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8 Tips for Vibrant Candid Wedding Photography

Candid wedding photography has a kind of magic that you just can’t beat. Don’t get me wrong. Gently posed portraits have their place, but as a wedding photographer, my favorite images are the spontaneous moments. If you want a wedding gallery full of authentic moments, there are a few things you can do to make sure you have the best experience - and most amazing photos - possible.

Seated wedding guests cheer and wave their arms during a ceremony in candid wedding photography.

8 Tips for Your Candid Wedding Photography

1. Hire a skilled and experienced photographer!

This may sound obvious, but candid wedding photography takes time to master. It takes courage to point your camera at people during their conversations in hopes of catching a reaction or standing in a guest’s way to capture a romantic moment. It took me a long time to get comfortable with capturing candids.

Two grooms smile and speak with guests in candid wedding photography by a Buffalo wedding photographer.

Wondering how you can hire someone who knows what to look for and when during a wedding day? Ask to see a full gallery. That will give you the best understanding of what you can actually expect from working with that photographer.

Groomsmen cheer as a bride takes a puff from a cigar and cringes at a Buffalo wedding reception.

2. Build a relationship with your photographer.

As bold and discreet as photographers have to be to document candid images, you have to be comfortable with them for it to work. I’ve found that my clients are most comfortable after we’ve built a relationship. That’s the beauty of engagement sessions and phone calls before the wedding day. Once you’ve gotten to know and trust me, it’s easier for you to be in the moment on your wedding day.

Two grooms kneel down to pet a dog during their recessional at their backyard wedding in candid wedding photography.

3. Prioritize interactions with guests.

There’s an old stereotype that people are too busy at their weddings to talk to their guests. Design your day so that you get to interact with them. Talk to old friends. Hug your people. Those moments are way more fulfilling than cramming every possible event into your reception. They’re also candid wedding photography gold.

Guests in cocktail attire drink wine and laugh on a patio during a wedding cocktail hour.

4. Go for the first look.

Whether you go for a private first look or have loved ones present, nothing quite compares to that first “look at my person” moment. The happy tears and overwhelmed smiles make the kind of photos that you’ll look at years from now and think, “I remember exactly how breathtaking that moment was.”

A bride and groom kiss at their first look in candid wedding photography.

5. Make the most of natural light.

Candid wedding photography is possible in any conditions, but it’s especially lovely in natural light. Your photographer can work with you to pick the optimal locations for different parts of the day, such as the first look and portraits.

A Buffalo bride and groom kiss on a windy sidewalk in a candid wedding photo.

6. Encourage your officiant or M/C to have fun, too.

It’s easy to overlook the fact that your officiant is in a lot of your ceremony photos. Tell them to have a good time. Get some laughs in. Your guests will love it. An M/C can really get the crowd going, too.

A bride and groom laugh along with their wedding officiant at a ceremony in a Buffalo wedding venue.

7. Be open and present.

No matter what’s going on, remember that you’re in the midst of your wedding day. You’ve put a lot of time, energy, creativity, and love into making it happen. Your candid wedding photography will be more joyful if you stop to take it all in. Feel your feels, and be in the moment with your people. Being vulnerable with a camera around can be a little unnerving, but that’s another reason why it’s so helpful to develop a relationship with your photographer before the big day.

A woman smiles at a man singing into a microphone at a wedding reception in Buffalo.

8. Get on the dance floor!

When all of the big events wrap up, there’s nothing left to do but hit the dance floor. You never know who will surprise you by busting a move. Don’t be afraid to join your guests in getting down to your favorite songs. These photos bring another level to your gallery that you don’t get with portraits earlier in the day.

A bride and bridesmaids dance through a cloud of bubbles at an Avanti wedding mansion.

When I say you can trust me on this, I mean you can trust me. Energetic dance floor photos are kind of my thing! If you’re wondering how to keep people shaking it on the dance floor all night, check out this blog post. You’re bound to find tips that make your dance party unforgettable.

Two marriers lean towards each other laughing as they dance in a circle with guests in candid wedding photography.

Are you interested in having me document your wedding with candid wedding photography? Let’s turn your vibrant moments into your most cherished photos. Inquire with me here!



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