Infographic displaying - Most Popular Wedding Photo Editing Trends in 2020

Every wedding photographer is unique and so is their wedding photo editing style. Some photographers like to stick to classic styles while others love to follow trends. Either way, both have their benefits. Adhering to a classic wedding photo editing style never goes out of fashion but following a new photo editing trend keeps you top of mind of the social media using clients. If you want to know what’s trending, and maybe even follow a few trends, here is all you need to know!

Top 12 Wedding Photo Editing Trends in 2020

Much like the entire business of weddings, photo editing styles are highly influenced by the ebb and flow of trends. They come, they go, and they’re cyclical but then some remain more permanently. It’s good to know them all so that you can choose for yourself and incorporate it into your workflow. Let’s begin!

1. Light and Bright

Wedding Photo Editing Trends
Image by Darci Terry @darciterryphoto

Light and Bright wedding photo editing gives a sense of romance and natural beauty to the subjects in your photos. The images come out smooth and clear with a beautiful background. It also shows photos with a clear depiction of strong emotions. Many clients want to look natural in their photos with a beautiful background. That is why wedding photographers love this photo editing trend.

2. Dark And Moody

Wedding Photo Editing Trends
Image by Angela DiPaolo @angeladipaolo_photography

Dark and moody images are a recent but popular photo editing trend. These photos can look very dramatic and have a cinematic feel to them. Dark and moody photo editing can be wonderful for evoking emotion.

In the dark and moody editing style, the shadows are dark and heavy, so our eyes get drawn to the highlights. The “white space” is the darkness, rather than the lightness. The highlights and richness of the colors are important in this photo-editing style and work well for images that have a more graphic approach to the composition.

The dark and moody photo editing style can be ideal for couple portraits and detail photos of a wedding.

3. Matte Photo

Wedding Photo Editing Trends
Image by Joseph McFetridge @lovebyjoemac

Matte photos have a tendency to look like you applied a mild haze filter over the photograph. Sometimes, the photograph seems to be smooth and not at all sharp. Applying a Matte look with photo editing brightens the bright areas and darkens the dark features in the wedding image. It can make photos have a more realistic look and highlights faces as well as backgrounds.

There are many different ways to add a matte effect to your wedding images. One of the easiest ways is to adjust the Tone Curve in the Develop Module in Lightroom. Then adjust the individual points so that they form an ‘S’ shaped curve. You can always change the shape to fine-tune the matte effect.

4. Vintage Film Photo Editing

vintage affect on reflection of bride in mirror
Image by IQ Photo Joseph Kohn @iqphotosf

The vintage film look is one that draws from a few other photo editing styles to mimic film from the 1970s and 1980s. Some photos edited using a vintage film style may incorporate a slightly matte finish. They may have a heavier grain and colors may be slightly washed out.

A vintage film photo-editing style is intended to draw on our sense of nostalgia. It’s ideal for casual portraits and outdoor photos. For even more of a vintage look, experiment with rounded corners or adding the white border of a Polaroid photo!
To learn more about creating a photo with a vintage look, you can read our blog— How to Create Vintage Photo Effect in Lightroom.

5. HDR

hdr styled image of couple in cactus garden with reflection
Jorge Santiago @jorgesantiagophoto

HDR photo editing gives a more saturated and contrasty look to wedding images. It is the best photo editing style to manage balancing shadows and brightness in the same image but can lend a slightly surrealistic color tone to the skin. You can always adjust levels as needed in most HDR applications to fit your style. HDR photo editing gives a dramatic look to the picture.

6. Black and White

black and white image of bride approaching groom for first look
Image by Erin Morrison @erinm_photography

Black and white photography is a very classic and timeless style that has been around since the dawn of photography. Our parents and grandparents probably have tons of photos in Black and White or Sepia!

Many people associate black and white imagery with candid or photojournalistic styles of wedding photography – and for good reason! Black and white treatments can really bring a candid moment to life. Also, black and white images are a great way to showcase contrasty lighting or images taken in a room where the white balance is mixed (think fluorescent lights overhead mixed with daylight streaming in through church windows mixed with warm candlelight. Turn that image black and white, pop the contrast, and magic happens!. Even if you’re not a huge fan of black and white, try mixing a few Black and White wedding images into your client’s wedding gallery. This might help you add variety to the gallery and impress your clients too.
For some great tips on Black and White photo editing, you can read—5 Black and White Photography Editing Tips For Stand-out Images.

7. “Clean” Photo Editing

black groom and white bride leaning forehead to forehead under veil
Image by Brent Looyenga @looyengaphoto

“Clean” is the most basic of photo editing styles. A clean edit means that you’re adjusting just the basics to clean up the image. This includes things like sharpness, color temperature, and clarity.

The idea of the “clean edit” is to make the photo look as natural as possible – as if you’ve done no edits to it at all! The “clean edit” look is classic. If you’re looking for a style that will stand the test of time, a clean photo editing style is a great option.

8. High Contrast Photo Editing

couple kissing in a crashing ocean wave
Photo by Jimmy Bui @jimmybuiphotography

One way to create edgy and dramatic looks is to create a high contrast look with your photo editing. Whether color or black and white, a strong contrast is a way to make a photo more graphic by emphasizing dark shadows with bright light.

When creating a strongly contrasted photo, be sure to adjust more than just the contrast! If the photo is color, then you’ll most likely want the colors to be a bit more saturated and vibrant. Darkening your blacks and brightening your whites also helps in this photo editing style

9. Cross-Processing

couple kissing on a bridge under trees cross processed look
Lovers of Love @loversoflove

If you love experimenting with color, try editing your digital photos to replicate cross-processing! Cross-processed looks go back to the days of film. Back then photographers used to develop film in chemicals meant for different film types. This deliberate change in the chemicals would create funky colors that people loved!

With digital processing, photographers can use the Split Tone section in Lightroom’s Develop module to create similar looks. This look can be fun to use for just about any type of image.
Photoshop users can learn tips on cross-processing here— How to Create a Digital Cross Processing Effect in Photoshop.

10. Image Layering or Double Exposure

double exposure of couple in field wearing wedding clothes
Image by Diane Clifford @dianenicolephoto

This type of photo editing style had a huge following in the days of film and you might notice wedding albums from the 1980s featured this. Now that the photography world trends more towards digital capture, there are cameras that allow for double exposure. And you can also do it in Photoshop as well with layers. This is a really unique way to present an image to your clients and we love to see photographers experimenting with it again!

11. Peach And Cream

couple kissing on beach tinted peach
Lori Conklin KPC and Co @kpcandcophoto

Cream, pink, or pale yellow, you can pick your poison. This photo editing style has been growing in popularity on many of the softer, feminine, and romantic wedding style blogs.

Tinting a photo can significantly improve its look. It creates an overall color uniformity and mutes distracting and unflattering colors. Many wedding photographers like trying this effect on bridal or couple portraits. You can try it too and see for yourself if it matches your style.

PROTIP: For more editing tips, check out HOW TO EDIT WEDDING PHOTOS – SHOOTDOTEDIT’S EXPERT TIPS for a better understanding of basic wedding photo editing. You will learn some amazing tips and tricks you can use when defining your wedding photography editing style.

12. Damaged Film Photo Editing

If you’re looking to go even farther with a funky and colorful look, create a damaged film look! This photo editing style again goes back to the days of film. It was often seen when the film was expired or had some sort of heat or light damage to it.

The results are unreliable, but that’s half the fun! They typically show as colorful streaks mixed in with scratches. The look of the damaged film lends itself perfectly to grungy photos of urban settings. It can also be fun to incorporate into wedding portraits!

Final Thoughts on Photo Editing Trends

There are so many ways you can edit wedding photos. But in the end, it’s you who has to decide the kind of edits you make to the images that will draw the clients you want to attract.

When choosing a photo editing style, think about the longevity of photos. Think about the potential printing issues that might come up. Keep in mind that your images will be easy to date if you choose a current trend over a classic one. Classic wedding photos never go out of style.

Once you’ve picked a photo editing style or a mix of them for your wedding photography editing, consider how much editing you want to be doing and whether it’s time to outsource. You might need it more than you think. As your wedding photography business grows, so will the amount of photo editing required. To learn more you can see what we have to offer at ShootDotEdit.

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