Wedding photography is very much part and parcel of the modern couple’s couple big day. Soon-to-be-married couples are willing to spend small fortunes in order to have a beautiful wedding album. But wedding photography is not a new phenomenon as even the Victorians also liked having pictures taken of their wedding days.
Wedding photography dates back to the 1840s. Because photography was only in its infancy there were serious technical limitations on the kind of pictures that could be taken. There were none of the pictures taken outside that are popular today. The photos were not even taken at the church or in the reception. The happy couple had to pose, before or after the event, in the photographers studio. They wore their best clothes for the shoot, which meant no pictures of the bridal gown. Also, the idea of a wedding photograph was only the preserve of the better off during this period.
Some twenty years later, during the 1860s, couples had started posing in their actual wedding clothes, which meant there would be a record of the bride in her beautiful white wedding gown. Also during this period some couples were hiring a photographer to actually come to the church to take a formal photo. But because cameras and photography equipment at this time was very bulky, and not easily portable, most wedding photography remained the preserve of the photographer’s studio.
By the early years of the twentieth century color photography was available, but for at least the next 50 years it was far too expensive and unreliable to be used for all but the most exclusive wedding photography. The development of the film roll, better lighting and the introduction of flash photography led to a change in the whole concept of wedding photography. Instead of the standard picture of the bride and groom, the scope was extended to include photographs from the wedding service and the reception. This meant that the traditional wedding photographer could no longer rely on couples coming to him to have their wedding photos taken, he had to be prepared to give up a few hours and go to the wedding itself.
Photographic equipment remained bulky, with off the cuff, candid photographs impossible to take. Even photos from the period which appear to be candid had, in reality, being posed. But, by the 1970s we saw wedding photography becoming more like it is today, with pictures taken throughout the happy couple’s big day.