Wedding photography is one of the oldest forms of photography that exists, along with the family portrait, and as technology has evolved and, more importantly, gotten smaller, modern wedding photography is more intimate, personal and unique to each wedding.
The first photograph to have survived, View from the Window at Le Gras was created in 1827, although attempts to create photographs have existed for nearly a century before this.
However, the first-ever wedding photograph is believed to have been a recreation of the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1854, 14 years after their wedding.
When photography stopped being purely for the richest in society and was available to more people, “wedding” photography followed the same format, with couples posing in their wedding garb, first in a photography studio then later at the wedding venue but not during the ceremony.
As photography became cheaper and slightly more portable, we would see the first wedding albums, which would include not only the bride and groom but also the wedding party, the location and even the wedding presents.
It would take until the middle of the 20th century and the invention of the compact flash bulb for photographers to attempt to capture the wedding event itself, and typically the way they would ply their trade is to sell their photos at the wedding itself or to guests later.
This still had a somewhat staged quality to it due to the weight of camera equipment, but by the 1970s and the advent of higher-quality portable film and SLR cameras would evolve a style of documentary wedding photography, which was all about dynamism and intimacy.
Whilst there are often still large group photographs in a more traditional style, most of the focus is on capturing the emotion and big moments of the day, including the ceremony, the kiss, and other pictures that capture the story of the big day as it was.
Wedding photography has evolved from rigid traditionalism to capturing the story of a wedding, and everything that it means to the bride, groom and wedding party.