Cinematic Wedding Photography: A Complete Guide

Cinematic Wedding Photography: A Complete Guide

When it comes to your wedding, one of the most important aspects to plan is who your photographer will be, and what style of photos you want. The big day will be over in a flash, but the memories and photographs will last forever.

As a result, you’ll want the perfect pictures to commemorate your special day. This can be a hard choice to make, as you only get one shot at it! Nowadays, there are so many style options to choose from.

You may want flash photography so the event feels like it was captured by a disposable camera, or you may want high key black and white professional looking photographs. 

Nowadays, more and more couples are opting for cinematic photographs for a vintage feel, and a nostalgic vibe. So, what is cinematic photography and is it the right choice for your wedding?

What Is Cinematic Wedding Photography?

Cinematic photography is when a picture is stylized and taken so that it emulates stills from a movie. Cinematic photography is best used to tell a story, as it provides the images with more depth and emotion. 

These kinds of images tend to be underexposed and with less lighting, so they don’t look overly professionally done, and tend to feel more natural as they seem like just moments captured in time.

Cinematic wedding photography is the same concept, but it’s just used in wedding photographs!

Many couples don’t like the overly posed, composed, detailed shots that most wedding photographers provide. Instead, they want the images to tell a story, feel more natural and personal. 

Cinematic images can make your wedding pictures seem far more deep and emotional, and really transport you into the moment. As an added bonus, these types of images make you feel like you are the star of a movie, and this is your moment. 

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Cinematic Wedding Aesthetic

Cinematic photography aims to evoke an emotional response in the person viewing the image, which makes this type of photography just perfect for commemorating your special day. These images tend to evoke a particular mood, feeling, or emotion.

Cinematic wedding photography tends to be darker, more vintage looking to take you back in time to the Hollywood films of days gone. 

These images tend to have a few markers such as low or soft lighting, shallow depth of field, or wide aperture to make the subject stand out and the background softer.

Cinematic Wedding Photography Examples To Show Your Photographer

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What you will notice from the majority of these images is the wide angle used, the natural lighting instead of flash lighting or lighting equipment, as daylight and sunlight is used, to create a calming, natural atmosphere.

The foreground takes focus, as the background is blurred so that your eye is drawn to the couple in the image. The results have a vintage vibe that brings serenity, intimacy and feels almost as if you have been taken back in time to the glamor of the old movies. 

In comparison to traditional wedding photography, nothing seems forced or too posed for the camera. These shots seem like little snapshots in time of the couple and the wedding day that are part of a much wider and beautiful story.

Cinematic photography turns your most meaningful moments in your wedding into cinematic masterpieces.

Cinematic Wedding Photography Tips

If you want cinematic wedding photos, then there are a few tips for your chosen photographer to ensure the images turn out great. 

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First up is lighting. It is so important to have natural lighting in your wedding images, as this is much clearer, softer, and dynamic.

Window lighting is perfect for getting ready images, so standing in front of a window can cast a soft, natural and flattering light upon the couple.

Low lighting is also the key here, particularly for shots of the bride. As most brides opt for white, ivory or cream dresses, this can really stand out in the image and become the focal point, while the rest blurs into the background. 

If the images are being taken outdoors, then it is important to have beautiful natural contrasts within the subject matter and the environment.

For instance, if taking pictures in the woods or a grassy field, it’s a good idea to use golden hour as the sun sets to cast a glow on the bride and groom, which will make them pop and stand out from the cool hues of the grassy or forested setting. 

One of the cornerstones of cinema is the use of chiaroscuro- playing with light for a dramatic look. Using contrasting light in the images can really draw attention and add a deepness to your images.

Shadows can also pinpoint what you want to be seen in the image, leaving the rest to melt away into the darkness. This is great for close up shots of wedding details such as the dress, shoes, table decorations and flowers. 

Another important aspect is candidity. It’s important that the images seem real, not posed, and seem to capture the intimate moments.

As the happy couple, just be yourself and let the photographer photograph you in your natural state and surroundings. The images will feel far more real, cinematic, and emotive. 

In post production, you can ask your photographer to use grainy, nostalgic tones to provoke emotion and enhance the final images. Alternatively, you can ask for some images to be black and white for that timeless, old Hollywood movie style. 

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To summarize, cinematic wedding photography is all about capturing the small moments and transforming them into tender, visual masterpieces that tell a narrative story. The images become iconic in their own right, are sophisticated and timeless. 

Cinematic wedding photography is all about the storytelling of how the day played out. The focus is on the intimate, and human connection rather than the wedding itself.

The purpose is to capture the raw moments, and have candid photos rather than posed, forced images. 

This is why cinematic wedding photography may be just right for you, as you will have stunning snapshots of your most special day. 

If this sounds exactly like what you want, then hire a cinematic wedding photographer, or show your chosen photographer some of the inspirational images from this guide, so that you can replicate this beautiful wedding photo style.

Lisa Plaitt