Candid Wedding Photography – What does that exactly mean?

You’ve probably spent some time considering and debating the best wedding photographs for your special day. By now, you’ve seen a wide variety of different images and phototypes. Some of them you liked, while others were less appealing. Not for you, at least. The explanation for this could, of course, be due to the photo’s poor quality. However, the cause may be due to a poor choice of wedding photography style.

Make sure you also check out our “Wedding Photography Coverage Style” article, where we discuss different photography coverage. Note, we are talking about “coverage” as opposed to “editing.” There are differences 🙂

Before I get into the meaning, please note that candid wedding photography also has different names. But they generally mean the same thing.

  • Documentary Wedding Photography
  • PhotoJournalist Wedding Photography

Often, these terms mean the same thing as candid. They all cover your wedding day in the same manner.  Photographers use them differently, but in the end, they will shoot your wedding in the same coverage style.

What is candid wedding photography?


To make you understand this question a little bit easier, let’s put it this way. You have a stalker that you are not aware of. You have someone constantly watching every move and making a note of it (capturing photos).

You get the feeling that you are being watched but go about your day away. Then all of a sudden, you are hit with some great shots of the day! Haha, that sounded so scary, huh?

But that’s the truth. We are there in the shadow, watching your entire day unfold and capturing those moments. Nothing is staged or posed. Very rarely do we ever make you pose for shots for photos? However, group and family shots are a different story entirely, so that you can count those.

We act out a scene during shots like the bridal party and the couple’s portrait session, so those shots look natural. Meaning you were doing or acting those scenes out during the day. Take a look at the example below…

candid wedding photography
Bride getting ready at her hotel room in downtown Atlanta, GA

How much does candid wedding photography cost?


Just as any other wedding photography style, the cost is very similar. It all depends on the photographer’s cost of doing business, location, and experiences.

I can not give you an exact answer to this question because it varies on different aspects of your wedding. Giving one straight answer would not be ideal, because every wedding is different, and every couple is different.

candid wedding
Bride and Groom at the ceremony alter during their backyard wedding

For example, We have a wedding package for essential weddings, you get one photographer for 6 hours of coverage time, and if you live within 60 miles radius of Dahlonega, GA, we charge $1500.

You have to consider another aspect of the event as well, like how many locations are there? How many guests will there be? How far is the wedding venue? One photographer can only do so much without being burned out.

  • How many guests will there be?
  • Will your wedding consist in a different location?
  • What do you want covered?

Many weddings I have captured in the past always end up with having one photographer, which makes it difficult to capture both sides of the wedding story (bride and groom).  Having two photographers, one for each bride and groom greatly helps with achieving a complete story.  As well as getting some good shots.

What is the difference between candid Photography and regular Photography?


Regular Photography or traditional Photography is when the photographer makes you stand in a particular format. He’ll tell you to smile and look at the camera directly. And this will be done throughout the day, including during the bridal session and portrait session. Making them look more staged or posed. We made you do that in the photo.

Candid Photography is more about you. The way you get ready, the way you walk, the way you interact with your spouse. Your reaction to the first look, or your reaction to hanging out with your bridesmaid/groomsmen. All the things you do naturally will be documented. Making those photos look more genuine, more real. It’s like not having a wedding photographer present at your wedding.

You need to ask yourself about your wedding day, how do you want to remember this day? Do you want your wedding photos to show you enjoying the day, or pretend you are?

candid wedding photography wedding dress
bride's wedding dress hung inside a private home

Why are candid photos good?


The purpose of candid Photography is to capture reality in its natural state. When people are aware that they are being photographed, they tend to behave and act differently. Their facial expressions are unnatural, they may be uncomfortable, and some might like to leave the place. It might often be challenging to set oneself free and enjoy a moment of joy and celebration.

Photographers who capture candid moments during weddings often virtually unnoticed.

With social media’s growing influence in our lives, we often sacrifice the pleasure we should be having in exchange for a great photo for our Instagram feed. Worse, we prefer to sit and not have fun because we might wind up with an awful photograph. All of this is in stark contrast to candid wedding photography. Yes, the photographer is nearby, and he is undoubtedly filming. However, his unobtrusive presence will not prevent you from having a fantastic time.

Go ahead, enjoy your wedding day. We’ll take care of the memories!

Genuine enthusiasm, joy, and excitement are difficult to capture in a photograph, which is why candid Photography is so appealing. You don’t have to act as if you’re excited about the camera. All you have to do now is relax and enjoy the moment with your closest friends and family.

candid wedding photography
bridesmaid making sure bride's wedding dress is fluffed
candid wedding photo of bride and groom on the beach
bride and groom portrait session on the beach at Kill Devil Hills, NC
candid wedding photo bride sitting on mother's lap
Bride sitting on mother's lap during her wedding

Candid Wedding Photography Tips


Here are some tips we recommend when you hire a candid wedding photographer.  Remember thou, these are just tips and not really necessary required to capture candid moments.  It’s just more of what you can expect from your candid wedding photographer 🙂

Don't pay attention to the Photographer

Ok, well, we don’t mean to talk to them or anything. But pretend they are not even there. They may guide you on what to do, but most of the time, ignore them. While it’s true that weddings are significant events, they are also a good excuse for letting go.

Feel free to express yourself.

Be yourself. If you are clumsy, be clumsy. If you are shy, be shy. If you are goofy, be goofy. If you an energizer bunny, well, then be energized. As previously stated, let go, enjoy the moment, and allow your emotions to blossom.

This is the only method to get a perfect shot when it comes to candid wedding photography. Don’t strive to seem good by posing or attempting to look attractive. In the joy of bliss, you already look fantastic. You don’t need to add anything else. And don’t forget about this one. A drink of wine never hurts.

bride enjoying her wedding reception
Bride dancing during her reception at her wedding in downtown Atlanta, GA

Expect some traditional shots

While the majority of the day will be shot in a candid style, there will be time during the day where some traditional wedding style will be incorporated.  The family formal and group shots of the bridal party are the only two which will require a traditional approach.

traditional wedding photography
traditional wedding photos captured by candid wedding photographer

Enjoy your wedding day, as you suppose to!

You already have enough stress for the day while letting the photo aspect make it more difficult for you to enjoy your wedding day.  That’s why candid coverage style is more for those who want to enjoy the day, as you are not worried about the photos throughout the day.

Spend time with friends, family, and your loved ones on this special day.  You’ll remember those moments in the natural, candid photos taken throughout the day.

Make contact with the photographer ahead of time, and perhaps arrange for engagement photos?

It’s sometimes simpler to say something than it is to execute it. If you don’t think you’ll feel at ease in front of the camera, introduce yourselves to each other. Organizing engagement photos is the most excellent solution.

You’ll have ample time to relax in front of the camera this way, and it won’t feel awkward during the wedding. If this isn’t an option, attempt to do something as simple as a skype call. You can meet each other there and have a quick conversation regarding the event. Check to see whether you’re on the same page.

candid wedding photography
Groom walking down the wedding aisle with father and grandmother
bride and groom talking with guest at wedding reception
bride and groom interacting with guest during their wedding reception
candid wedding
bride taking photos at the photo booth during her wedding reception

Candid Wedding Photography


All images on this post were shot in a candid style.  These are natural emotions captured. They are not staged or posed (ok, well, maybe a few), and they look amazing.  You can’t get any better-looking photos than those that were shot naturally.

If you’re still wondering if candid wedding photography is the right choice for you, then all you really need to ask yourself is one question.

Do you want to enjoy your wedding day?

Having shot all types of styles, and even did some modeling work, I tend to find the candid style the best.  They capture you when you’re not expecting it, and give more natural-looking images.

Contact me today, if you want amazing natural-looking wedding photos.  I am based out of Dahlonega, GA, but do travel almost anywhere.