A brief history of the wedding photograph

The story of wedding photography begins in the 1840s. Photography was out of reach for most people and wasn’t used in a commercial sense due to the limitations of cost and access. However, the idea of creating lasting wedding memories had been born but which remained studio based for more than one hundred years.

Imagine having no paper photos, no albums and certainly no digital prints? All that was available was a very small copper sheet with a daguerreotype portrait. Technology in photography really grew at a fast pace from the mid-20th century onwards. For your very own Bournemouth Wedding Photographer, contact http://www.nickrutterphotography.co.uk/

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Before the modern age of photography, photographers had to use tin, copper or glass plates. Colour photography only became reliable from the 1950s onwards. The colours would fade or shift after only a short space of time, so black and white pictures continued to be used. Techniques in wedding photography didn’t really experience any changes until after the Second World War.

There was a joyous wedding boom after the end of the Second World War. This created the ideal environment for making photography a commercial venture at last. New cameras were emerging that used a portable roll of film. Camera owners would arrive at weddings and take photographs that they would then try to sell to the bride and groom. Many were previously military photographers, but a lot were amateurs who were fascinated by the newly available portable cameras.

The images weren’t high quality, but the number of speculative photographers forced studio-based photographers out to work on location. This proved tricky though, as the studio equipment they tried to take with them was heavy and bulky. Film was still prohibitively expensive, however, so it was impossible to document a whole wedding day.

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A small number of very posed location or studio wedding photos was the only real option available until well into the 1970s. A new trend emerged during the 1970s called photojournalism or documentary-style shooting which involved taking pictures of the wedding day as it unfolded and not just posed pictures at the start or end of the ceremony.

This type of photography takes real skill but has often been misinterpreted as being possible by any amateur with a 35mm camera. Unfortunately, this led to an influx of poor amateur photographers offering their services at weekend weddings without the skill to take great shots.

This style is no longer as fashionable as it once was, with couples preferring the elegant classic ‘magazine’ style shots for their wedding day. Once digital photography arrived on the scene, even more new creative opportunities opened up. Now, an unlimited number of images can be taken, truly documenting the whole experience. Whilst many photographers still choose to work with traditional film, the future is clearly in the hands of the countless design opportunities available with digital photography.

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