10 Candid Wedding Photography Tips
I have been doing candid wedding photography for around 8 years now, it’s becoming more and more the norm as opposed to old fashioned ‘posed’ wedding pictures. I decided to compile a list of my best candid wedding photography tips for you guys!
1. Don’t use flash. By using flash is a surefire way for your subject to instantly be aware you are taking a picture of them. By turning your flash off you will be substantially less noticeable to your subjects and able to achieve more candid images.
2. In addition, if you can have your shutter sound set to silent (or a quieter setting if this is available), not all cameras have this setting but if yours does it’s a good idea to utilize it. The less obvious it is that you are taking pictures the more of a likelihood you will achieve the candid images you desire.
3. Don’t interact with your subject matter, if you say something along the lines of ‘Say cheese!’ any authentic interaction that may have been taking place will be ruined, and instead, you will have a group shot of people artificially smiling at you… Not the vibe you were going for!
4. My number one rule is to have your shot lined up (composed, focused, etc.) and wait with my eye watching through the viewfinder. You simply then watch and wait… wait until that moment of laughter in the conversation or the hug you anticipated happens. As you photograph in this style for a while you start to develop a sense for when moments like these are about to happen.
5. Shoot in burst mode/continuous shot mode if the moment is particularly key (e.g the kiss during a wedding ceremony), by combining this tip with the previous one you are bound to capture the desired moment in an unobtrusive manner. By shooting in burst mode the likelihood of you achieving your shot increases tenfold. If you don’t know how to apply this setting on your camera Google it as its found in a different place on different cameras. Here is an example set of instructions for Nikon.
6. Using a zoom lens will help you be as unobtrusive as you can be, you could be standing photographing someone on the other side of the room without them noticing. However, there is a downside to using a zoom lens and that is that they often have a higher minimum aperture (around f/ 5) which directly affects your shutter speed and how quick it is (slower shutter speed = more blurry pictures) and when you are photographing weddings (as I do) you are often thrust into low light environments. I personally only use prime lenses (fixed length) which have a minimum aperture of around (f/ 1.8) which means my shutter speeds are over twice as fast as a zoom lens equivalent… Just a little food for thought!
7. Which ties nicely into my next tip. Use a fast shutter speed (as fast as you can sacrifice with your ISO) when people are interacting, they tend to move a lot! When you have your camera set to shutter priority mode or ideally full manual mode you need to make sure your shutter speed is set to a MINIMUM of 1/60 (the more the merrier) if you are holding the camera in your hand otherwise you will have blurry images. If you are using a monopod of tripod you will have less of an issue with this…
8. Another option to think about is to invest in a smaller mirrorless camera, these are often a little bit on the pricey side but worth it as they are more lightweight and often a lot smaller than their DSLR counterparts (and thus less noticeable). An example being the Nikon Z6.
9. One of my favorite things to photograph is people laughing and interacting in groups. Because people in these groups will be focused on their conversation and the people within the group they will be far less focused on you taking their picture.
10. A short but key one! Know your equipment inside out! You do not want to miss the shot because you are too busy fiddling with the camera settings!
The main thing to draw from this is to have your camera ready to shoot at all times and wait, wait for those perfect and beautiful moments to come. Over time you will develop your sense of when these are about to arrive.