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How to take interesting wedding photos

by | 31 January 2015 | Guests

Let’s be honest: wedding guests usually don’t take great photos.

There’ll be endless snaps of the cake cutting, the speeches and the confetti throwing – then lots of posed, smiley head shots, in which eyes get gradually more glazed as the booze flows. The problem here is that the pro photographer will have all that stuff covered – and his or her photos will look much better than yours.

But the pro photographer can only ever be in one place. So the key for interesting wedding photos is to snap the moments the pro misses – and to do it with some creative flair.

So here’s a quick-fire guide to taking wedding photos that’ll make the bride say “wow, that’s a great one!” over and over again.

Meet the pro

Sam Reed is a freelance wedding photographer from Wirksworth, Derbyshire who shoots weddings throughout the UK. His style is all about storytelling – capturing ‘real moments’ of pure emotion that can’t be faked. Here, Sam gives us his top tips on how to take interesting, unique wedding photos.

Stolen moment

Try to snap ‘stolen moments’ instead of posed shots

Getting people to pose and smile for photos pulls them out of the moment, so the photo doesn’t say much. The happy couple are much more likely to enjoy photos of nice moments they missed on the day.

“Anticipation is the key,” Sam tells us. “Think ahead and use your knowledge of the guests to predict what might happen. If, for example, you know a grandparent is about to meet a grandchild for the first time, make sure you’re ready and in a great position”.

Focus on details

Think about the details

Everyone photographs the big, obvious things. Try looking a bit closer.

“Although peoples’ faces and expressions can be the focus for some great shots, don’t overlook the details. A well framed shot of a detail can tell its own story. It could be anything from a closeup of holding hands to objects like hats or shoes.”

Not centre of shot

Don’t always make your subject (the thing or person you’re photographing) the centre of your shot

Because that’s boring. Especially if you’re in an interesting location.

“A central subject sometimes works well,” says Sam. “But often you get a more interesting composition by having your subject off to one side. The rest of the scene will become more important and add to the story being told in the image.”

Not shot from head height

Don’t take wide angle (fully zoomed out) shots of people from head height

“It’s almost always an unflattering perspective – making peoples’ heads look large and their legs look short (not a good look). Instead, keep your camera or phone less wide, or even zoomed in a bit. Dropping the camera’s height down to your subject’s chest height, or even lower, will give more flattering results – especially if you’re shooting them head-to-toe.”

Be creative with angles

Get creative with angles

“Try shooting from above or below to capture something a bit different. Also think about shooting through something or from behind something (or someone). As long as you’re not blocking your main subject completely, it adds depth and interest to the image.”

Think of those great shots you see of people reflected in mirrors or shot over someone’s shoulder for an interesting perspective.

General great shot

And finally, some technical tips

“If you’ve got a choice of cameras, go for one that doesn’t have a long delay between pressing the button and taking the shot. It’ll help you capture the perfect moment.”

“Be careful when taking pictures in intense midday sun. It can cause harsh shadows on faces and your camera might struggle to cope with the contrast. (It also makes people squint.)”

So get out there and get snapping

Just remember to look around you and see what everyone else is photographing. If everyone is doing the same thing, you can either shoot something different, or shoot the same thing from a different perspective – or in a different style.

You won’t get a great photo every time while you’re experimenting, but even if most of them are trash: would you rather have 50 decent but totally vanilla photos, or 15 really interesting, unique shots to show the happy couple?

Check out www.samreedphotography.co.uk to see more of Sam’s gorgeous photos, as well as his FAQs and pricing info.

About the author

Matt Phil Carver

Matt’s a copywriter and blogger from West Sussex, England. He spends his days helping people simplify their writing and give their words more punch and personality. At weddings, Matt’s always quick to get up and dance, even when the vicar’s telling him to wait for the reception.

2 Comments

  1. G a r y Trotman

    The biggest issue we find is getting guests, family and friends to actively share the pictures they have taken. Things have changed greatly as you no longer need to carry a DSLR camera, so many people use their mobile phones which are capable of taking great shots (especially candid ones) – so after taking those great shots, there needs to be the incentive and vehicle to get them to share!!

  2. Matt Phil Carver

    Thanks for commenting, Gary.
    I agree, there’s no point having guests take great shots if they don’t share them around. One thing we really want to do with our popup sites is make it easier for couples to engage with their guests all at once – before the wedding and after. So photos are definitely part of that. Facebook is good for photo sharing, but only among guests who have each other as friends. So we plan for our popup sites to be the vehicle and the incentive to share great photos. mpc

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