If you’ve saved reels, pins, or posts of couples on their wedding day and thought, “That’s how I want to look in my photos!”, then keep reading. Capturing natural and candid images seems so simple, right? Let’s just say it doesn’t always turn out that way. So many couples ask me how to capture these “Pinterest worthy” wedding photos, so here’s the secret. The thing not everyone tells you: those photos often don’t “just happen”, but they also can totally happen for you! Sounds confusing? That’s ok, I’m going to break it down for you.
So, what do I mean by natural and candid photos? Those flowy, effortless images that seemed to just catch the couple in the perfect moment, well those don’t typically “just happen”. Usually these were created in a controlled environment by a wedding photographer! So, take that as a huge positive.
What that means, is that if you don’t feel like a natural in front of the camera but want to look natural in front of the camera, your wedding photographer can help you accomplish that!
This is something that I absolutely pride myself on in my business. It’s a priority for me to make each of my couples feel at ease and assured that we will get those key photos for them. All it takes is a little trust, and I will get them their perfect photos. So how do I do it? Let’s map it out.
1. Pep talks are key
Unless you’re Bella Hadid, I know it can be hard and awkward to be thrown in front of a camera. So, I like to give my clients a little pep talk before portraits start on the big day! I’ll lay out the groundwork for those beautiful candid photos, share a few tips and tricks, and of course throw in the reminder to have fun! It may sound corny, but it’s true. I let couples know that they can’t mess up anything I ask them to do, and feeling silly is all part of the process! This pep talk is key to creating that controlled and safe space to get those natural candids with my couples.
2. Ignorance is bliss
Ignoring a huge camera in your face is easier said than done, but it’s crucial. The next ingredient to natural candid photos, is really just forgetting about the camera staring at you! It typically takes a few minutes to warm up to this during portraits, but it really can happen. Instead of trying to focus on where I am pointing the camera or where you think you need to be looking and smiling, just focus on your partner and the direction I am giving you! A candid photo will look much more candid if you’re not worried about where the camera is.
3. Trust the timeline
With wedding day timelines, I always create 30-60 minute intervals instead of having things written down to the minute. Wedding days almost always vary from the original timeline, so larger blocks of time give us more wiggle room to adjust wherever needed! The larger time slots also give us more room for freedom to move things around if necessary.
Sometimes looking at a timeline can feel overwhelming. Having 30 minutes for a first look may seem like a ridiculous amount of time, but trust me when I say more is less. Yes… you read that right. More time, more wiggle room, and more freedom creates less stress, less rush, and less panic. This will help your timeline run seamlessly. You may not think that it will take 30 minutes to do a first look, but know that it’s better to have extra time than to feel stressed.
For example, during the first look I give my couples a chance to really talk and soak in the moment instead of jumping straight to portraits. It’s so important to carve that time into the day! I also love splitting up portraits into 3 chunks throughout the wedding day. You’re going to feel more relaxed throughout the day, so it’s great to capture natural photos during the first look, after the ceremony, and during sunset. Each of those portraits will have a little bit of a different candid feel to them.
4. Get ready to move
This tip is number four on the list, but number one in my heart. Cheesy, right? The ultimate way to get natural and candid photos is to move around! My posing style is very fluid and falls more into “gentle direction” rather than “posing”. I like to give my clients prompts like “walk towards me holding hands”, so that their personalities shine through. Allowing clients to interpret gentle direction gives them the chance to actually be natural! When you are being photographed by me, you’re going to be moving, dancing, and walking! Be prepared to move around because this is going to feel and look natural on camera. But have no fear, I won’t be asking you to run a marathon in your wedding dress!
Above all, enjoy your wedding day and focus on your partner! I will be guiding you throughout your entire day, capturing true candids, and gently directing you to create the candid moments that you’re going to want to pin yourself! It’s my job as your wedding photographer to help create the environment for you to feel at ease and it’s a job that I take very seriously.