Candid Wedding Photos: What are They Really?

I’ve had some incredible conversations in my private messages about candid wedding photos, what it means, the trends, and how to actually achieve them. Diving into dissecting something like this is so much fun, and in a lot of ways, freeing as an artist because it’s such an important thing to talk about, especially as the documentary style of wedding photography (and direct flash) is becoming more and more trendy/requested as a final product.

I saw this Instagram reel pop up on my page – and had a few thoughts:

If anything, it’s become common for these types of candid-style photos to go viral – and while beautiful, I think that there’s a lot that needs to be unpacked and understood about the process of what it’s actually like to achieve them.

Candid photos and organic moments are a mixture of naturally letting things happen, letting go of expectations, trusting your photographer, AND art direction.

I think what people love most about these types of photos is the rawness of the emotion and the fact that it causes them to feel.

But the thing about candid moments is that you have to plan for these points throughout the day so that true, honest, and authentic emotions can unfold.

That being said, many of the trending “candid” photographs we often see are found on Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, or another form of social media. And while I think many of us understand that Instagram is a highlight reel – when looking at Pinterest, and in turn – other people’s wedding photos, we can easily forget that those platforms are also highly-curated, highlight reels as well. We forget to ask: “Is this actually realistic for me and my partner? Does this makes sense for who we are as people?”

All these photos we fall in love with are likely planned out to some degree – and that’s ok.

That being said, I think this trend and aesthetic attracts (and needs) a couple with a certain type of chemistry and consciousness where they “know” their photo is being taken. They know their angles and what vibe they want. They’re okay with amping it up a little bit for the camera. They do everything in their power to enable their photographer to be artistic and ensure that they as a couple, their environment, and their people embrace a certain energy that allows for it all to unfold.

I think this set of images above does a good job of showing how the art direction can yield completely different results based on each couple.

Corey (my husband) and I would likely be really similar to the top couple in our own photos together.

I love the bottom photo, but by nature, I personally don’t normally ever embody a big cheesy grin – this type of energy naturally. For us, we have a tender, more quiet, kind of love. It wouldn’t be fair to put an expectation to perform on myself and try to force a photo and emotion like the second picture if it’s not there.


So, all that to say, give yourself grace when you step in front of the camera.

Have a good time.

Be inspired by what you see.

But make it your own.




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I'm Hannah and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal about our most recent imagery and heartfelt stories. Stay a while and say hello!



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