How to Capture Natural Moments on a Wedding Day

Often times, some of the images I'm the most proud of after a wedding day are those that are completely candid moments. A beautiful moment is rare and happens in a split second. This is why capturing a natural interaction on a wedding day is truly an art form. 

An awesome image should tell a story. It should conjure an emotion from deep in the viewer's heart and leave your audience feeling like they were there in person. Here are some of my favorite natural moments from previous wedding days and tips on how to capture them. 

This image was taken as the bride and her father drove up to the ceremony. Leah started beaming as she pulled up to see all her guests and future husband waiting for her at the aisle. I love this image because her and her father look so connected in their body language and they both have tears in their eyes. I was able to capture this in a moving car on my 24-70 2.8L lens making sure my shutter speed was over 250/s to ensure it was sharp. This image was taken while second shooting for Christine Chang. 

This image was taken as the bride and her father drove up to the ceremony. Leah started beaming as she pulled up to see all her guests and future husband waiting for her at the aisle. I love this image because her and her father look so connected in their body language and they both have tears in their eyes. I was able to capture this in a moving car on my 24-70 2.8L lens making sure my shutter speed was over 250/s to ensure it was sharp. This image was taken while second shooting for Christine Chang. 

I love the feeling of excitement in this image after Amy and Brian turn to see each other for the first time. Brian's expression is one of disbelief and Amy just couldn't stop laughing. 

I love the feeling of excitement in this image after Amy and Brian turn to see each other for the first time. Brian's expression is one of disbelief and Amy just couldn't stop laughing. 

This photo was a result of being at the right place at the right time with my camera on the right settings just in time to snap this. I was standing next to Brenna and Ben when Ben's grandmother walked up to excitedly see the couple for the first time that day. I took this on my 50mm 1.2 L fixed lens which helps me to capture moments quickly with beautiful bokeh.

This photo was a result of being at the right place at the right time with my camera on the right settings just in time to snap this. I was standing next to Brenna and Ben when Ben's grandmother walked up to excitedly see the couple for the first time that day. I took this on my 50mm 1.2 L fixed lens which helps me to capture moments quickly with beautiful bokeh.

I placed these two adorable flower girls under this greenery and asked them to stand and look at me. Then I asked them to look at each other and she stuck her tongue out quickly. I, of course, kept snapping as I laughed. Some photographers might not use this image, however, I love how natural it feels. The photo is fun and playful, a total representation of my brand. Sometimes part of the art form is choosing which moments you feel are important to show to your audience.

I placed these two adorable flower girls under this greenery and asked them to stand and look at me. Then I asked them to look at each other and she stuck her tongue out quickly. I, of course, kept snapping as I laughed. Some photographers might not use this image, however, I love how natural it feels. The photo is fun and playful, a total representation of my brand. Sometimes part of the art form is choosing which moments you feel are important to show to your audience.

This is a sweet moment between Samantha and her mom. Samantha is not a "lovey dovey" type of person so when I asked her mom to lean in and kiss her cheek, she made this hilarious scrunched up face. I thought it was really cute and reminded me of what Samantha may have done as a little girl if her mom was kissing her before she sent her off to school or something. Sometimes a good trick is to place your subjects in a beginning pose and then ask them to do various things that may make them laugh, anticipating the shot. 

This is a sweet moment between Samantha and her mom. Samantha is not a "lovey dovey" type of person so when I asked her mom to lean in and kiss her cheek, she made this hilarious scrunched up face. I thought it was really cute and reminded me of what Samantha may have done as a little girl if her mom was kissing her before she sent her off to school or something. Sometimes a good trick is to place your subjects in a beginning pose and then ask them to do various things that may make them laugh, anticipating the shot. 

On a wedding day it's really important to remember that there are moments happening all around you. I was photographing the bride putting on her dress when I turned over my shoulder to see her sister in tears as she looked on. I snapped a couple shots of this very quickly and then continued to get Amy in her wedding dress. I love how much love she has in her eyes. 

On a wedding day it's really important to remember that there are moments happening all around you. I was photographing the bride putting on her dress when I turned over my shoulder to see her sister in tears as she looked on. I snapped a couple shots of this very quickly and then continued to get Amy in her wedding dress. I love how much love she has in her eyes. 

This is a sweet image of my bride, Kaitland, and her sister. The two are very close so, at one point when they were getting ready, Kaitland's sister became very emotional. Kaitland wrapped her in a big bear hug and tried to comfort her. I love the love between sisters in this shot. Again, this is an example of knowing what would be important to your client. The image tells the story of love between sisters.

This is a sweet image of my bride, Kaitland, and her sister. The two are very close so, at one point when they were getting ready, Kaitland's sister became very emotional. Kaitland wrapped her in a big bear hug and tried to comfort her. I love the love between sisters in this shot. Again, this is an example of knowing what would be important to your client. The image tells the story of love between sisters.

The moment when a woman puts her wedding dress on is when she officially becomes a bride. This is 100% of the time when you can expect for tears to happen. I was shooting Rocio after she had just put her wedding dress on and turned around to see her mother peaking around the door with tears rolling down her cheeks. Of course, it made Rocio cry to see her mother cry and pretty soon it was an all out sob fest. As Rocio tried to comfort her mother, I kept snapping and was able to capture this raw moment between mother and daughter. 

The moment when a woman puts her wedding dress on is when she officially becomes a bride. This is 100% of the time when you can expect for tears to happen. I was shooting Rocio after she had just put her wedding dress on and turned around to see her mother peaking around the door with tears rolling down her cheeks. Of course, it made Rocio cry to see her mother cry and pretty soon it was an all out sob fest. As Rocio tried to comfort her mother, I kept snapping and was able to capture this raw moment between mother and daughter. 

This shot is the bridesmaid's reaction to seeing Amy in her wedding dress for the first time. It's important to realize that these women have probably been helping Amy plan her wedding since before she was even engaged. For them, it's just as much of a celebration as it is for Amy. This image tells the story of how sacred close friendship is. I was able to get this shot because of my second shooter that day. I was actually standing at a different angle with focus on the bride while my second had an angle on the girls. It's so important to have a second photographer on your wedding day!

This shot is the bridesmaid's reaction to seeing Amy in her wedding dress for the first time. It's important to realize that these women have probably been helping Amy plan her wedding since before she was even engaged. For them, it's just as much of a celebration as it is for Amy. This image tells the story of how sacred close friendship is. I was able to get this shot because of my second shooter that day. I was actually standing at a different angle with focus on the bride while my second had an angle on the girls. It's so important to have a second photographer on your wedding day!

I absolutely adore this image of Julie and her grandmother on the dance floor. Her grandma's expression is one of infinite joy and it makes me happy when I look at it. Keep an eye out for important family members (like grandparents) and any interactions they may have with the couple. Don't watch them too closely though...that's creepy.

I absolutely adore this image of Julie and her grandmother on the dance floor. Her grandma's expression is one of infinite joy and it makes me happy when I look at it. Keep an eye out for important family members (like grandparents) and any interactions they may have with the couple. Don't watch them too closely though...that's creepy.

This is a shot of the groom's sister and nephew listening to speeches. This little boy was so sweet and kept reaching for his mom's hand, it seems, just to be connected with her. I think this is one of those shots that will be cherished in 20 years when he's a grown man. 

This is a shot of the groom's sister and nephew listening to speeches. This little boy was so sweet and kept reaching for his mom's hand, it seems, just to be connected with her. I think this is one of those shots that will be cherished in 20 years when he's a grown man. 

There's always that one guy that gets REALLY into it on the dance floor. He was that guy. This image really captures the energy and movement from the dance floor. I love to use my light dragging technique to create more movement and liveliness in dance floor shots. 

There's always that one guy that gets REALLY into it on the dance floor. He was that guy. This image really captures the energy and movement from the dance floor. I love to use my light dragging technique to create more movement and liveliness in dance floor shots. 

This was captured during the couple's first dance as husband and wife. I love how gently he's holding her and his expression has a sort of tranquil completeness. I was able to get a bit closer on this shot with my 70-200mm 2.8 lens. This lens is great for capturing intimate moments without being intrusive. 

This was captured during the couple's first dance as husband and wife. I love how gently he's holding her and his expression has a sort of tranquil completeness. I was able to get a bit closer on this shot with my 70-200mm 2.8 lens. This lens is great for capturing intimate moments without being intrusive. 

This is a shot of the bride with her nephew after he saw her for the first time in awe and proclaimed, "You look SO beautiful!"  

This is a shot of the bride with her nephew after he saw her for the first time in awe and proclaimed, "You look SO beautiful!"  

This shot is when the bride's new father-in-law walked around the corner to see her for the first time in her dress. It was so sweet how excited he was to have a new daughter in the family. You can tell how much he loves the woman his son has chosen.

This shot is when the bride's new father-in-law walked around the corner to see her for the first time in her dress. It was so sweet how excited he was to have a new daughter in the family. You can tell how much he loves the woman his son has chosen.

Again, this was snapped with my 70-200mm 2.8L lens as the bride walked down the aisle with her father. The body language here is so natural and trusting. The expression on her father's face is one of pride and confidence. The way she leans into him like "daddy's little girl" is what tells the story in this shot. 

Again, this was snapped with my 70-200mm 2.8L lens as the bride walked down the aisle with her father. The body language here is so natural and trusting. The expression on her father's face is one of pride and confidence. The way she leans into him like "daddy's little girl" is what tells the story in this shot.