How Wedding Photography Started: A Brief History of Wedding Photography

How Wedding Photography Started: A Brief History of Wedding Photography
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Wedding photography has been around since photography began. A wedding is a special event that everybody involved would want to immortalize in images, so it is quite natural that photography is always involved when there is a wedding. Here is a brief history of wedding photography that takes a look at how it began and how it has developed throughout the decades.

Before Photography

The practice of taking photos of newlyweds and their families existed way before the development of cameras. Newly wed couples and their family members posed for long periods of time as artists painted them for posterity. Capturing this special moment and special day became more efficient for artists and more comfortable for the newlyweds and their family members.

The Early Years

As photography was introduced in the 1800s, it was almost immediately used in capturing images of newlyweds and their family members. However, even as the format of this image capture has changed from paintings to photographs, the process of posing for wedding photos has almost stayed the same. People still needed to hold a pose for a time, although it was shorter when a painting was being done, since the technology of photography was still bulky and cumbersome. A lot of set up was needed and the process was required to be done in studios since all the equipment was there. It took several more years before the technology of photography was improved with the help of paper, glass plates and color. Wedding photography was still largely done in studios since the equipment was still bulky.

After the War

After the World War, soldiers started to return to their loved ones, hence an influx in marriages. The trend continued up to the 1950’s when things started to really pick up when the new social revolution began. Wedding photography started to move out from the studios into the wedding event locations themselves, and from this, a more informal style of taking wedding photos emerged. Suddenly, long-time professional wedding photographers were not the only ones taking wedding photos. Beginner photographers who did not have a lot of experience in studios found themselves taking wedding photos that were less formal than the traditional wedding photos.

The Evolution of Technology

As cameras became smaller and the process of taking photographs became easier thanks to the advancement in film and processing technologies, wedding photography turned from being a studio-only task into a full-blown industry. The lighting in photography studios that were needed to take clear and beautiful portraits of couples and their family members became easier to emulate in the field. The uncomfortable poses that needed to be held for long periods of time was shortened, giving the photographers more time to take more photos. The events happening during the wedding itself became a part of the wedding documentation, thanks to smaller and faster cameras. The rise of photojournalism also contributed to the documentation of weddings in a less formal way. Influenced by the photojournalism style of press photographers who took less formal photos of celebrities and politicians, wedding photographers went on a similar route as they started to take candid moments during wedding events.

Going Digital

This brief history of wedding photography culminates with the advent of digital photography. With more sophisticated equipment that is smaller, faster and more affordable than ever before, wedding photographers can now take more photos and distribute them more efficiently. Even those who are not professional wedding photographers can find it easy to get into the industry with the right equipment and the right sense of style and technique.


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