Dark & Moody Wedding Photography: Is It Right for Your Big Day?

Choosing a style of wedding photography can be challenging — there are so many factors to take into consideration:

  • Your venue
  • Time of day
  • The style of your wedding 
  • Location 

And then there’s the emotion.

If you’re looking to be transported back to your big day through your wedding photography, dark and moody wedding photography might be your answer.

In this guide, we’ll explore…

  • What makes a moody wedding photo; and 
  • When moody wedding photography is ideal

… so you can decide if it’s the right style for you and your soon-to-be spouse. 

Table of Contents

What Is Moody Wedding Photography?

Successful “moody” wedding photography will put the viewer in the moment the photo was taken — letting them take in the:

  • Atmosphere
  • Lighting; and 
  • Exchange 

You’ll see a rich, atmospheric feel in this style of wedding photography. 

Oftentimes, dark and moody wedding photography is achieved with a unique and recognizable shooting and photo editing style. 

It’s true there isn’t a standard set of “rules” that wedding photographers need to follow to achieve this style, but there are general guidelines that help produce general characteristics of this style of photo.

What Makes a Perfect Moody Wedding Photo?

Moody wedding photography is often described as having a warm, organic, and almost cinematic feel. 

Action isn’t necessary, but the perfect moody wedding photo will:

  • Be emotional
  • Showcase the atmosphere
  • Capture the lighting and feel of the space 
  • Transcend a single moment to bring the viewer into the photo

Wedding photographers who shoot and edit in a dark and moody style are aiming and looking to bring intimacy to every shot, even when they are taken in fantastic venues. 

This type of wedding photography looks terrific when displayed in spreads, with images presented side by side in a storytelling format. 

Consistent lighting, editing, and storytelling, combined with this style of wedding photography, make these images perfect for album and wall art. 

Remember, moody wedding photography can be done for:

  • Bridal portraits
  • Couples photoshoots; and
  • Wedding photography 

Why Choose a Moody Photography Style for Your Wedding Photos?

Choosing the right photography style for your wedding is a big decision. 

These photos will be looked at for decades, and not just by you and your spouse, but by generations and extended family, too. 

As you’re browsing different styles and photographers, pay attention to these details to help you decide:

  • Body language in poses 
  • Photo composition
  • Lighting challenges; and 
  • Editing/special effects

For most couples, thinking about trends vs. tradition helps them decide what route to go as well. 

The sign of a great photographer is their ability to decipher when to leave a moment alone and when to manipulate a good shot to make it great. This can be in the moment with their positioning, lighting, posing, etc. or in post, after the moment has been captured. 

With dark and moody wedding photography, it’s the authenticity and inimitable emotions that set this style apart. 

Read on to learn what other elements make moody wedding photography unique. 

It Tells a Story

Have you ever looked at a photo and immediately seen the scene unfold?

Maybe it’s in the lighting, the look on the bride or groom’s face, or the expression of emotion from the father of the bride. 

Moody wedding photography lends itself to storytelling through the juxtaposition of highlights and the intricate details captured. 

Think about photos that showcase the real personality and emotions of your spouse or your wedding guests. 

These exchanges may include:

  • Guests laughing on the dance floor 
  • Poignant reactions to wedding speeches at the reception
  • The feeling of your first dance with your spouse
  • A mother or father tearfully walking their child down the aisle

While dark and moody wedding photography may be thought of as “trendy”, capturing these emotions, moments, and atmosphere in a way that can transport you back is timeless. 

Moody Wedding Photography Makes You Feel the Moment

Seeing the emotions of your wedding day reflected in your photos is one of the main identifiable aspects about moody wedding photography.

As an experienced wedding photographer, Julian Ribinik, is well-versed in ways to make all parties feel comfortable in front of the camera so that their true, candid, emotions and personalities come through. 

Moody Photography Captures the Energy and Atmosphere, Not Just a Pose

There’s a reason you chose your wedding venue. Maybe it was:

  • The lighting
  • The architecture
  • The location 
  • The overall feel of the space 
  • The history 

Whatever the reason, your venue is part of your story. It’s where you and your spouse will exchange vows and embark on a new phase of life together. 

Capturing who you’re surrounded by is an essential element, too. 

Whether you choose to have an intimate ceremony surrounded by immediate family or are opting for a larger reception, the energy and atmosphere on your wedding day is an integral part of the story and overarching feel of your wedding. 

Finding authentic moments, paired with capturing the ambiance, scenery, and overall surroundings will ensure that your moody wedding photography stands the test of time and truly paints the picture of your special day.

When Is Moody Wedding Photography Ideal?

While moody wedding photography is often seen in “adventure”, “wanderlust”, or “elopement photos”, it can be achieved almost anywhere and is actually ideal in some scenarios. 

If your wedding falls under one of the following, you might consider dark and moody photography for your big day.

Situations With Bad Lighting

Because this style lends itself naturally to the use of light and shadow contrasts and highlights, winter or fall weddings where natural sunlight may be an issue (or the trees are bare) make excellent backdrops for moody wedding photography. 

In dark and moody wedding photos, you’ll often see slightly warmer, desaturated tones used to emphasize the contrast between light and shadows, creating a more:

  • Dramatic
  • Juxtaposed; or 
  • Editorial feel

Moody wedding photography is often shot with natural light, but if the light isn’t cooperating, there are some tricks that can be done to replicate the effect. For example, flash photography can be used when necessary. 

Old Buildings Make the Perfect Environment

The architecture of older buildings in New York are terrific backdrops for dark and moody wedding photography. 

The cinematic style of buildings like the iconic brownstones in the West Village or old, historic churches and chapels lends itself to the tonal colors often highlighted in moody photography.

Examples of Dark and Moody Wedding Photography

Take a peak at these photos below by Julian Ribinik Photography to really get an understanding of the emotion and feeling that dark and moody wedding photography can (and should) evoke:

Ideal Venues for Moody Wedding Photography in New York City

If you’re looking for moody wedding photography locations, whether for a bridal shoot, couples photos, or a full on venue, check out:

Julian Ribinik has experience photographing weddings in many locations throughout New York City, including:

  • Tribeca
  • SoHo
  • Chinatown
  • Greenwich Village
  • Harlem
  • Chelsea Market; and
  • The West Village 

Julian specializes in capturing genuine and clear photos in the many low-light wedding venues and photoshoot locations across the city, perfect for moody wedding photography (if that’s what you’re going for).

What if Dark and Moody Wedding Photography Isn’t the Style for You?

If you’re unsure whether moody wedding style photography is the right style for your big day: Good news — There are a number of different wedding photography styles you can choose from.

Julian Ribinik Photography can help capture your special day through a number of different approaches to create a variety of images.

Fill out a contact form or call us for a consultation. 

Are You Looking for a Wedding Photographer in New York City? Let Julian Ribinik Capture Moody Wedding Photography That Tells Your Story

Finding a wedding photographer who captures your story can be a tall task.

As a husband and wife photographer and editor team, Julian Ribinik Photography focuses on capturing the real emotions and story of your day. 

Our goal is to create images that will take you back to your special day whenever you look at them.

Whether you want classic portraits or something more modern, consider Julian Ribinik Photography for your special day.

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