Photo of a bride kissing her groom on the cheek with the text "How To Capture Candid Wedding Moments" photographed by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikkolas Nguyen

How to Capture Candid Wedding Moments

As a wedding photographer, you probably have thousands of images of group shots, portraits, and wedding-day details, and there is no doubt that couples love the traditional, formal, posed photos we take of them and their guests during the big day. But oftentimes, they love the candid shots even more. It’s those personal, fleeting moments that round out the wedding story and make for beautiful additions to the album.

A young flower girl twirls in her dress while at a wedding at Dove Hollow Estate in Longview, Texas by Austin Texas wedding photographer Nikkolas Nguyen

Photographing candid moments requires an alert eye and quick feet. You must stay on your toes at all times, but also stay in the moment.

If you want to capture more beautiful candid wedding photos, keep these tips in mind and remember that practice makes perfect. 

Have a second shooter.

There is no way you can be everywhere at once, so having a second shooter on deck can be a huge benefit when it comes to photographing candids.

Take photos of guests before the ceremony starts.

Scan the crowd, watch facial expressions, take several shots before the ceremony starts and see what transpires. But be a little sneaky; once people see you have the camera pointed at them, they are likely to pose.

Two men assist an elderly woman as she walks through a door for a wedding, photographed by Austin Texas wedding photographer Nikkolas Nguyen

Capture moments before and after formal portraits.

These in between times can be golden moments and can include things like the guests’ reaction of the bride and groom’s reception entrance, mingling during the cocktail hour, and the ring bearers and flower girls interacting with each other and the bride and groom.

Be a few minutes ahead of the couple.

Plan, plan, plan. Scout the location beforehand so you get an idea of where you’d like to be and when. Anticipate those fleeting moments.

Snap the imperfect moments.

Like when the bride and maid of honor are trying to gather the kids for a group shot, but the kids just aren’t cooperating. Imperfect moments can be just as priceless and posed ones. Maybe even more so.

A groom stands outside weeping as he reads his wedding vows to his bride at Lucky Arrow Retreat in Dripping Springs, Texas. photographed by Austin Texas wedding photographer Nikkolas Nguyen

Don’t stop shooting after the traditional/posed photos.

You’ve snapped the couple cutting the cake and maybe even the obligatory cake-in-the-face shot, but don’t stop there. Don’t underestimate what might happen next. You may end up capturing fun and intimate candid moments.

Invest in a zoom lens.

As mentioned above, when people see a camera pointed at them, they are more likely to pose. Candids are easier to capture when you’re further away from the action, making a zoom lens a worthy investment.

Related: Essential Wedding Photography Gear

Take lots of shots because at a wedding, more is more.

They won’t all be beautiful or funny or worth a pinch of salt, but the ones that are will be cherished forever. 

Once you’ve collected some candid photos that you love, don’t be afraid to include them in your portfolio or wedding blog posts. People love seeing what is possible for their own wedding photos, so showing them that you are capable of capturing both the traditional and candid moments can increase your chances of getting the job.

Related: Tips to Guarantee Great Wedding Photos

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