Call it nostalgia. A remembrance of things past. Or perhaps a wistful look back at days gone by. Whether its fashion, cars, music or art, the term “vintage” evokes the modes of expression that were in vogue in the past. Technically speaking, an antique refers to articles or styles that were produced before the twenties while vintage refers to products made after the twenties up until twenty years from the current era. Vintage-style or retro, whether in clothing, photography or art, refers to the idea of imitating the motifs of another period.
But what is vintage wedding photography? This type of photography can refer to any of these three: the image processing and the type of camera used (the photographer might use a Nikon F3HP instead of a Canon EOS 60D), the poses involved, and finally, the use vintage and retro items in terms of styling like shooting the couple in front of a 1954 Sunbeam Talbot 90 Convertible. More or less, vintage photography focuses on styling and post-processing to mimic photographs produced by using analogue cameras.
Vintage photography has rapidly caught on among couples who have tied the knot recently. Perhaps it is an extension of the popularity of photo manipulation apps like Instagram. Or perhaps, some people want to have unique photographs. Still, it may have been brought about by the admiration for the timelessness of things classic.
On the other end of the spectrum, some photographers and wedding professionals have voiced their distaste for vintage-style photography. They argue it is just another passing trend where both couples and photographers jump onto the current bandwagon. Accordingly, this trend limits a photographer’s creativity by restricting himself to specific conventions.
The debate can rage on and on but at the end of the day, a wedding is still all about the couple celebrating their union with friends and family members. For couples, this means doing their research in finding a style that fits their taste and their own personality. After all, when everything has been said and done, when the champagne has been drunk and the wedding cake has been sliced and eaten, only the wedding album remains.
A photographer’s job is to capture that momentous event, whatever style he and the couple may agree upon—whether it’s reportage, traditional or contemporary. A true professional photographer would not be confined to a particular style although most photographers would favour one particular visual philosophy. Good photographs are not purely the result of a lens man’s talent and skill. The most memorable photographs are taken by a photographer who has mastered both his craft and good communication skills. By listening to his clients and integrating their inputs, a beautiful picture, then, is the result of the collaboration between the photographer and his clients.