Each photographer has his or her own distinct style, which is reflected in the photographer’s portfolio of work. Before you choose a photographer, consider the photographic style you prefer, and then seek out those photographers whose work reflects that style.
A traditional photographer generally treats every image as a posed portrait, even shots you may think of as candid. That doesn't mean that the photographs will appear forced or posed, but that there will likely be few spontaneous "action shots" included in the mix. Traditional wedding photographers look to capture perfect moments with artistry and dignity and generally produce excellent, albeit formulaic, shots of the wedding party, families, and planned events.
These photographers specialize in expertly composed, well-lit portraits. They try to keep an unobtrusive presence at the reception in order to set up perfect, classical images. You won't find them mingling or telling the crowd to "look at the camera" to come up with magic moments.
A wedding photographer who takes a photojournalist approach is one who considers it is the photographer’s job to record events, not stage them. This photographer will take the group shots you want but will also include candid and spontaneous images. There are few formal "grip and grin" roundups of guests smiling for the camera, but this photographer prefers capturing close-ups, spontaneous reactions to events, and sensitive impressions of a wedding led by events and the emotions surrounding them, not posed tableaus orchestrated by the photographer.
These photographers will perfectly capture shots of the centerpieces, cake, flowers, and decor and could be hired just for this purpose, supplemented by another photographer to handle “people pictures.” A commercial photographer's sense of style may be more formulaic and less spontaneous than a journalistic photographer. Just the same, this type of photographer is a professional and capable of taking magazine-quality images.
Similar to a photojournalist, a photographic artist rarely takes traditional shots but prefers to find artistic ways to photograph elements, people, and events. The photographic artist is adept in the medium of black and white and at producing beautifully composed photos, likely to be less candid than full of drama and artistic beauty.