The Complete Guide to Unposed Photography for Weddings

Everyone has a camera phone in their pocket, but there’s a reason why couples hire a professional wedding photographer like you to capture their big day. On top of your skills and top-rated gear, couples can trust you to preserve their celebration in a gallery packed with real, raw, and candid images. That’s a service that not just anyone can provide. 

When couples first open their wedding gallery they want to see more than just beautiful photos. They want to see an accurate reflection of them, their guests, and their wedding day. And capturing unposed photos can do just that. 

To help capture wedding day moments and emotions in a natural, organic way keep scrolling for our complete guide to unposed photography.  

crying newlyweds in your feels

image by Vlasta Weddings.

The Importance Of Unposed Photography 

The goal of unposed photography is to create honest images that freeze special moments in time. And over the years wedding photography has evolved to be less posed and more organic—where photographers focus on capturing images by observing emotional moments rather than instructing. This approach allows photographers to naturally preserve the happy, sad, and nerve wracking moments that make a wedding so special. 

When your couple open their gallery for the first time and are glancing through images they’ll be revisited by the emotions they were feeling in each candid photo—or emotions they might not have gotten to see. Yes, posed photos still have their place in the gallery. But, for example, images of a grandmother catching her breath while her grandchild walks down the aisle will be priceless to them both. And it’s likely they didn’t even notice her because they were wrapped up in their own feelings during that moment.

What Candid Moments Should You Look For? 

Your job as a wedding photographer is to preserve the moments and feelings your clients will want to relive long beyond their wedding day. You’ll want to capture bigger moments such as the first look, first officially-wedded kiss, and grand exit. But, smaller moments are just as important. Throughout the wedding day, keep an eye out for the smaller unposed moments like reading pre-wedding letters, parents crying in the crowd, flower girls twirling in their outfits, and guests at the reception. 

Photobug Tip: 

Having your couples fill out a client questionnaire will allow you to understand your clients, their wants, and desires in a wedding photography experience. Asking questions like “Are there any important details you want captured prior to the ceremony?” and “Do you have a list of must-have photographs?” will give you a starting point and ensure all expectations are met and delivered. 

Image by Hennygraphy.

How to Go Unnoticed During A Wedding Day Session

Are you a photographer or a ninja? They’re one in the same when it comes to wedding day photography. You’ll inevitably be more involved during the couple, family, and wedding party portraits. But, apart from those moments, you’ll be taking the “fly on the wall” approach. Meaning you’re going to need to blend in with the background.

As a wedding photographer, it’s your mission to photograph people’s true selves rather than an overly posed version. The best way to do that is to fly under the radar and not making it obvious you’re not photographing them in the first place. 

Tips for capturing candid shots without people noticing

1. Your photography gear will be key to flying under the radar. It’s much easier to get epic candid shots if you’re not having to shove your camera in the faces of your couple or wedding guests. Invest in a zoom lens and always have it handy. 

2. When it comes to your outfit choice, gravitate towards neutral clothing that’s simple, practical, and professional. This will allow you to lay low, whereas brighter, patterned clothing will make you stand out. If you’re still not sure what to wear, check out our outfit inspiration fit for all photographers

3. Do your research on the venue and plan out prime photo locations ahead of time. Often times you might be able to be onsite early as other vendors are getting set up to scope out locations in person. Other times you’ll be able to do this online. Check ahead of time!

3 Unposed Photography Prompt Ideas That Result In Epic Candid Images 

Candid is the way to go. But how do you set up your couples to capture those perfect candid-looking moments? You can’t go unnoticed in every situation, that’s why it’s important to have a few prompts prepared ahead of time. But keep in mind, to get the candid looking results you’ll need to leave plenty of room for interpretation when giving direction. 

Here are some of our go to prompts you should try at your photoshoot to recreate magical candid moments in front of a lens. 

Unposed Prompt 1. Staring Contest 

Erika from Light Sky Photography suggests a staring contest. She will have her couples look into each other’s eyes, and then announce that whoever blinks first has to buy everyone drinks. This is a great way to get them laughing while looking at each other and that’s when you snap away. 

Unposed Prompt 2. Stumble Out Of A Party 

Photographer Cremeux Photo loves the spontaneous result when she asks couples to walk towards her as if they were coming out of a party with friends, a little bit drunk—if they drink alcohol, of course. They tend to hold on to each other and laugh naturally while walking in a free and relaxed way, leaving their shyness aside for a moment. 

Unposed Prompt 3. Hip Check 

Adding a little movement makes all the difference in the world. But asking your couples to “walk away” or “walk towards me” can often look a bit stiff. To loosen up your couples and get them moving, have them hold hands and hip check each other while walking—or lightly bump hips at least. This will add personality to your photos and create the organic movement and laughter you’re looking for. 

Whether you’re looking for ways to get your couples comfortable in front of the camera or just wanting to switch up your go-to poses, check out more posing prompts to get your couple feeling carefree.

unposed photography guide graphic

Image by Hennygraphy.

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