There are so many times I have been asked by couples to capture candid moments. Or asked if my style is ‘candid’. Why? Well, it’s simple. People love real moments! So today I want to talk to you about the art of candid wedding photography and what goes into it.
I like to capture things that are real. That is why I don’t overly edit or follow a lot of trends with photography. I like to photograph with colors true to eye and in a way where you can look back on your photos and relive your day. You want to have wonderful memories of your wedding and the pictures to reflect that.
So, let’s get into candid wedding photography.
When I first started photographing couples and wanting to make sure those authentic, real moments were captured I would simple tell them to “be cute” or “cuddle” or something like that. Well, the problem with that is that getting your photo taken can feel weird. It isn’t something you regularly do! So having sweet intimate moments with the one you love is great and all, until a camera is in your face while those moments happen.
Suddenly you realize that candid moments aren’t as candid as you’d hoped.
So, what I do is spend about half the wedding day posing and half capturing completely candid moments. And sometimes, those two are mixed. There are a few things I do at every wedding/shoot to make sure that there are a great mix of posed, candid and real moments!
First, the main time I am looking for those moments is during bride and groom portraits! There are three things I do to make sure I can give the couple the tools they need to feel comfortable, be themselves and get those perfect images!
- Add Movement! This is the easiest one! I can put you where the light is best then adding movement makes you feel not so stiff and uncomfortable. Walking is what I have found most helpful for people. I can guide you by telling you to look at each other and walk, alternate looking at your partner then the ground, etc. But adding movement helps relax your body and takes your photos to the next level.
- Give Prompts! I also love giving prompts to the couple, especially in the cuddled up sweet poses. I can pose you, snap a few, alternate the pose a bit, then give a prompt like telling the groom to whisper in the brides ear. It usually results in some big, real smiles and giggles that photograph beautifully! Nobody likes when their smiling and their cheeks are sore, so why not just have real laughs instead!
- Take It In! Having a couple just take in the moment by holding each other, walking around their wedding venue or sharing a moment like reading letters/vows, praying together or whatever that moment may be is a great way to capture real moments. They almost always bring out emotions. Sometimes it is huge smiles, sometimes it is tears but all the time it is beautiful.
Now, there are a few moments in a typical wedding day that are completely posed and some that are completely candid. Here is my usual protocol for what moments go under what category!
Completely (almost) posed moments :
- Bridal party photos! Being in a bridal party is a lot of work. There is buying the outfits, planning bachelorettes/bachelor parties, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, gifts, craft prepping and who knows what else! The last thing you want to do is spend hours of the day taking pictures. There are 100 other things to worry about! So I pose these photos and just give a few moments of movement or prompts to add some authentic emotion into them!
- Family Formals! These moments are mostly all everyone looking at the camera and smiling. You have to have these moments of everyone looking their best!
Completely candid moments :
- The first look! I usually set up the bride and groom, walk them through what will happen then stand back. Even after the “first look” moment, I stay in the distance until they indicate to me that they are ready to begin portraits. Sometimes they just want a quick moment to see each other and ease nerves, sometimes they want time to read letters or vows to each other. Sometimes it takes 2 minutes, sometimes it takes 10. Either way, I capture what happens from a far so that this can be a intimate moment!
- The ceremony! My goal throughout the ceremony is to capture every important moment while never ever being a distraction. Whenever someone mentions to me that they didn’t even see me during the ceremony, I consider that a success! This is the most important part of the wedding. It is when the MARRIAGE begins!! I capture it all but don’t get hands on or pose anything at all.
- The reception! This is when the party happens. Dancing, toasts, tears and everything that comes with celebrating a new chapter in life. So again, I run around and capture these moments without ever jumping in and posing them.
If you want authentic, real, candid moments then the best advice I could give is to be yourself. Get as comfortable as you can in front of a camera, make sure you feel confident, have a photographer you trust and like and just go for it! Pose, but don’t be afraid to talk, kiss, move around and take in the moment. Emotions translate beautifully in photographs!
If you want to learn more about my photography style and how I create my images, check out my photography course!
Or, check out my exact process for posing here in my posing course.
I love this candid-posed style I have worked on for so long and have captures so many portraits I love! Here are a few favorites from past weddings and shoots!
Check out some of these weddings and shoots:
- Julie and Ben | Strawberry AZ wedding
- Taylar & John Forest Fairytale
- Paige & Drake Hollywood Glam Wedding
- Jackie & Shea Downtown Engagement