With all the fairytale-like dresses, flowers, and traditions involved in weddings, it’s a common mistake to think that wedding photography is all about carefully posed shots. Sure, there’s a good amount of styling and choreographing certain types of photos, such as the requisite family pictures or the “first look,” where the bride walks up to the groom to reveal her dress. But good wedding photography is also about recording the day’s events as they unfold naturally. Often, the most memorable wedding photos are the candid shots where the subjects are unaware of the camera. If you’re attending a wedding and want to take some great pictures, here are top 10 candid moments to capture.
1. People hugging – Weddings are giant get-togethers for friends and family who may have traveled long distances for the occasion. If you get to the ceremony early, you’ll see a lot of hugging and kissing before people take their seats. To get the most emotional photos, try to be on one side of the hug to capture someone’s face, rather than getting a partial view of both people.
2. Tears of joy – As a wedding photographer, I have seen brides cry, grooms cry, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, even the wedding coordinator who wasn’t related to the couple in any way. A picture of someone crying may not be the most flattering shot, but it’s a powerful image that shows the communal swell of emotions.
3. Kids – Children are great subjects because they’re often playing with each other and in their own little world. To get great shots of kids, get down to their height — stand on your knees if you must — and capture the sparkly expression in their eyes.
4. Bride or bridesmaids primping – They’re in the spotlight, so of course, they will be checking their reflections and touching up their make-up and hair often. This shot was taken with a fun group of bridesmaids who stepped out of their limo, with yes, a full-length mirror.
6. Animated conversations – Sometimes, you may need to ask people to step aside to take a good photo of them. Most of the time, however, you’ll see some people so absorbed in an animated conversation that they’d barely notice a bird landing on their head. This picture is awesome because it shows two different conversations – the one of the women and the one of the girl, who’s connecting to her friends online.
8. Guests obsessed with technology – People will be toting their cameras, phones and tablets to the wedding. Because of the larger surfaces of tablets, they make great subjects of a photo. Here’s a woman who was taking pictures with her tablet all evening. I think she was shaking it when she started having technical difficulty.
9. Raising of glasses – Lots of toasts will be made, and lots of glasses will be raised. Capture that moment for a fun detail shot. Here, while the glasses are the focal point of the photo, the partial views of the bride and groom evoke a joyous mood and complete the scene.
10. Couple relaxing – It’s a long day for the couple getting married, but some time during the reception, you’ll see them relaxing and their faces will show ease. It usually happens when the speeches are made, and other people get the spotlight for a change. Capture this moment for them – the photos will show them as they are, completely natural and comfortable in their skin and with each other. This wedding party in particular, was very relaxed as they changed to comfy sneakers for the reception.