How to capture great candid photos at a wedding


Weddings are full of magical moments and every bride and groom hopes their photographer will capture them on film. Using different lenses, angles and perspectives can ensure that those spontaneous moments are captured for posterity. Professional photographer Nigel Barker shares expert tips for how to shoot candid wedding photos.

How to capture great candid photos at a wedding

Weddings are full of magical moments and every bride and groom hopes their photographer will capture them on film. Here are professional photographer Nigel Barker’s expert tips for how to shoot candid wedding photos.

  • Use a compact interchangeable lens camera that is ultra-portable, light and has a compact camera body. This type of camera is superior to a standard point and shoot because of its ability to capture quality HD video and still frames.
  • Try different lenses— a wide angles lens is great for a dramatic shot of an entire group or scene, where as a zoom lens is best for detailed close ups of individuals or specific objects. A zoom lens is perfect of events like weddings because of its ability to take intimate shots without invading personal space.
  • Also experiment with the depth of field to draw focus to persons in the foreground of your shots. Your camera’s portrait setting can help you do this automatically.
  • Try shooting continuously to guarantee your get the perfect shot.
  • Shoot without the flash sometimes. A huge burst of light is not always appropriate and can ruin a moment. When you are in a low light situation, adjust your camera’s setting to a higher ISO or use the preset modes to open up your aperture. This will help you go unnoticed so you capture everyone looking relaxed and natural.
  • Shoot from various angles. Simply changing perspectives will make the wedding album far more interesting.
  • Include things in the foreground to create depth and dimension— shooting through the glasses and bundles of flowers at your subjects rather than always from above the table to change it up. 
  • Take pictures of small details like the menu, the bride’s hands or a bubbling glass of champagne that is in theme of the celebration.





NIGEL BARKER: Hi, I'm Nigel Barker. Just look at these beautiful wedding photos. You can take ones just as lovely. It's really quite easy.

Candid photos are all about capturing the spontaneity of a moment. They come and go very quickly, and unless you're prepared, it's so easy to miss that great shot.

Look, here's a few tips that will help you capture exquisite, natural shots of the bride, groom, and their guests on that special day.

To get professional looking shots, a simple point-and-shoot really doesn't cut it.

What you need is the ability to capture high-resolution images and stunning photos even in low-light situations.

This little camera can take DSLR-quality photos, yet it's about half the size and weight.

You can even use different lenses, and it shoots great HD video.

Now here's some shooting tips.

Use the appropriate lens.

They produce dramatically different results.

You can shoot with a wide-angle lens to capture an entire group or scene or switch to a zoom lens.

This lets you get in close without invading personal space, yet keeps the feeling of intimacy.

You want to play around a bit with the depth of field.

This allows you to defocus the background, which keeps your focus on the subject.

Although you can change the depth of field on most cameras, this camera has an easy-to-use dial, or you can use the preset mode on the camera and set it to "portrait" and the depth of field will automatically be reduced.

Also, and this is something I love, try shooting continuously.

What I mean by continuously is that this camera has the ability, with the push of a button, to take 7 photographs in a second which guarantees you'll get the perfect shot.

I call it capturing a moment in a burst.

Now, there's nothing like a blinding flash of light to kill the moment.

So try shooting without the flash.

When you are in a low-light situation, adjust your camera to a higher ISL or use the preset modes to open up your aperture.

This little trick will help you stay unnoticed, allowing you to get those voyeuristic photos where everyone looks natural and relaxed.

Also, to make your shots more interesting, try using different perspectives.

A trick that I often use in candid shots is to include something in the foreground to create depth and dimension.

Try shooting through a flower arrangement in the foreground or shooting through the frame of a window.

Shoot things other than people as well- small beautiful details that catch your eye.

They can really help the couple remember their big day and see things they may have missed.

So jump in, be part of the festivities, and have fun. No one likes a stiff photographer.

This is Nigel Barker with Sony for howdini.

For more great tips, visit



meet theexpert
  • Nigel Barker

    Nigel Barker Professional Photographer Nigel Barker has been taking the world of fashion by storm for the past twenty years. After stints in Milan, Paris and London, Barker opened his New York studio in 1996 and has never looked back. more about this expert »