10 Tips For Getting Natural Candid Photos on Your Wedding Day

Megan Goetz


February 28, 2024

Your wedding day is one of the most special days of your life, filled with emotions, love, and cherished moments. While posed portraits have their place, it’s the candid photos that really bring back the emotions of that day. These spontaneous moments reflect genuine joy, laughter, and love shared between you and your partner, as well as with your family and friends. To help you feel more confident and comfortable in front of the camera, here are 10 tips for getting natural candid photos on your wedding day. 

candid wedding photos

1. Hire the Right Photographer

Okay, this is such an important thing. First of all, not all photographers are documentary-style photographers. Some photographers focus more on posed portrait style photography so you need to make sure you understand the difference when hiring your photographer. If you truly want those organic and candid wedding photos, you need to make sure that the photographer you hire knows exactly how to get those shots. And then you of course want to make sure you feel comfortable with them. 

2. Get to know your photographer, and let them get to know you! 

I say this every step of the way: connection is everything. It will be so much easier to feel relaxed and comfy in front of the camera if you have built a connection with your photographer. It can be unnerving to feel like there’s a stranger in the room with you while you are sharing such sweet intimate moments with your people. 

The best candid photos happen when you feel relaxed, so take the time to get to know your photographer so that on the wedding day, it just feels like you are hanging out with a friend. Let them into your world and allow them to see the little nuances of you and your relationship. When your photographer really knows you, it’s so much easier to create photos that FEEL like you. 

3. Slow Down Your Schedule

This is probably one of the most important aspects of getting those candid, carefree photos that we are all after. I tell all my clients, to prioritize PRESENCE over everything. Your wedding day will be over in the blink of an eye, so it’s so important to give yourself space to just be. To be present and enjoy all the little moments. If your timeline is so jam-packed, it’ll be hard to slow down and soak it in. And, your photographer will be too busy running around trying to keep everything on time to really be able to take it all in and capture those beautiful organic moments.

Trust me when I say, the slower pace your wedding day is, the better. You want to be able to stop and have those conversations with grandma, and squeeze in all the big hugs you can. And those are the moments and photos you will cherish forever! 

natural candid wedding photos

4. Be Yourselves

I know this one seems obvious but a lot of people immediately get super uncomfortable in front of the camera and it totally makes sense. But the best way to truly capture the essence of your big day is to just be yourself. Interact with one another the same way you would on a date night out or at home making dinner together. We want your real smiles, real laughs, and genuine moments. 

5.  Give the photographer space to roam and create

It can be so tough to capture all the little moments if your photographer is cramped up in the corner or is limited to one point of view. Try and make it a priority to make sure your photographer has room to roam during all the big moments. I love to be able to capture guests’ reactions during the ceremony, speeches, etc. but it can be tricky if we are limited to one little aisle or we are in close quarters with your guests. People don’t want to feel like they have a camera on them at all times, so having space for your photographer to step back and capture the little moments as a fly on the wall is super super helpful!

6.  Love on Your People

THIS. This is probably the most important tip for not only getting all those candid photos with your loved ones but also for fostering beautiful moments for you to be present. Make your guests feel special. Cherish your conversations and hugs with everyone. At the end of the day, your wedding day is all about you two, but it’s also one of the only moments in life where you truly get to have all of your favorite people in one place. Honor that. Cherish that. Love on your people. 

natural candid wedding photos

7.  Post-Ceremony Family Time

This is a fun little tip I’ve been sharing with my clients who are really focusing on candid photos more than the traditional posed, family photos. After the ceremony, have your family follow you to a space that’s tucked away from cocktail hour and spend 10 minutes together. No shot list, no lining up and staring right into the camera. Just soak in the excitement of being newly married with your parents, your siblings, your grandparents. Give hugs, and let yourself shed tears. Jump up and down and scream! Just take those 10 minutes to celebrate with your family, and I promise, those will be some of the most special moments and most beautiful photos full of so much emotion. 

8.  Use Cocktail Hour Wisely

Another super important tip! If you know you want lots of candid photos WITH your guests, make sure you are using your cocktail hour wisely. Often wedding days follow a pretty solid timeline, and believe it or not, there’s not a ton of time to just hang out and chat with your guests. You go from ceremony, to cocktail hour, to dinner, and then dancing. So if you are using that whole cocktail hour for family photos and couple shots, you’ll likely miss out on the opportunity to really mingle with your guests. 

My biggest tip for making sure this is possible is having a first look. When you opt for a first look, it allows you to get all those formal family photos done before the ceremony. That way, after your ceremony you aren’t tied down to running through a list of family photos when all you really want to be doing is celebrating with your friends and family. Try and make it to as much of your cocktail hour as possible. Those are always some of my favorite moments!! 

natural candid wedding photos

9. Trust Your Photographer

Trust in your photographer’s expertise and artistic vision. They have the experience and intuition to anticipate and capture those fleeting moments that you may have missed in the whirlwind of the day. Relax, enjoy the moment, and let your photographer work their magic.

10. Focus on the moments, not the shot-list

To really summarize everything in this list:  Focus on the moments. Focus on being present. Trust your photographer to capture the magic, without giving them a massive shot-list to follow. Nothing hinders the creative process more than feeling like you have to follow a super rigid list! 

natural candid wedding photos
natural candid wedding photos

Client Love

“Megan was our photographer for both our engagement shoot and our wedding, and there are not enough words to express what a beautiful job she did. Jarrad and I have been friends with Meg for years, and have always been in love with her work, so it was a no-brainer we had to have her photograph our big day. She has this amazing ability to capture all the special moments between people and make you feel incredibly comfortable in front of the camera. Her style is so versatile and she was always finding ways to make sure we were ENJOYING ourselves. Our wedding wouldn’t have been the same without Megan and we truly mean that. We had the perfect wedding, in the most perfect space, and Meg captured all the magic on that day and we just love love LOVE her!!”

-Jarred & Lauren

Meet Your San Francisco Wedding Photographer

Hi there, I’m Meg, your San Francisco Wedding Photographer!

I’ve always wanted to be a photographer and to be able to call this my full-time job is an absolute dream come true. Creating captivating, authentic images just sets my soul on fire and I have so much gratitude for this art. I love capturing moments. I’m the girl who takes my film camera everywhere I go because I just want to look back and remember what I was feeling at that moment. I love being able to look at a photo and travel back in time.

Being a photographer has allowed me to find the moments of beauty in everyday life and there is nothing I love more than allowing people to see themselves as a piece of art.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *