A Guide to Wedding Photography Terminology

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Sepia Tone Wedding PhotoAlmost every couple hires a professional wedding photographer to capture their wedding on film, and usually this is one of the decisions you spend the most time deliberating. There are hundreds of wedding photographers in any given area in the United States, so trying to find the one that is the most qualified can be a very time consuming process. On top of that, since most couples don’t shop for a wedding photographer every day, there is a whole slew of new vocabulary words that you’ll need to learn in order to understand what type of options a particular artist is offering. With so many options and specific terminology that you’ll need to learn, the best thing you can do is educate yourself before you start shopping for and interviewing prospective wedding photographers. To help you make sense of it all, we have created a guide to wedding photography terminology that should help you on your mission.

Standard Wedding Photography Terminology

  • Color-Processed Color: This is a technique used when editing photos that results in the photo having colors that are very saturated in appearance. When a photograph has been color-processed, it is immediately noticeable and can add a very dramatic effect to certain photos; particularly outdoor shots. This effect should only be used on a select few of your photos.
  • Hand-Tinted: Though originally done with film, this is a vintage technique that is used to alter black and white photos by coloring certain portions by hand using a wash. This is a popular technique still today, but now it is usually it is done using digital photo editing software.
  • Sepia Tone: At first glance, many people see sepia tone photos as black and white, but it is actually a reddish brown color instead. This effect will give your wedding photos an antique appearance, and it should only be used a few photos that are planned in advance.
  • Fish Eye Lens: This is a lens that the photographer will place on their camera to create a specific effect that is similar to looking through the “peek hole” on your door. Essentially, it is a wide-angle lens that magnifies the center to give a rounded look to the edges of the picture. This should only be used for a few of your wedding photos, but it works very well if you are in a tight space.
  • Proofs: This is the term used for all of the photos that were captured by your wedding photographer in their original untouched state. Most wedding photographers will supply two sets of pictures to you; your proofs which are untouched and your finals which are cropped, edited, and color-corrected to look as lovely as possible.

The terminology listed above should allow you to better understand what your potential wedding photographers are talking about while they pitch you their services. Though we tried to cover most of the terminology that you’ll be exposed to, the above guide to wedding photography terminology is just the tip of the iceberg. Photography trends are always changing, so you’ll want to ask to see examples if there’s a technique or process you don’t fully understand. If you found this guide to wedding photography terminology helpful, please feel free to share it on your favorite social media platform. Good luck and have fun planning your wedding!


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