Easily Organized: It's straightforward to arrange people for group photos and poses, which can save time on the day.


  1. Less Spontaneity: Traditional wedding photography can be viewed as rigid or lacking in spontaneity, which might not capture the energy or candid moments of the day.
  2. Limited Creativity: As the shots are mostly posed and follow a set checklist, there's limited scope for creative, unique, or unexpected shots.
  3. Time-Consuming: Organizing and posing for photos can be time-consuming and may take away from the enjoyment of the day.
  4. May Feel Staged: Some people find that traditional photography feels too posed or artificial, and doesn't capture the genuine emotions of the day.

Photojournalism or Documentary Wedding Photography

Samui Wedding Photography: Styles, Pros, and Cons Explained. photographer Dimas Frolov photo 1865
Photo by Samui Photographer - Dimas Frolov

In this style, the photographer focuses on candid or 'in the moment' shots rather than staged ones. The goal is to tell the story of the day through images, capturing genuine emotions and actions as they unfold.


  1. Authenticity: This style captures genuine emotions and unscripted moments, providing a true-to-life documentation of the wedding day.
  2. Storytelling: Photojournalistic images often tell a story, capturing the unfolding of events and emotions throughout the day.
  3. Less Intrusive: The photographer typically blends into the background and doesn't interrupt the flow of the day, which can create a more relaxed atmosphere.
  4. Unique Moments: This style can capture unique, spontaneous moments that might not occur in more posed photography sessions.


  1. Less Control: There's less control over the outcome of the images, as they are spontaneous and unplanned. Certain desired shots or people may be missed.
  2. Variable Results: The final images will heavily depend on the happenings of the day. If the wedding is more subdued, the photos may reflect that.
  3. Lighting and Background: There's less control over lighting and backgrounds in candid shots, which could affect the quality of some images.
  4. No Guarantee of Specific Shots: If you have specific poses or groupings in mind, these might not be captured unless you specifically request them, as the emphasis is on candid shots.

Fine Art Wedding Photography

Samui Wedding Photography: Styles, Pros, and Cons Explained. photographer Dimas Frolov photo 1866
Photo by Samui Photographer - Dimas Frolov

These photographers treat each shot as a piece of art. They carefully consider the composition, lighting, and background of every picture. This style can result in creative and visually stunning photos.


  1. Artistic Vision: This style can produce unique, visually stunning photos that stand out, as each shot is carefully composed and treated like a piece of art.
  2. High Aesthetic Value: Photographs often have a beautiful, dreamy quality, with careful consideration of lighting, background, and composition.
  3. Personalized Images: Photographers usually work closely with the couple to understand their vision and reflect it in the images, making the photos more personal and unique.
  4. Versatility: This style can be combined with other styles (like photojournalism) to capture both planned, artistic shots and spontaneous moments.


  1. Time-Consuming: Setting up and taking each shot can take more time, which could slow down the day's schedule.
  2. Potential Missed Moments: As the focus is on creating individual pieces of art, there's a risk of missing spontaneous, candid moments.
  3. Dependent on Photographer's Artistic Vision: If the photographer's vision doesn't align with the couple's, the photos might not meet the couple's expectations.
  4. Cost: Fine Art photographers may charge more due to the level of skill, time and post-processing involved in this style.

Editorial Wedding Photography

Samui Wedding Photography: Styles, Pros, and Cons Explained. photographer Dimas Frolov photo 1868
Photo by Samui Photographer - Dimas Frolov

This style is inspired by fashion and lifestyle magazines. Photographers stage scenes and direct the bridal party to create polished, sophisticated images. These shoots are often longer and may require more planning.


  1. Glamorous and Sophisticated: Photos taken in this style tend to have a professional and polished look, similar to images seen in high-fashion or lifestyle magazines.
  2. Art Direction: The photographer provides a high level of guidance, ensuring that every element – from the poses to the lighting and backdrop – is perfect.
  3. Highly Stylized Images: The focus on staging and directing can result in unique, personalized shots that reflect the couple's style and the wedding's theme.
  4. Stunning Portraits: This style is particularly good for producing stunning bridal and couple portraits that can be the centerpiece of a wedding album.


  1. Time and Planning: An editorial shoot requires a significant amount of time and planning, which might not be ideal for a couple who wants to enjoy their day without too many interruptions.
  2. May Feel Less Personal: Some couples might find the editorial style too posed or impersonal, as it can lack the candid, spontaneous moments captured by more reportage styles.
  3. Requires Confidence: This style often involves striking poses and working with the camera, which might not feel comfortable for everyone.
  4. Dependent on Venue and Decor: Editorial-style photos often rely heavily on a venue's aesthetic appeal and the decor, which could be a constraint if these elements aren't perfectly aligned with the desired look.

Illustrative Wedding Photography

Samui Wedding Photography: Styles, Pros, and Cons Explained. photographer Dimas Frolov photo 1870
Photo by Samui Photographer - Dimas Frolov

This is a blend of traditional and photojournalistic styles. The photographer provides some direction, but also captures spontaneous moments. The emphasis is on the setting and landscape, making it a good choice for scenic outdoor weddings.


  1. Best of Both Worlds: Illustrative photography combines elements of both traditional and photojournalistic styles, capturing both posed and spontaneous moments.
  2. Emphasizes Scenery: This style makes the most of the wedding setting, incorporating landscapes and venues into the shots to create beautiful backdrops for the couple and guests.
  3. Guided but Natural: While the photographer provides some direction, they also encourage natural interactions, resulting in images that are both aesthetically pleasing and emotionally authentic.
  4. Ideal for Pre-Wedding Shoots: Given its focus on landscapes and environments, this style is often used for engagement or pre-wedding shoots.


  1. Dependent on Location: If the wedding location doesn't have a scenic backdrop, it might be challenging to execute this style effectively.
  2. Requires Good Lighting: This style often relies heavily on natural light to highlight both the subjects and the scenery, which can be unpredictable or limited depending on the time and weather.
  3. Time Management: Arranging the couple and bridal party within a landscape and ensuring the perfect shot can be time-consuming.
  4. Need for Direction: While some spontaneous moments are captured, there's also a need for direction from the photographer. Some couples might not be comfortable with this balance.

Contemporary or Modern Wedding Photography

Samui Wedding Photography: Styles, Pros, and Cons Explained. photographer Dimas Frolov photo 1871
Photo by Samui Photographer - Dimas Frolov

This style is less formal and more creative than traditional wedding photography. It's characterized by unconventional poses and angles, with a focus on creating fun, innovative shots.


  1. Creative Freedom: This style allows for lots of creativity and experimentation, leading to unique, personal photos that capture the couple's personality and the mood of the day.
  2. Flexible and Adaptable: Contemporary photographers can adjust their style to suit the venue, the weather, the couple, and other factors, resulting in a diverse collection of images.
  3. Trendy Shots: This style often includes trendy ideas and unconventional poses or angles, which can make the photos feel fresh and modern.
  4. Fun and Lighthearted: With less focus on traditional poses, this style often produces fun, lighthearted images that capture joyful moments.


  1. Trends Can Date: What's trendy now may not be in the future. Photos could seem outdated or less classic over time.
  2. Risk of Missed Traditional Shots: With the focus on creativity and unconventional shots, some traditional or expected photos might be overlooked.
  3. Variable Results: Results can depend heavily on the skill and creativity of the specific photographer, as well as the willingness of the couple to try non-traditional poses or concepts.
  4. May Not Appeal to Everyone: Some family members or guests may prefer more traditional poses and group shots, which might not be the focus of a contemporary photographer.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Wedding Photography Style

Choosing the right wedding photography style is more than just liking the pictures you see in a photographer's portfolio. Here are a few important factors you should consider.

  • Matching the photography style with your wedding theme. Every wedding has a unique feel or theme. Are you going for a casual beach wedding or a formal black-tie event? A rustic country setting or a sleek urban vibe? The photography style should complement the theme to capture the essence of your day.
  • Considering the venue and location. The venue of your wedding can greatly influence your photography style choice. An outdoor wedding might be suited to a more natural, light-filled style while an indoor, low-light venue might require a photographer skilled in more dramatic, artificially lit styles.
  • Assessing your personal preferences and comfort. It's your day and your photos should reflect your taste. Do you prefer candid shots or posed pictures? Do you love the elegance of black and white, or do you want your photos bursting with color? Do you prefer a classic, timeless look or a trendy, modern vibe? Understanding what you like will guide your choice.
  • Considering the photography style's impact on the final wedding album. Think about how you want to look back on your wedding day. Some styles might make for a fun album, while others may provide a more polished, magazine-like quality. Your preference could influence the photography style you choose.

Remember, your wedding day is about celebrating your love story. Choosing the right photography style will help capture this celebration in a way that resonates with you.

Tips to Identify a Photographer’s Style

Finding the right wedding photographer is a crucial part of planning your special day. Here are some useful tips to identify a photographer's style:

  • Reviewing their portfolio: A photographer's portfolio is the best place to start. It gives you a feel for their work, what they excel in, and their photography style. Look for consistency in their shots – the lighting, the angles, the type of moments they capture – these all hint at their style.
  • Looking at consistency in their work: A professional photographer should have a clear, consistent style. You don't want a mix of different styles in your wedding album. If you notice that the style varies a lot across their portfolio, it might indicate that they're still honing their craft or that they don't have a clear signature style.
  • Asking about their influences and inspiration: Photographers, like all artists, are influenced by different things – it could be a famous photographer, a particular era, a genre of film or art. Asking about what influences their work can give you more insight into their style.
  • Requesting for complete wedding galleries instead of highlights: Photographers often post the best pictures from each wedding on their websites, but asking to see full galleries of a couple of weddings can give you a better idea of what to expect. This allows you to see how they capture all aspects of the wedding, not just the stand-out moments.
  • Discussing your preferences and seeing if they can adapt: While it's important that a photographer has a defined style, they should also be flexible enough to accommodate your needs and preferences. Good communication is key here. Discuss your vision with them to see if they can adapt their style to match it.

By using these tips, you'll be able to identify a photographer’s style and see if it aligns with what you envision for your wedding day.

Misconceptions about Photography Styles

There are several misconceptions about photography styles that can complicate your decision when choosing a photographer for your wedding. Let's set the record straight on a few of them:

  • All photography styles are the same: This couldn't be further from the truth. Each style has its own unique features, techniques, and aesthetics. For example, photojournalistic photography captures candid, spontaneous moments, while traditional photography focuses on classic, posed shots.
  • A photographer can shoot any style: Just as every artist has a particular style, so does a photographer. It's important to understand that photographers often specialize in certain styles, and it might be difficult for them to switch to a style they're not accustomed to.
  • The more styles a photographer offers, the better: It might seem like a benefit if a photographer offers a wide range of styles. However, it could also mean they don't have a specialized skill set. It's usually better to find a photographer who excels in the style you prefer for your wedding.
  • Photography style doesn't matter, only a good camera does: The skill and artistry of the photographer are what truly matter. A good camera doesn't guarantee great photos; it's how the photographer uses it, their understanding of light, composition, and moments that create memorable photos.
  • Editing can fix everything: Some people believe that with the right editing, any picture can be transformed to fit any style. While editing is a powerful tool, it can't completely change the style or correct all errors. The original photograph must be well-composed, well-lit, and well-timed.

Understanding these misconceptions can help you make an informed decision when selecting the right photographer and photography style for your wedding. Remember, it's all about finding a style that speaks to you and a photographer who can bring that style to life.


Choosing the right wedding photography style is a key step in capturing your special day just as you've always imagined. It's about more than just nice photos; it's about telling your unique love story, reflecting your personality, and preserving the emotions and moments that make your wedding day extraordinary. We hope that by understanding the different styles of photography and considering factors such as your wedding theme, venue, personal preference, and the photographer's style, you'll be able to make a decision that will result in a wedding album you'll cherish for a lifetime. Remember, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and happy with your choice. Happy planning, and may your wedding day be as magical as the memories you'll keep!

About the Author

Portrait photographer based on Samui, Thailand.
Originally from Ukraine, he has over 15 years of photography experience taking pictures around Europe and Asia. Multi-Award winner and author of many articles about photography.

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