If you're the bride or groom planning your big day, wedding photography is probably part of those plans. You may have some ideas for pictures you'd like to see, but there are some classic photos you don't want to miss, too. Posed photos make great framed pictures, and candid shots capture the action as it happens. Together, these photos help you tell the story of your wedding day for years to come.
Whether you're the couple or the photographer, grab your checklist and read on to make sure your plans include our 10 picture-perfect poses and candids, listed in no particular order.
Family Moments Before the Ceremony
Brides and grooms alike spend time on the wedding day preparing for the big event. Traditionally, this includes moments when parents dispense their last-minute advice before the ceremony. This is a good time to capture candid photos of the bride talking to her mom or the groom and his dad shaking hands.
For a creative twist, set up a posed shot of the groom getting a stern warning from the bride's father. For a touching photo, capture a tender moment between the bride and her father in the dressing room or as they prepare to walk the aisle.
Bridesmaids Dressing the Bride
Since she was a little girl, the bride dreamed of the day she would wear a fancy dress and play the part of a beautiful princess. On her wedding day, it's her time to do just that, and her bridesmaids are there to help her dress up for it. Capture candid photos of their preparations, including the smiles and laughter they share.
One brides' dressing tradition is buttoning or lacing the bride's dress. Though most modern bridal fashions are sleek and simple, some traditional designs have buttons or a laced corset down the back. These can take several minutes to fasten, and sometimes brides will have their mothers or bridesmaids pose for a photo helping with the task.
Another brides' dressing tradition is showing some good luck token she's taking with her down the aisle that won't be seen during the ceremony. Capture a photo of her maid or matron of honor helping her tuck her good luck charm into its hiding spot.
Giving Her Away
For thousands of years across many cultures, marriage has included a ritual of parents, usually the father, handing over caretaking responsibility of a daughter to her husband. Today this tradition is ceremonial, as the bride is an independent adult rather than the father's property. While brides have traditionally chosen their fathers to "give them away," some brides choose to have both parents involved.
Capture this moment with shots of the bride and her father walking down the aisle or standing with the wedding officiant. The ceremony itself only happens once, so choose carefully whether this photograph should happen during the ceremony. You might want to re-enact the event afterward if the photographer requires a flash or can't easily get into position during the ceremony.
An Important Symbol of Faith
Many couples are married in the ceremonies and traditions of their faith. Churches and temples are popular settings for wedding ceremonies, and the services are often presided over by an officiant of the couple's faith. For couples seeking a faith-based wedding, it's important to capture their wedding rituals on film.
Here are just a few special moments in faith-based wedding ceremonies:
- Christian weddings: kneeling in prayer, taking communion, receiving a blessing
- Jewish weddings: standing under the chuppah (canopy), drinking from the wine glass, breaking the wine glass
- Muslim weddings: signing the marriage contract, listening to the officiant's recitations and blessings
- Hindu weddings: walking around the agni (sacred fire), making offerings into the fire, the saptapadi (seven vows)
A unity ceremony, often performed with candles, is not specific to any one religion, but it can be a treasured spiritual symbol for some couples.
Couple's First Kiss
"You may kiss the bride!" It's a phrase that's as much a part of popular culture as it is wedding traditions. The kiss has a centuries-long tradition as a symbol of trust, commitment and respect. Today's couples observe it as a symbol of love, marking the end of the wedding ceremony and the beginning of a new life together.
Like other photos during the ceremony, decide whether it's best for the photographer to capture this as a candid shot during the event or as a re-enactment afterward. Sometimes the angle the photographer can get during the ceremony doesn't make for the best shot. Today's digital photography lets you see how it turned out and, if needed, you can stage that picture perfect smooch for another photo.
Just the Two of Us
The events of the wedding and reception represent the celebration shared with family and friends. During that special day, though, the couple might share a quiet, private moment together away from the crowd. In some cultures and faiths, this private moment is part of the wedding tradition.
Rather than interrupting the couple's privacy, a photographer can stage a wedding photo that reflects the same feeling of a quiet, private moment. Sometime soon after the ceremony, select a calm setting for the photo and feature the couple looking lovingly at one another or sharing a tender embrace.
The Wedding Party
Perhaps the most essential posed picture for a wedding is the group photo of the wedding party. This often includes the couple, bridesmaids and groomsmen, flower girl, ring bearer, and sometimes the couples' parents and the officiant. To keep it traditional and simple, pose the wedding party in front of the altar, a building or a garden. For fun, add some creative and funny poses that bring an instant smile when you reminisce through the years.
If you have a large wedding party, or you have special relationships between certain members like siblings or best friends, consider adding extra posed pictures that feature those special groups. Later, you can give prints of these photos as thank-you gifts.
If the couple isn't superstitious about the groom seeing the bridal gown before the big day, stage all the posed wedding photos a few days in advance. This can relieve the pressure of posing during the rush of the big day.
Special Guests to Remember
A wedding is a time at which friends and family come together to celebrate a singular event. For some people, this may be the only time they see each other for years. At the wedding and the reception that follows, make a point to capture these special guests in photographs:
- Older family members, such as grandparents
- Friends from high school or college
- Soldiers who served with the bride or groom
- Respected mentors
One popular idea for making sure no guests' photos are missed is to use disposable cameras during the reception. Distribute the cameras, asking each guest to get a photo of him- or herself and others as they socialize at the reception. Have a designated person responsible for collecting the cameras afterward and taking them to have the film developed. Sure, they aren't professional photos, but they're a fun way to build a complete and memorable album of the event.
The Bouquet and Garter Tosses
The bouquet toss is a wedding reception tradition for many brides. It's often paired with a garter toss by the groom, a tradition that pre-dates the bouquet toss [source: WedAlert.com]. Don't forget to get action photos of the tosses, including any amusing mishaps that could happen when hands go up to catch the prize. For the best shots, the photographer should consider a using a high shutter speed and continuous shooting for lots of clear photos of the toss.
After the bouquet and garter are tossed, have the lucky recipients pose for a photo together, too. Some couples encourage the garter's recipient to place the garter on the bouquet's recipient as another sign of good luck. This often-amusing event can create another great photo opportunity.
Eventually, the happy couple flees the scene after the wedding and reception. Guests often give them a traditional send-off, making them walk through a shower of rice, birdseed or bubbles. This moment is a must-have candid photo opportunity for any wedding.
Besides the bride and groom, the getaway car is often a featured character in the event. Some couples go out in style in a limousine, classic car, or horse and carriage. A popular tradition for those using their personal cars is that members of the wedding party, often the groomsmen, will adorn the getaway car with shaving cream, streamers, aluminum cans and other décor as a gag gift to the couple. Besides taking pictures of the couple in the car, photograph the vehicle at different angles in advance so the couple can enjoy the details they might miss in the rush of the send-off.
Learn more about weddings by following the links on the next page.
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- Olson, Elizabeth. "Wedding Lore and Traditions." Information Please. Pearson Education, Inc. 2007. (May 21, 2010)http://www.infoplease.com/spot/weddinglore1.html
- Schaer, Robin Beth. "Ceremony: Muslim Wedding Rituals." (May 21, 2010)http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-ceremony/articles/muslim-wedding-ceremony-rituals.aspx
- Smith, Rose. "Wedding Customs & Traditions." Wedding Themes and More. (May 20, 2010)http://www.wedthemes.com/wedding-customs.shtml
- TheKnot.com. "Wedding Traditions & Superstitions: 50 Wedding Facts & Trivia." (May 20, 2010)http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-customs/articles/50-wedding-traditions-superstitions-facts-trivia.aspx
- WedAlert.com. "The Tale of Tossing of the Garter and other customs." (May 20, 2010)http://www.wedalert.com/content/articles/tale_tossing_of_the_garter.asp
- WeddingChannel.com. "Hindu Wedding Traditions." (May 21, 2010)http://weddings.weddingchannel.com/wedding-planning-ideas/wedding-ceremony-ideas/articles/hindu-wedding-traditions.aspx