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Possible Fleeting Moments a Wedding Photographer Can Look Out For


Telling the story of one of the most memorable days for a couple should always be front of mind. As much as you need to focus on the bigger tasks during the wedding day, don’t neglect the smaller details. Think little conversations between the newlyweds and their parents, their subtle embrace and heartfelt smiles, those special moments. Check out some of those moments to look out for below! 


Getting Ready

EOS 5D Mark IV, EF40mm f/2.8 STM, f/2.8, ISO 500, 1/250s, 40mm
by @arjunkhandelwalphotography

The process of getting ready includes the bride and groom preparing for their big day, containing moments such as putting on makeup and getting dressed up. They can also include certain traditional routines, such as praying to ancestors or eating a certain dish. These ‘getting ready’ moments show what it is like before the big event and offer sneak peeks of what is to come. These moments can sometimes be staged, especially for the final touches, like parents putting the veil on the bride. 

EOS 5D Mark IV, EF85mm f/1.8 USM, f/1.8, ISO 800, 1/200s, 85mm
by @arjunkhandelwalphotography

We would suggest getting information from your client on what is unique to their process when getting ready. With this knowledge, you can anticipate it and capture the perfect moment when it happens. You should also arrive early to ensure that you have ample time to prepare for these shots. You can also take the time to bond with the couple’s family members so it will be less awkward when including them in your shots during the main wedding event later. 

Family Love

A brief exchange between the parents and the couple, a subtle embrace with the grandparents, or words of reassurance from other relatives. These ‘family love’ moments are often filled with genuine and sometimes tear-jerking tenderness, making them great ways to bring emotions into a wedding album. 

EOS R, RF35mm f/1.8 MACRO IS STM, f/2.8, ISO 1250, 1/100s, 35mm 
by @ndrewphotography

For these shots, we would suggest using either a 35mm or 50mm. The recommended focal lengths have the closest perspective to the human eye and will be most flattering for portraitures or shots from the waist up (which is exactly what you will be capturing for the ‘family love’ moments). They are also perfect for creating bokeh that will frame your subjects while blurring the distracting elements in the background. 

Tip: Don’t try to force these kinds of scenes. Instead, just observe how the couple interacts with his or her family members. Some families may readily show affection, while others are more awkward with each other. These relationship dynamics are unique for each individual and come with their own charm! 

First Look

Left: EOS R, EF50mm f/1.2L USM, f/2, ISO 100, 1/800s, 50mm
Right: EOS R, EF50mm f/1.2L USM, f/2, ISO 100, 1/1000s, 50mm 
by @ndrewphotography

One of the most important images to have in a wedding album is the ‘first look’. This is when the groom unveils his bride and they both may react with a whirlwind of emotions. The groom may be stunned by how beautiful his bride is (or vice versa), then tear up before smiling from ear to ear. These reactions add a fun element to the overall wedding album and will bring back happy memories for the couple. 

You can try composing your shot from either the bride or groom’s perspective with an over-the-shoulder shot. You must also be alert when such a moment is near and set up ahead of time. As the first reaction will always be the sincerest and most natural (and will often be gone within a few seconds), you cannot afford to miss this window of opportunity as recreating such moments will not have the same impact. 

Tip: utilise burst mode or continuous shooting mode to increase your chances of getting the perfect shot. If you want to go the extra mile for the couple, chain the burst shots together to create a gif of the groom’s reactions and send the couple that digital file! 

The Setup 

EOS 5D Mark II, EF50mm f/1.4 USM, f/2.5, ISO 800, 1/100s, 50mm 
by @ndrewphotography

Depending on the type of clients, the ceremony can take place in a home, restaurant, resort, religious building and more. Before the actual ceremony starts, head over to take some shots like the invitation cards, the dining area, the reception, and the interior and exterior details. 

This series of shots are meant to focus on the atmosphere rather than the people involved. It can also spice up the wedding album with its absence of humans, contrasting with the shots that include wedding participants. For shots that involve smaller objects like the wedding ring (look out for special engravings on the rings!), invitation cards, and even the marriage certificate, you can try using a macro lens to close in on the details. For the grand interiors or table setups, you can choose a wide angle lens to capture as many elements in the scene as possible. 

Tip: use a smaller aperture to achieve a larger depth-of-field and keep the elements in your images sharp! 

An Act of Commitment

EOS R, RF50mm f/1.8 STM, f/2.2, ISO 1600, 1/200s, 50mm
by @trenaf_studios 

One of the staple shots to have in a wedding album is the ‘act of commitment’. This refers to the moment where the couple goes from being a couple to newlyweds. Depending on the couple’s custom, it may start with the saying of vows, exchanging of rings, to a full-blown kissing scene. 

Top: EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM, f/4, ISO 1600, 1/640s, 24mm 
Bottom: EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM, f/4.5, ISO 1600, 1/640s, 24mm
by @arjunkhandelwalphotography

Moments like this often start and end within a couple of minutes. Therefore, we would recommend you shoot fast and capture as many shots as possible. Make sure to utilise handheld shooting for shooting on the go by using settings like a fast shutter speed or features like the Touch & Drag Autofocus and Vari-angle LCD screen to easily compose your shots. You should also present it in a series (with different composition styles) to add interest to the overall wedding album! 

Top: EOS R, EF50mm f/1.2L USM, f/2, ISO 400, 1/500s, 50mm
Bottom: EOS R, EF50mm f/1.2L USM, f/2.8, ISO 400, 1/400s, 50mm 
by @ndrewphotography

Capturing the perfect moment requires you to know your camera settings, patience and most importantly, communication with the bride and groom. Once you have conquered these three key pillars, obtaining particular shots will be easier for you. 


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