commonly used terms in wedding photography

Commonly Used Terms In Wedding Photography

My last write-up was based on tips for hiring a candid wedding photographer. Now, most of the couples must be fixing up a meeting with photographers for the coming wedding season.

In the era of selfie, almost everyone holds some knowledge of photography. Many times, I get phone calls from my friends. They seek detailed suggestions related to photography. In this process, I also get updated. I am glad If I would contribute a bit to your photography knowledge here also.

Why you should know it?

If you know less terminology, You find yourself alienated having conversation with your photographer. You, Immediately, jump to the question “How much do you charge for a wedding?” Photographer has to answer in figures. Conversation ends here!

How does it affect?

The photographer does not get the opportunity to explain his/her style. He/She fails to understand your expectations also. You also miss a chance to understand his/her services.

It is helpful to understand the future line of actions by knowing some Jargon of any profession. For example, Some of you understand the words of health care industry. It helps you to talk in detail with your nutritionist about your next plan of actions. Once you have the idea of some commonly used terms in photography, you know that what kind of results you will get? Whether your photographer’s style is going to match your choice or not? Or will he/she live up to your expectations?

Let’s simplify the photography language which we use as a wedding photographer. I am not going to discuss anything about technicalities. I will explain it to you in a laymen language and you are invited to update me as well, in case I miss something. Here are some commonly used terms in the world of wedding photography which I have picked up for you:

1. “I am a candid wedding photographer”


commonly used terms in wedding photography

Candid wedding photography entered in India around 2009. It is still a new baby for many of us. “I do candid wedding photography” is not enough in itself to be understood. Candid wedding photography is approached under two ways i.e. 1. Directorial Approach 2. Street/Photo-journalistic Approach.

(i) Directorial approach:

Your wedding photographer gives you the direction to pose in the specific style. They make a scene selections, understand the lighting area and try several perspectives. They tell you to make poses in a way that it does not seem a pose and comes out more or like candid shots. It depends upon the individual wedding photographer how he/she takes directorial approach.

(ii) Photo-journalistic approach:

In a photo-journalistic style the subject is unaware of being photographed. It is more like a street photography. The person is emotionally engrossed in doing some activity. Photographer captures such emotional sides. You have to be involved in less poses and stay more natural or candid. Professional photographers develop their eye to notice the moments. They learn with incessant efforts to understand ‘What is to be captured and what is to be left?’

2. Full frame camera:

commonly used terms in wedding photography

Full camera is different from other small/compact digital cameras. There are amateur cameras which are cropped ones. Full frame cameras have the bigger sensor size than cropped cameras. Cropped camera is like your eyeglasses. Once you wear your eyeglasses, the vision outside the frame is not clear. You can only see through the cropped frame of your specs. Full frame cameras are like contact lenses to your eye. Once you wear contact lenses the vision is broader and clear.


commonly used terms in wedding photography

Photographers who own full frame cameras, they have the ability to capture broader view. The full frame cameras work better in low light. These cameras can absorb more light with high ISO range. The quality of the pictures are not compromised with proper understanding and right technics. Full frames have an edge over cropped cameras when it comes to using wide angle lenses. Full frame cameras are expensive to own. There are full frame cameras from Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc. in the market.


3. RAW Files:

wedding photography terminology

Photos have several types like JPEG, PNG, TIFF and RAW. RAW photo is like an unborn baby. It is just one step away from being used for prints or using over online platforms and that step is processing.

Photographers have a wide scope to create the wow images by right method of processing. RAW images are created with in the camera through specific functions. RAW images can not be uploaded directly over the internet. It needs specific program to open it. There are free converter available of RAW to JPEG. Once it is converted into JPEG format, it is ready to use/print!

4. Re-touching photos:

commonly used terms in wedding photography

RAW images are transferred into the photo editing programs. Photos are not manipulated much. The degree of manipulation or re-touching depends upon individual photographer. Photographers invest their time in the post processing to make photos perfect for prints. Efforts are put in for long hours to enhance the quality of the photos.

5. Digital Images on USB/Hard Drive/Disk:


Photos are stored in a USB stick/Hard Drive these days. Some photographers give a fixed number of photos. Some give as many photos as it is required to tell the story of your wedding. The prices of the USB stick/Hard Drive is an extra money to be paid to the photographer.

Wedding packages which includes digital images are bit expensive. Digital images are processed and re-touched which take considerable amount of time. Sometimes, it is not possible to store RAW data in one USB stick. For example, Three days event data go up to 100GB.

6. Shoot Time-line:

Almost every wedding photographer wants to know the shoot time line in advance. It includes the date and time of rituals/ceremonies, place of events like getting ready, sangeet, mehandi and reception. These activities give an idea to the photographers for creating stories. It is also helpful to maintain the story links between each time line.

Photographers also get the idea about total hours to be spent. They are fully prepared with back up tools accordingly. To avoid any last minute delay or shoot crisis on your wedding day, you must discuss the shoot time line with photographer. It is the first and foremost thing to discuss.

7. Save The Date:

commonly used terms in wedding photography

Most couples send the wedding invitation card at least 45 days before the wedding day. There are online solutions from Photojaanic for such services. I have personally used their services and their back end support is great. You can send your save the date cards at early stage. It helps your friends/relatives to mark the wedding date on the calendar. Sending ‘save the date cards’ idea is highly trending these days.

8. High and Low Resolution Images:

commonly used terms in wedding photography

Some photographers provide the low resolution digital images. The low resolution images are also low in megabits. These low resolution digital images take less time in uploading over virtual world. It is difficult to get wall size prints of such low resolution digital images.

You get better prints of high resolution images. Wedding packages with high resolution digital images are expensive. Some photographers give digital proofs. These are also low resolution files which is given to you for selecting the images.

9. Retainer/Deposit:

You give a certain amount to hold the booking for wedding day. It is a non-refundable amount in case circumstances force you to reschedule/cancel your wedding. It is also known as deposit/reservation fee. But you can sit with your photographer and decide to make it refundable in certain situations. Deposits build up faith between you and the photographer. It is a win win situation for both the parties.

Is there any photography word or term that you could not figure out? Do let me know in the comment box. I will add it here and explain it to you! 

Siddharth Malkania

Siddharth Malkania is a journalism graduate. He studied photography at India's premier institute. Having worked as a photojournalist for two years, he traveled to Tokyo, Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam to brush up his skills of photography. Currently, He is a professional photographer based in New Delhi, India.

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