Photographing a Wedding: 7 Must-Capture Moments

Posted by on Mar 12, 2014 in Photography | Comments


Forget about the tired 50 shots that everyone gets at a wedding. Instead, focus on those few key moments that have the potential to truly capture the essence of emotions that happen on a couple’s wedding day. If you can focus on perfecting these seven shots when photographing a wedding, I promise your clients will love you until death do us part.

Check out the moments no wedding photographer should forget!

Groom waiting for his bride photo - Craftsy.com

1. Groom waiting for his bride

One of my favorite wedding moments — and one big reason why I recommend working with a second shooter — is when the groom first sees his bride as she walks down the aisle.

Regardless of whether or not they saw each other before the ceremony, this is typically the one time the groom will be overcome with emotion. This is definitely an image worth capturing.

2. Bride with her father

Right before the bride walks down the aisle, she has but a moment with her father. It’s but an instant of stillness and quiet before the roller coaster of emotions. This is the last chance her father has to be with his little girl before giving her away.

It’s a unique, candid moment, with more emotion than later portraits taken during the wedding party posing. Being able to capture all of the full weight of this interaction in a single photo takes tact and timing. Sometimes you need to coach them along to look at each other lovingly — sometimes you need to stay behind the scenes and out of the way.

First Kiss Wedding Photo on Craftsy

3. A couple’s first kiss

The first kiss is a no-brainer. It’s special. It’s romantic. People are cheering. In many ceremonies, the first kiss remains the culmination of the ceremony.

It doesn’t matter if it’s sloppy or awkward. The first kiss as husband and wife is special and something to be remembered!

Note: Trust us when we say, you do not want to miss capturing the first kiss!

Beautiful recessional photo - Craftsy

4. Bride and groom recessional

After the first kiss, all the nervousness goes away. The ceremony is over and the pressure is off. When a bride and groom walk back down the aisle, together, there is a magical sense of relief. During the quick walk down the aisle, you will likely get the biggest smiles and most spirited reactions from your clients.

And don’t forget the guests! This is a great time to get some really funny interactions and reactions among the guests.

5. First dance

Early on in the reception, the bride and groom will typically have their first dance. Sometimes, the couple acts as if they are the only ones in the room, allowing you to take some intimate and romantic portraits. Other times, they interact with the people around them, smiling at parents, quipping with the bridal party or even looking directly into the camera.

This dance, plus the father/daughter and mother/son dances, are times when emotions are running high. You have to be ready to capture the special moments that surround these meaningful relationships.

Heart-warming photo of bride&grandfather - Craftsy.com

6. The extra special something

Many of my clients do something personal, which I tend to know about it in advance. This is more than typical wedding events, like cutting the wedding cake. Rather, it’s something meaningful that took extra time and effort for the couple to plan.

One time, it was a dance with a grandparent. Another time, it was the best man’s first sip of beer in his life, taken right after toasting the couple. My personal favorite was when a bride presented her parents with a surprise anniversary gift.

Plan ahead with your client to ensure you capture this personal wedding event!

7. The big exit

In the old days, it was customary to throw rice over the couple as they left the wedding. Nowadays, people celebrate with bubbles, sparklers or confetti.

At this point in the wedding, most people have had a few drinks, so you never know what kind of shenanigans may happen! Be prepared to follow the bride and groom as they exit in order to capture the candid interactions they have with each other and the guests.

Photographing these important moments will not only delight your clients but will also pad your portfolio with touching shots that every new couple will want to have!

Capturing candid moments is wonderful, but you can re-create equally beautiful interactions! Learn how to create stunning, romantic wedding portraits in the Craftsy class Wedding Photography: The Romantic Portrait Session.

What else would you include on this list?