The Rise of Candid Wedding Photography: a Documentary-Style Approach

The buzzword “candid photographs” has taken over the wedding photography industry as of late. More and more couples are falling head over heels for these “perfectly imperfect” shots that seem to effortlessly freeze moments in time. Gone are the days of the bride and groom jump shot, the posing behind an empty picture frame (why was this ever a thing??), and the classic bridesmaids and groomsmen pulling the couple apart as they kiss. While those may be the most outdated, cliché examples, they’re exactly what candids aren’t– Overly. Posed.

Candid wedding photography often aligns with a documentary or photojournalistic style. It’s a hands-off approach where photographers capture the flow of events as they unfold naturally. Of course, there are times when we might need to step in for adjustments or specific shots, but the focus remains on capturing you and your loved ones authentically in the moment.

In this blog, we’ll go over all the nitty gritty details on how to get those coveted, documentary-style candids for your wedding photography.

Candid documentary-style wedding photography.

How to Get More Candid Photographs on Your Wedding Day

Live in the Now

The number one, most important rule if you want candid photographs on your wedding day is to be present. Like fully, 100% in the moment, present. No stressing about the small stuff.

This is much easier said than done, but here are a few things you can do if you struggle with staying living in the moment:

  • Practice Mindfulness – Incorporate mindfulness exercises into your daily routine NOW. Take a few moments each day to breathe deeply, ground yourself, and appreciate what’s around you.
  • Get Comfortable with Your Photographer – It’s so much easier to be yourself when you’re comfortable with the person behind the camera. Booking a pre-wedding or engagement session is a perfect way to let loose and get friendly with your photographer.
  • Delegate – Assign someone you trust to handle any last-minute issues or concerns that may arise. Knowing that you have a reliable person in charge can help you stay focused on enjoying the moment.
  • Take Breaks – Schedule short breaks throughout the day to spend alone time with your partner. These moments can be so grounding and allow you to really soak in the experience together.

Allow Lots of Buffer Time Between Events

Speaking of breaks, creating extra room in your wedding timeline is essential. Rushed schedules and tight timelines can make it very challenging for couples to relax and be themselves. And as we’ve learned, staying present is key. An extra 15 minutes here and there can work wonders!

Embrace the Unprompted Moments

Some of the most cherished wedding photos are those that are completely unplanned. The cute kisses, gentle touches of the hand, and belly laughs at an inside joke– unprompted and full of raw emotion. These shots tell the story of your day, which can be relived each time you flip through your wedding album.

Extend the Festivities

Your wedding celebrations usually don’t wrap up immediately after your photographer coverage is over. The essence of candid wedding photography is capturing the unscripted beauty of your day as it naturally unfolds. Give yourselves the gift of extra time by extending your photography coverage. You won’t feel rushed or pressured to stick to a tight schedule. Instead, you’ll have the freedom to immerse yourselves in the festivities and savor every moment. Read more on why I suggest full weekend coverage for your wedding here.

Documentary style candid wedding photography exit.

So, do you prefer a more posed or candid/documentary style for wedding photography? There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s all about what resonates with you and your partner. Some couples opt for a mix of both styles to capture the full spectrum of their wedding day, from the intimate candid moments to the beautifully posed portraits.

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