How To Help Your Photographer Capture Amazing Candid Photos

Three ways you can ensure your photographer doesn't miss any unexpected moments.

Formal, posed portraits are lovely, but the candid photos are the ones that will help you remember how you really felt on your special day. Find out how to prepare for the unexpected moments!

Photo: Braedon Photography

I love every part of photographing a wedding. I love finding just the right spot and just the right light to get those classic portraits of the couple. I love documenting the carefully chosen details. But the aspect of the day that I am the most passionate about, the aspect that gets me really excited, is photographing the organic, candid moments that just happen – capturing those images that truly help you remember the incredible emotion of your wedding. 

Documenting those moments for my clients is one of my absolute favorite parts about my job. But doing so is one of the trickier aspects of wedding photography, because by definition, candid moments are unexpected. After shooting weddings for the past 14 years, I have realized that there are actually some simple tips I can give my clients to maximize those precious candid photos.

Expert Tips for Great Candid Wedding Photos

1. Create a solid timeline.

Believe it or not, having a well-thought-out wedding timeline is one of the most important factors in getting those great moments in your photos. It is not only key in terms of having plenty of time for stunning portraits of you and your families, but a solid timeline also allows space in the schedule for great moments to unfold.

For example, in the image below, the bride was ready and dressed well within the time allotted, and we still had a little time before heading to the ceremony. Her father also still had time before he had to get dressed, and he asked if he could come in and see her in her dress for the first time. It was such a special, beautiful moment between the two of them. Had she been running late and rushing to get to the ceremony, we never would have had this lovely photo – one of her favorites (and mine!).

candid wedding photo

Photo by Laurie Bailey Photography; Planning & Design by Linda Howard Events; From Real Wedding: Shabby Chic & Garden-Inspired Malibu, California Wedding

Another reason the timeline is crucial is because it keeps the day running smoothly, which in turn keeps everyone relaxed and able to enjoy each part of the celebration. It has been said many times that your wedding day can feel like it flies by, but a little extra space in the schedule works wonders to help everyone be present for each and every moment.

2. Do not feel the need to always look at the camera.

Your photographer will be taking lots of photos all day long. For the majority of them, it's honestly better to ignore the camera! A good photographer will gently direct you when to look at him or her. She will absolutely tell you when she would like to see your beautiful faces. But most of the time, if you can pretend the camera isn’t even there, and keep doing what you are doing, you will help your photographer help you get much better images of the real moments.

3. Live in the moment, and don't sweat the small stuff.

After months and months of planning a wedding, it can be hard to know when to let go and trust that the day will unfold and everything will be perfect, even if there is a bump or two here and there. The best thing you can do for yourself and your wedding photos is to just be present and enjoy your day. A great way to start the day relaxed is with music! Having music and a specially chosen getting-ready playlist playing in the background while you are getting ready does wonders for not only calming any wedding-day jitters, but also by creating a great atmosphere for everyone in the room.

As the day progresses, if things do come up, keep them in perspective. One wedding that I photographed had an interesting problem: the cake didn't show up! The coordinator ran out to a nearby supermarket and bought every dessert and pie they had and made a fabulous impromptu dessert table. The guests had no idea but were thrilled and thought it was such a nice alternative to the traditional wedding cake. 

You've planned and planned and chances are that everything will fall into place beautifully. But if little problems pop up, keep it all in perspective and remember that you are marrying your soulmate surrounded by family and friends. That's what really matters. If you can remember this, the day will be fabulous no matter what, and that will be captured in your photos.