The History of Wedding Photography

[between 1850 and 1870] Man and woman

Man and woman
Weddings today can be elaborate productions documented by a crew of professionals (and guests) who capture hundreds, if not thousands, of candid digital images and videos of the nuptials and reception. 
Browsing through the Denver Public Library’s Digital Collections, however, we are reminded of a time when “wedding photography” meant a posed portrait or two of the wedding party taken in a photographer’s studio. It was not until the 20th century that wedding photography began to change.

In the twentieth century, wedding photographers gradually broke free of past limitations, becoming more adaptive to individual couples’ needs. On-location photography flourished with the availability of sheet film, flashbulb lighting, portable and faster cameras. Candid images of marriage emerged with these new technologies, making it possible to record spontaneous moments.
-Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Photography, 3-Volume Set by Lynne Warren, p. 1655

[between 1948 and 1955?] Zumploble

A post-World War II increase in marriages resulted in wedding photography becoming a profitable trade. By the mid-1960’s, wedding photographs began to be shot on color film, and some couples opted for their images to be taken in a photojournalistic style that veered away from formal poses. Today, wedding photography tends to borrow the 19th century’s formal poses and the 20th century’s candid style to capture a couple’s special day.

1960 Juanita and Tony Ramos wedding party

Juanita and Tony Ramos wedding party
Check out our Weddings Gallery for more nuptial-related images from the Western History and Genealogy Department’s photo archives.

Photo NewsResearch NewsDenver NewsGenealogy Newsweddingsphoto albumsphotographyphotographersPhoto Gallery: 

Man and woman
[between 1850 and 1870]

Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Watson Wallace (just before they located at Silver Dale)

Mr. & Mrs. C.H. McLaughlin home : Tuesday evening, July 21, 1874, Broadway near cor. Colfax Ave.

Ute bride and groom
Full size image[between 1875 and 1900?]

Mary Virginia King
Full size image1887 June 14

Blanche Roberts
Full size image[between 1890 and 1910?]

Mountain wedding
Full size image[between 1890 and 1900?]

Eusebio Chacón and Sophia Barela
Full size image1891

Louise Jeanette Bulkley
Full size image[between 1905 and 1910?]

Ricciardi family Denver
Full size image1909

La Veta Place staff at wedding of Lila Van
Full size image

La Veta Place staff at wedding of Lila Van
Full size image

Charles C. & Hazel’s wedding day ceremony was at the Plymouth Congregational Church at E. 14th Ave. & Lafayette St.
Full size imageApril 4, 1910

Wedding group
Full size image[between 1910 and 1920?]

Santa Clara Indian wedding at cliff-dwellings in Manitou, Co Petra Louza [i.e. Souza] & Joseph Tafoya
Full size image[1919 September 1]

Edwardo Lopez and Ida Lopez Chavez wedding party
Full size image[1924]

Pedro Lobato and Esperanza Córdova de Lobato
Full size image1925

Wedding party
Full size image[between 1900 and 1930?]

Felix Gallegos and Florence Torres Gallegos wedding party
Full size image1934

Helen Bonfils and George Somnes
Full size image1936?

Two Denver society girls wearing their grandmothers’ wedding dresses. These weddings took place in Central City
Full size image[between 1930 and 1940?]

After the wedding of “Sleepy” Hetzel and Jean Drake
Full size image

Grasmich wedding
Full size image1939

Mims Washington Wedding
Full size image1944 Oct 7

María Oralia “Orie” Durán Trujillo
Full size image[1950]

Kinchelow Gash Wedding
Full size image1951 September 7

Mr. and Mrs. N. R. Mukherjee
Full size image1954 June 18

Iris Benner – Otho wedding group
Full size image1957 November 18

Henry Hudson Wedding
Full size image1958 August 23

Andrews Johnson Wedding
Full size image1958 September 7

Juanita and Tony Ramos wedding party
Full size image1960

Fontaine Borom Wedding
Full size image1963 November 29