Three things to do if you want natural style wedding photographs


When I ask prospective clients what they want in their wedding photographs, there is one response I get over and over:

"We want photographs that are natural, rather than posed. 

We love candid moments, and don't want anything staged or cheesy." 

By the time I'm having this conversation with them, they've typically gravitated toward my work because they like its natural style. But no matter where you are in the process of choosing a photographer, here are three important things to know, and questions to ask, to ensure you get the kind of photographs you want.


1) The best way to find out whether a photographer is likely to be posing you all day is simply to ask: How much of the day do you typically devote to posed photographs versus candids?

Most photographers will be very forthcoming about the percentage of time they spend on posed photographs and why.  For me, it's typically 15-20%, but it varies from photographer to photographer. Asking this question will give you a good sense if a photographer's approach is in line with the experience and outcome you want.  


2) Not all guidance is a bad thing. 

There's a difference between being forced into cheesy poses that just aren't you, and taking advantage of the wealth of subtle tips and tricks good photographers know that make for amazing photographs. Tiny things like changing the placement of a hand, moving toward the light, or changing the placement of a bouquet can change the visual impact of a photograph dramatically. While I occasionally have a client who wants zero direction, most of my clients very much want to take advantage of what I know and eager to make the subtle changes that make great photographs. 

Ask your photographer how much guidance she or he tends to give throughout the wedding day, and be clear with him or her how much you feel you want. 


3) When it comes to the romantic portraits, the most natural photographs are often the ones in which the photographer gives you a good 'start,' then lets you do your thing. 

Not many people are accustomed to being in front of the camera, let alone kissing or posing in front of the camera. Thankfully, many factors converge to make getting beautiful wedding portraits much easier than you'd think. First of all, most people are buoyed by an overwhelming amount of joy and adrenaline on their wedding days, creating an unusual sense of ease. Second, I get to pick the most beautiful locations and lighting for the photographs, and place people right in the middle of them. Third, a good photographer will do whatever it takes to bring out your 'sweet spot.' For some couples this means providing more direction. For others it means providing less direction. Whatever it is and whatever it takes, bringing out the best in you is part of a photographer's magic.

To make sure you end up with romantic photographs that feel authentic and beautiful to you, ask your photographer how she or he approaches this part of the day and make sure it feels like an approach that will bring out your best.


So, there you have it. For people who aren't big on posing and believe the greatest visual magic is in the unscripted story itself, these three little things can go a long way toward ensuring you get the experience, and photographs, you most want.

May you have a magical, natural big day!


Julie Kelly