I am a Lifestyle/Artistic photographer. What does that mean? And why do you want to know what style your photographer does when booking them? Great question!
The Knot - A successful wedding magazine/blog defined these perfectly. https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-photography-styles
Here is a quick run down:
There is Digital and there is Film. I do both. That's called Hybrid shooting. Combining of film and digital. I first learned on film and it's my first love - you can't beat the real grain and beautiful tones. So Brides and Grooms have the option to book me for just Digital, or Film, or both. There are different budgets associated with all three because Film does cost more - and takes a little longer to get the images back from the lab. So you first want to decide if you are looking for Digital, Film, or a Combination of both when picking your photographer.
There are photographers who rely heavily on editing, so what you see straight out of camera will not be the end result, they will work magic with their editing, and create some gorgeous works of art. Some photographers stick to a more "real moment" approach and leave it looking as it did in the moment with a little fine tuning. Are you looking for a highly stylized image, or one more true to form? So many questions to ask yourself! Ah! I just LOVE photography and all the possibilities!
Then there are different TYPES of photographers. Some photographers stick to just one style, while others are able to be a combination and make it work.
The Artistic photographer - the photo becomes not only about the bride/groom, but adds an artistic quality to the photo - using the landscape they are in, artistic sense of posing, not your typical bride and groom, family members looking at the camera shots. Artistic photographers know how to make the environment around who they are shooting add to the image to make it breathtaking. They don't typically use Props and trends for their photos. They use the couples/families personality to decide how to best tell their story through the images and with their surrounding scene.
The Lifestyle photographer - this is my favorite type and what I am best at. It's mostly letting a couple be themselves, with a little direction and styling to make it look that much better. It's relaxed instead of stiff, it's seeing a moment and making it just a little better with some direction. It's showing my couples a pose, but then asking them to relax from the pose and go into it themselves, adding some movement and their own personality into it. I may ask my couple to do the same thing over again a couple times till they are doing it naturally instead of looking posed, catching the moments they are going into a pose are some of the best moments. Letting them run around together, walk around hand in hand talking, twirling, laughing, breathing in one another...those are the moments I live for. I want to see you, and your love for each other, come alive in front of my lens.
The Dramatic photographer - I love to look at these images. There are seriously some very talented photographers who pull off this style. I have played around with this style before and can do some fun things with it, but on a wedding day it would not be my style I shoot. The dramatic photographer needs to be able to create their own light often to get the look, and it takes time to master. Lighting is a key element in dramatic photos.
The Documentary photographer - these are the photographers I admire, they can see ordinary moments and make them look beautiful and perfect. They are candid shooters. They love those candid moments that create memories of moments. They are experts at being ready to capture every perfect moment. They use a hands off approach. They do not usually style or direct any of the wedding or photos.
Why is this important to know when hiring your photographer? Because everyone who is looking to hire a photographer has an idea of what kind of photos they like. If you hire a photographer thinking they will be able to document your photos the way you are wanting them to be, and you wanted dramatic photos and end up with lifestyle photos, you might be disappointed. Be sure you know what style of photos your photographer will capture for you and if the style you are wanting is one that they do. Your photographer is not out to disappoint you, every one of us photographers do our very best to capture photos the way we think will make our clients happy. Knowing what YOU are looking for in a photographer goes a long way.