Candid Wedding Photography, How I Work, Wedding

Wedding Photography Priorities

What’s Your Priority?

Candids, or Formals, or Details…?

Who doesn’t want it all? Candids, formals, details, and the like. But what is most important at any given point in time? Weddings are too big, too hectic, with too many things happening at once to capture every moment, every detail, every interaction. Any photographer who tells you they capture everything is not being straight with you, because it simply cannot be done.

All photographers prioritize. Priorities let the photographer know where to point the camera when there are a dozen things to capture simultaneously. Do I photograph a hearty bear hug between the father of the bride and the father of the groom or the centerpieces on the tables? Do I photograph the guests leaving the church or the first tender moments between the newlyweds?

That’s not to say that you won’t get a little bit of everything. Even candid photographers generally photograph formals and details. You’ll simply get more of one kind of photo at the expense of the others. Don’t expect equal coverage of every type.

My Priorities:

Traditional wedding events such as the ceremony itself, cutting the cake, or the first dance is naturally my top priority. Essentially what all wedding photographers do. (In strictly traditional wedding photography, this is all that’s captured.)

Traditional Moments

Natural interactions, emotions, unplanned moments, or just great expressions. This is what real memories are made of. Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing random about this type of photography. It’s exceptionally difficult to do well. This is my real strength and why couples generally hire me over other photographers.

Tender Moments


Just the Gals

Scenes that are staged, but not posed. For example, we may sneak away and find a quiet spot but I’ll tell you to ignore me. Take a few minutes to talk or kiss or laugh. Whatever you want, but don’t smile at the camera! Even though the overall goal of this “get away” is to get some photos, I still want the time to be natural without a lot of interference.

Quiet Moments
First Dance

Formals and posed photos. I have only four “must have” formals in my mind (bride alone, groom alone, bride and groom together, and the whole wedding party). All other groupings, including parents, family, and friends are done by request. I’m glad to do them for you, but I don’t automatically assume they are desired.

Relaxed Formals

Details. Flowers, shoes, rings, centerpieces. Yes, I capture them, but they’re somewhat down the list. I’ll generally capture these shots when there is a break in the action. If there is no break, if things are happening fast and furiously, I’ll direct my attention to the laughs, tears, and general goings-on. I’ll capture a special moment between the bride and her mother than a still life of her shoes every time.

The Little Details

Smile-for-the-camera poses. These are the absolute bottom of my list. I never initiate them. The only time I do them is when I’m specifically asked. They have nothing to do with capturing a memory, except maybe, “so-and-so was at my wedding.” That’s not a memory – that’s a record.

Line Up and Smile!

By always staying true to my priorities, couples know what to expect. I’ll always favor natural interactions over details, but I still capture details. I’ll always favor naturalistic staged shots over the traditional formals “line up,” but you still get them (if you really want). And I’ll go for documentary over smile-for-the-camera every time.


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