Candid Wedding Photography: On Capturing the Details When the Day Goes by “So Fast”

One of the most common phrases we hear is that a wedding day goes by “so fast!” It is as though, with a blink of an eye, the preparation, ceremony, and reception are over. This does not make a wedding day less important whatsoever, but it does make it more meaningful to capture the small and significant moments of the day, so that they can be relived and cherished forever. While everyone loves posed photos of family and friends when looking back on their wedding day with fond memories, candid wedding photography captures the little moments of the day that can be easily missed with all of the excitement.

Clients often express that the little details, the spontaneous interactions, and the moments that were not quite as “set up” or “posed” are the most meaningful to them. The couple’s first dance, seeing the ring bearer get his tie tied, capturing parents lovingly looking at the bride and groom, or seeing a bird’s eye view of a private talk with the bride’s father and the bride. These moments may not be seen by all, but the photographer has an eye for capturing these and really bringing them to life.

For a photographer to capture awesome candid photos, they need to be ready and attentive. They also need to know their equipment well and be confident in moving to capture the best angles possible. They also know how to “plan” for the spontaneous. In other words, they are organized and really know what it takes to capture all of the meaningful moments of a wedding day. Being able to recognize a photo-worthy moment, slow down, and capture it is the difference between a capable professional and a photography apprentice who is still honing in their skills. A true mark of a good wedding portfolio is a photographer’s candid photos and detail shots, because they show attention to detail as well as planning for and anticipating spontaneous shots.

More and more couples are now asking their photographers for candid, “journalistic”, or “reportage” shots, all which mean they want action photos of themselves and their guests on the wedding day, without being lined up in front of the camera. This is not to say that posed shots are less important, but that couples are placing more value on natural shots that may not have been planned as intentionally. On sites like Wedding Wire or The Knot,these options are available when looking for specific “skills” and “specialties” in a wedding photographer, and there is no doubt that some photographers have the ability to do this better than others.

Emotion, whether sentimental tears or laughter, is typically a key feature in candid photography. The ability to document the emotions that people want to look fondly back on is really key. Photographers do this with efforts of being prepared, using the right equipment, selecting the right lenses, avoiding the use of flashes (especially in certain moments), taking lots of photos, and being able to frame those moments appropriately. Paying attention to group interactions and special moments really goes a long way. Candid photography not only makes a wedding album complete, it has the possibility of being the favorite and most meaningful photos of the day, if done right.

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