Don’t get me wrong, I like the traditional posed wedding shots however my favourite have to be candid wedding photography pictures. Candid wedding photography captures the true essence of the day and, if it is done correctly, result in unique, personal and emotive photos.
One of the best things about candid wedding photography is it is something you can have a crack at, even if you’re not the official wedding photographer. In fact, the best candid wedding photography photos are usually captured by a wedding guest because they are in the thick of the action and people act naturally around them.
Given the choice I would prefer to take candid wedding photography shots over the traditional posed shots any day, but I don’t earn any money from this. If I am doing a paid wedding shoot I am expected to take traditional posed shots and candid photos, just like all official wedding photographers. If I can only take candid wedding photography shots it means I am there as the guest and will not get paid for any photos I take.
I have dabbled in candid wedding photography for a few years now, and over this time I have learned a few tips and tricks I thought I would share. Hopefully you’ll find them useful. If you have any candid wedding photography tips and tricks of your own please don’t be shy and feel free to share them at the end of this post.
1. Candid wedding photography tips – Use the right camera settings
If you want to capture the best candid wedding photos you need to make sure you use the right camera settings. This may sound pretty obvious, but I know of quite a few photographers who have taken on a wedding gig and then used in appropriate settings for the candid wedding photography shots. These photographers insist on using full manual mode, which is fine for the posed wedding photography shots, but totally unsuitable for the candid shots.
I always use my camera in semi-automatic mode, i.e. either aperture priority or shutter priority (obviously depending on what I want control over for any given shot), and let the camera sort out the other variable. In addition to using a semi-automatic mode I use auto white balance (I can always adjust this post capture as I shoot in RAW), auto-focus (to get in the ball park quickly) and burst mode (so I can fire off several shots in quick succession).
2. Candid wedding photography tips - Use a zoom lens
I am a big fan of zoom lenses and I have to say that I prefer them over fixed focal length prime lenses. Zoom lenses are perfect for candid wedding photography because the range of focal lengths allows you to zoom in nice and tight or pull back for a wider shot, hence increasing the framing options. A zoom lens is the most suitable lens for candid wedding photography period.
I have heard the arguments that prime lenses have better image quality than zoom lenses, and whilst this may be true the difference in image quality is negligible and the only way you will see it is if you go pixel peeping, which in the real world nobody does. I use zoom lenses for all my candid wedding photography and I have never had any complaints about poor image quality.
I typically take two zoom lenses with me when I attend weddings and want to capture candid photos, and these are the Canon 16 – 35 f4L IS and the Canon 24 – 70 f2.8L. The Canon 16 – 35 is ideal for group shots and when I want to capture a wider shot. This lens is small, light, discreet and the image stabilisation is ideal to ensure tack sharp shots. When the light starts to fall, or I want a bit of extra reach I use the Canon 24 – 70 f2.8L. The thing about the 24 – 70 is it is a big and heavy lens and subjects clock the lens (and the fact I am taking photos) pretty quickly. For this reason I use the 16 – 35 first, unless I have no choice but to get the 24 – 70 out.
Both the Canon 16 – 35 f4L IS and the Canon 24 – 70 f2.8L lenses are awesome lenses that have great image quality and I would recommend both. If you are interested you may want to check out “The pros and cons of the Canon 16 – 35 f4L IS” and “The pros and cons of the Canon 24 – 70 f2.8L”
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.