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The Wedding Photography Industry: A Glimpse from the 70s to 2023


The wedding photography industry has seen a whirlwind of changes over the past few decades. From the vintage charm of the 70s to the digital revolution of the 2000s, and now the innovative styles of 2023, wedding photography has evolved in tandem with technological advancements and changing societal norms. This article delves deep into the transformation of wedding photography trends and styles, tracing its journey from the 70s to the present day.

1. The Retro Charm of the 70s

The 1970s was a decade marked by its distinct style and flair. Wedding photography during this era was no exception.

Key Features of 70s Wedding Photography:

  • Film Photography: The 70s was predominantly the era of film. Photographers relied on manual cameras, and each shot was carefully planned due to the limited number of frames on a film roll.

  • Natural and Candid: Unlike the posed shots of earlier decades, the 70s saw a shift towards more candid and spontaneous photos, capturing genuine emotions and moments.

  • Black and White: While color photography was available, many photographers preferred the timeless appeal of black and white photos.

  • Iconic Backdrops: Popular backdrops included nature settings, such as parks and beaches, and iconic 70s elements like disco balls and vintage cars.

Table: Comparison of 70s Wedding Photography with Later Decades (Part 1)

Dominant MediumFilmFilmFilm/Digital
StyleCandidPosed & CandidArtistic & Candid
Popular BackdropsNature & Vintage ElementsGrand VenuesExotic Locations

Table: Comparison of 70s Wedding Photography with Later Decades (Part 2)

Dominant MediumDigitalDigitalDigital/Augmented Reality
StylePhotojournalisticCinematicImmersive & Interactive
Popular BackdropsUrban SettingsThemed & ConceptualVirtual Reality Environments

Linking the Past with the Present: While the 70s had its unique style, the essence of capturing genuine moments remains a cornerstone in wedding photography. For a deeper understanding of the nuances of professional photography and its value, check out this insightful article on why professional photographers might seem expensive.

2. The Glamorous 80s

The 1980s brought a touch of glamour and extravagance to wedding photography. As the world embraced color and larger-than-life fashion, wedding photos became more vibrant and dramatic.

Highlights of 80s Wedding Photography:

  1. Vibrant Colors: With the advancement in color film technology, wedding photos from the 80s were characterized by bright and bold colors.

  2. Grand Venues: Couples opted for grand venues like ballrooms and historic sites, which became popular backdrops for wedding photos. Speaking of grand venues, the City of Bath stands as a timeless location for weddings even today.

  3. Elaborate Poses: The 80s saw a return to more posed photographs, with couples often opting for dramatic and theatrical shots.

  4. Use of Props: From smoke machines to themed props, the 80s loved adding a touch of drama to their photos.

  5. Bigger Bridal Parties: The decade saw a trend of larger bridal parties, leading to group shots becoming a staple in wedding albums.

A Tip for Modern Brides: While the 80s had its signature style, the essence of looking one's best remains constant. For brides looking to ace their look, here are top makeup tips from past brides.

3. The Artistic 90s

The 1990s marked a significant shift in the world of wedding photography. As the world moved towards a new millennium, wedding photos began to reflect a blend of tradition and innovation.

Key Features of 90s Wedding Photography:

  • Transition to Digital: The late 90s saw the advent of digital photography. While film was still prevalent, the digital revolution began to make its mark, offering photographers more flexibility and creative freedom.

  • Artistic Flair: This decade introduced a more artistic approach to wedding photos. Photographers began experimenting with different angles, lighting, and compositions to create unique shots.

  • Documentary Style: A precursor to the photojournalistic style of the 2000s, the 90s embraced a documentary approach, capturing the wedding day's events as they unfolded.

  • Exotic Locations: Destination weddings gained popularity, leading to photos set against the backdrop of beaches, mountains, and historic landmarks.

Table: Popular Wedding Photography Styles of the 90s

StyleDescriptionModern Equivalent
DocumentaryCandid shots capturing events as they happenPhotojournalistic
TraditionalPosed shots with family and bridal partyClassic
ArtisticUnique compositions, angles, and lightingFine Art

Linking the 90s to Today: The 90s was a decade of exploration and setting the stage for modern wedding photography. For couples today looking to add a touch of nostalgia to their wedding, considering unobtrusive wedding photography can be a nod to the candid documentary style of the 90s.

4. The Photojournalistic 2000s

The new millennium brought with it a fresh perspective on wedding photography. The 2000s were characterized by a photojournalistic approach, where the photographer acted as a storyteller, narrating the wedding day through candid shots.

Highlights of 2000s Wedding Photography:

  1. Candid Over Posed: The 2000s saw a move away from traditional posed shots to more spontaneous, in-the-moment captures.

  2. Urban Settings: With the rise of urban weddings, cityscapes, graffiti walls, and industrial settings became popular backdrops.

  3. Digital Domination: The 2000s marked the era where digital photography firmly took over, leading to innovations like drone photography and instant photo booths.

  4. Personal Touch: Couples began to infuse more of their personalities into their wedding photos, leading to themed shoots, engagement photos, and trash-the-dress sessions.

  5. Online Sharing: With the rise of social media platforms, sharing wedding photos online became a trend, making wedding photography more accessible and influential.

A Modern Take on Speeches: The 2000s wasn't just about photography trends. As weddings became more personalized, so

did the speeches. For those looking to nail their wedding speeches in today's context, here are some top tips for wedding speeches.

5. The Cinematic 2010s

The 2010s ushered in an era where wedding photography was not just about capturing moments, but about creating cinematic masterpieces. The lines between videography and photography began to blur, leading to a more immersive experience.

Key Features of 2010s Wedding Photography:

  • Cinematic Shots: Inspired by movies and music videos, photographers started creating grand, cinematic shots, making couples feel like stars of their own films.

  • Drone Photography: The introduction of drones allowed for breathtaking aerial shots, adding a new dimension to wedding albums.

  • Pre-Wedding Shoots: This decade popularized the concept of pre-wedding shoots, allowing couples to showcase their journey and relationship leading up to the big day.

  • Themed Photoshoots: From vintage to fairytale, couples began opting for themed photoshoots, adding a touch of fantasy to their wedding memories.

Table: Evolution of Wedding Photoshoot Themes in the 2010s (Part 1)

YearPopular Themes
2010-2012Vintage & Rustic
2013-2015Bohemian & Beach

Table: Evolution of Wedding Photoshoot Themes in the 2010s (Part 2)

YearPopular Themes
2016-2018Fairytale & Fantasy
2019-2020Minimalist & Urban

Linking the 2010s to Bridal Tips: The 2010s was not just about innovative photography but also about ensuring the bride looked her best in every shot. For brides of this era and beyond, here are the top 10 bridal hair tips for your wedding day.

6. The Innovative 2023

Fast forward to the present, 2023 stands as a testament to how far wedding photography has come. With the integration of technology and art, this year promises unparalleled creativity.

Highlights of 2023 Wedding Photography:

  1. Augmented Reality (AR) Photography: AR adds digital elements to live views, allowing for interactive wedding albums where photos come to life.

  2. Virtual Reality (VR) Wedding Shoots: Couples can now have photoshoots in virtual spaces, creating dreamy and otherworldly wedding photos.

  3. Personalized Photo Stories: With AI integration, wedding albums can now narrate stories, taking viewers on a journey through the couple's love story.

  4. Sustainable Photography: With a global push towards sustainability, eco-friendly photoshoots with minimal waste and digital-only albums are gaining traction.

  5. Inclusivity and Diversity: The industry sees a significant shift towards more inclusive and diverse representations, celebrating love in all its forms. A notable example is the revolution in LGBTQ+ inclusive wedding photography.

Conclusion: The Timeless Essence of Wedding Photography

As we've journeyed from the retro charm of the 70s to the innovative techniques of 2023, it's evident that wedding photography is more than just capturing moments—it's about encapsulating emotions, stories, and the essence of love. Each decade has brought its unique flair, influenced by societal changes, technological advancements, and evolving aesthetics. Yet, the core remains unchanged: to immortalize the most cherished day in a couple's life.

Key Takeaways from Our Journey:

  1. Adaptation to Technology: From film rolls of the 70s to the AR and VR integrations of 2023, technology has been a driving force in shaping wedding photography trends.

  2. Personalization: The shift from posed shots to candid captures, themed shoots, and personalized photo stories highlights the industry's move towards making wedding photography a deeply personal experience.

  3. Inclusivity: The 2020s, especially 2023, have emphasized the importance of inclusivity and diversity, ensuring every love story gets its spotlight.

  4. Sustainability: The modern push towards eco-friendly practices has also touched wedding photography, emphasizing the importance of sustainability in all aspects of our lives.

Table: A Snapshot of Wedding Photography Evolution (Part 1)

DecadeDefining FeatureModern Reflection
70sCandid ShotsUnobtrusive Photography
80sGrand VenuesCity of Bath Weddings
90sArtistic FlairFine Art Photography

Table: A Snapshot of Wedding Photography Evolution (Part 2)

DecadeDefining FeatureModern Reflection
2000sPhotojournalismDocumentary Style
2010sCinematic ShotsMovie-like Edits
2023AR & VRImmersive Experiences

For those embarking on their wedding journey, remember that while trends come and go, the memories captured will remain timeless. Whether you're walking down the aisle with your beloved partner or brainstorming fun ideas for your wedding, ensure your photos reflect your unique story.

In the ever-evolving world of wedding photography, one thing remains constant: the magic of capturing love. As we look forward to the future, we can only imagine the innovations and trends that await. But for now, let's cherish the memories of the past and the possibilities.