As a photographer I approach every wedding as a story to be told – a documentary, spontaneous and capturing natural wedding moments . But, I do get asked many times how do I ensure important moments are still captured if I don’t work to a list. So, without further ado here’s my personal guide to the key moments of a day that inevitably happen and how I capture them naturally without the need for that list!
That first ‘look’ as a father (or mother) sees his daughter for the first time when she is in her bridal gown and ‘ready’ can be incredibly moving and move even the most dispassionate of souls. But, what I would say is that it isn’t always about capturing tears – there may not be any! This moment may be more about capturing the smile of your father beaming with pride and unconditional love. It could be about catching that moment as you reassure him or as he gives you a reassuring helping hand. The most moving moment is often that last moment before you take those steps down the aisle. It’s like it’s only you two. It’s a shot that’s different for every bride but one I need no reminder to make sure I am ready and anticipating that moment.
This is one shot that features on many lists in bridal magazines, that eventually finds itself on a bride’s list sometimes expressed as ‘capture my husband-to-be shedding a tear as he sees me’. My heart does sink a little if I see this. Don’t get me wrong it’s a lovely moment to capture but it is influenced by so many things:
What I would advise is don’t fixate or stress too much about this – there are solutions!
Assuming I’m at the front, what I will capture is the emotion between you both, whatever that is – a smile, tears, or just a nervous look!
If I’m at the back the focus will be on capturing the relief and joy as you exit and the emotions of the groom should he turn toward you as you approach and of course the interaction between you as you turn to each other to take your vows.
Let’s assume there is a kiss! This always comes at a defined point in the ceremony so knowing the timing of it isn’t difficult. My approach is to get this shot from a distance rather than really close in as it’s just as important to capture the little hand gestures and expressions between a couple as this happens. It’s a moment of joy and tenderness mixed with a whole amount of smiling and laughing.
A mix of formal portraits of bride and groom and witnesses, along with more spontaneous moments works well here. I think the natural spontaneous shots capture the emotion of the day in little gestures and smiles. I love the shot of Nick and his mum as they watch his new wife Becky sign the register and love the tableau of the witnesses chatting as they await their turn to sign the register at Kathryn and Jonathan’s wedding. It’s also a moment that the priest or celebrant is quite relaxed. I will often position myself to the side or rear of proceedings and move closer in and to the front for the more stylised shots.
It’s time for tears, nerves and the emotions of expressing in words the journey that had led you to this day. I’ll usually position myself in front of the table and for some shots alongside. This gives me a view of the reactions of bride, loved ones and the guests. I don’t normally use flash so it isn’t intrusive but my warning flags are poorly seated guests and large high flower arrangements which can sometimes interfere with getting a great shot so I usually make sure I can move to another position if necessary.
Now, here’s a tricky one. Dance shots are something that I love to capture and can look amazing. But, with dances ranging from highly stylised affairs worthy of ‘Strictly’ through to awkward shuffles that wouldn’t look out of place at a teenage dance, it’s really important that you think about how you want to remember this point of the day and remember to tell me your intentions – so that I can get in position. It’s great to be able to get different angles or to capture movement of the dress. I love the movement of Kate’s dress as Andy swirls her round the dance floor at The Sculpture Gallery, Woburn.
I confess to it not being my favourite type of shot, but it can be great fun. Rather than the usual hands holding knife on cake in a darkened corner I look for different angles, to capture the excitement and anticipation of you and your guests as you prepare to cut. Looking out at guests can be amazing and my favourite cake shots are from an Italian wedding where the cake is assembled in front of guests and Mel and Rock who just laughed the whole way through their cake cutting at Christ’s College Cambridge.
This is one part of the day that needs time – surprisingly brides and grooms often find themselves with little time together at the reception. I love to capture you together as naturally as possible but I do need you to extricate yourselves from your guests for just 15 minutes or so to get those shots. Just having a moment to chat to each other, to reflect on and absorb the day and enjoy each other’s company is priceless and the shots captured as you do that are timeless and beautifully romantic.
Thank you to all the couples who made these great shots possible.
I hope you have some wonderful heartfelt moments on your day and I’d love to capture them for you and tell the story of your day. Contact me to discuss your plans and see how your story can be told beautifully, naturally and sensitively.
Hi, I'm Kevin, a professional, award-winning wedding photographer based in Cambridge, now with a second base in Cornwall! I love working across the UK, Europe (especially Italy) and beyond. I have a passion for travel, and I enjoy the outdoors. When I'm not working, you’ll find me running across the countryside or walking on the beach with my chocolate Labrador, recharging for the next fantastic adventure!
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