So, you want great candids? Seeing as we’re documentary photographers, this is what our clients tell us is most important to them. Although it might appear that amazing moments happen organically (and sometimes you get lucky and they do!), there are a few things you can do when planning your wedding to help set the stage (see what I did there?) for awesome candids. Keep reading to learn about our tips for getting great candid photos at your wedding.
Be present with everyone who’s there to celebrate you.
One of the reasons why weddings are so fun is because they bring together everyone important in your lives into a single space. Everyone at your wedding is there because they love you and want to celebrate you so soak that all up.
Try to limit your wedding day to-do list so that you can relax and enjoy being with all your people. Being fully present and as relaxed as possible will allow you to be vulnerable with your emotions which will lead to great moments. Plus, it will be way more enjoyable for you.
Take care of all the planning beforehand and let someone else worry about the execution on the day of.
Have an unplugged wedding.
We can’t tell you how many times we’ve photographed ceremonies where parents are taking photos on their iPad in the front row during their kids’ vows. We’re not saying our pictures are going to be better than theirs but… our pictures are going to be better than theirs AND they’re missing a big part of this huge milestone in their child’s life. PLEASE don’t be that parent.
We all know everyone wants their own instant photos and selfies are a genuinely fun activity for many, BUT the more people are focused on posing for Instagram and Snapchat the less likely they are going to be able to let their guard down for spontaneous moments. Having an unplugged wedding will help your guests be fully present. Isn’t it ironic how phones, which literally are tools for communicating, make it harder for people to actually connect in person?
Pad your schedule.
Allow for downtime throughout your wedding day - while getting ready, before and after the ceremony and during the reception. This will let you interact with people in a relaxed manner which will encourage more moments.
Also, minimize time spent transporting from place to place. If you’re running around a bunch you won’t have time to get any candids.
Trust your photographer.
Real moments happen when you can just be yourself so choose a photographer you feel comfortable with and who can fit in well with your crew. It can be unnerving having cameras (photo and video) following you all day so work with someone you can relax around.
We also meet with our couples before the wedding to talk through all locations, their likes/dislikes so that on the day of they can trust us to create photos that are taking into account their ideas.
Take care of your guests.
I don’t just mean ply them with alcohol, but that can work. If your guests are having a great time it will be a lot easier to make great candid images of them.
Embrace the unexpected.
From a cat that got into a wedding cake to random kids lining up in their swimming gear to watch a baraat every wedding will have unexpected additions, subtractions and diversions. Let go of your expectations. You have already done everything you can to make your day perfect, and now it is time to live in our imperfect but amazing reality. These moments aren’t ruining your wedding. They are creating lasting memories that will endear your wedding to you and your guests for a lifetime. Great pictures, perhaps the best images that we create, are made at these moments.
Surprises for guests, not photographers.
It’s awesome when people plan surprises at weddings, but just remember to give your photographer a heads up. Even though we’re trained to react quickly knowing what’s going to happen next is definitely helpful and lets us plan for better pictures. We may need to change the light, get in a different position for a better angle or be on the lookout for reactions.
These are just a few of our ideas for getting amazing candids that we’ve honed in on along our journey of photographing many MANY weddings. Basically, great documentary photography comes from the anticipation of a moment so give yourselves, your guests and your photographers space and time to be real.
We’ll do another post soon on how to select the right documentary wedding photographer.