One of the things that makes it difficult to choose a wedding photographer, is looking through albums and albums of the same styles of photos over and over again.
Whilst it’s true that there are some classic shots that you’ll be taking at every wedding, it’s also incredibly important that your photographer is using their skills and experience to create really creative and unique wedding photos.
The key to creative wedding photography is to think beyond the standard photo styles you expect from a wedding, and to bring a little something extra to the big day.
When you’ve photographed as many weddings as I have, you get to know lots of different ways to create a truly unique, memorable photo - the sort of thing you just know is going to end up framed on the wall.
Here are a few ways that I look to be creative with my photography, making use of everything that makes up your wedding, from you and your guests, to the venue, lighting, weather and more!
There are five main things that I regularly look at to arrange some really creative wedding photographs, including:
Each of these elements is an opportunity to try something unique, and is going to be the absolute highlight of your wedding shoot.
The backdrop of an image might not be the main focus, but boy does it make a difference! Playing with the landscape can bring out a whole new feel for a photo, and gives you lots of different opportunities for creative wedding photography.
Make more of the background
Most wedding venues are pretty, and some are downright stunning! How a venue looks on the outside is often a big consideration when you’re choosing where to have your reception, and it’s amazing how often it’s overlooked in pictures.
Making the exterior of your venue a big feature of a shot can give a really grand sense of scale, and also reminds you why you decided to get married there in the first place!
Contrasting textures are a great way to bring more creativity into your wedding photos by giving the background an extra element of interest.
You can use soft textures like curtains and fabric, natural features like plants and flowers, or even rough exposed brickwork or hay to bring a tactile feel to your photo, and change it from a flat portrait into something you feel you could reach out and touch.
Most formal wedding photography takes place outside, but it’s amazing how rarely people make the most of the natural elements to bring something new and exciting to their photos. But when you use the natural colours of a beautiful cornfield, flower garden or woodland, you bring contrast and colour into your composition.
You can even make the most of bad weather by working the wind or rain into your photography, making the most of gusts and gales to catch the movement of a dress or veil, capturing the couple against grey skies, or splashing in puddles with wellies on!
Every venue has a unique style that is going to play a part in how your wedding looks and feels. Sometimes that’s rustic charm, or maybe stately chic, but most venues have special little details that make it that little bit extraordinary.
A stunning archway, a rock feature in the garden, a medieval fireplace, an ancient tree - there are so many opportunities for some really creative wedding photography when you can work in a venue’s unique features. It brings something a little special to your wedding album, and will always remind you why it was the perfect place for you to say “I do”.
It goes without saying that the subjects of a photo are pretty important in wedding photography! But whilst you may want to have some classic poses and styles for some of your pictures, it’s also nice to change things up, and take some really creative wedding photos.
Here are some fun ways that I bring a little creative edge to my wedding photography, and get some fantastic original styles and shots by taking a different approach with brides, grooms and guests.
I love to take candid photos, as that’s where you get real reactions and see someone’s true personality shining through.
With a candid shot, the focus is all about the moment, whether it’s a quiet moment of love or a big moment of celebration. It’s a wonderful way to capture the essence of the day.
There's no better way to show your subjects at their best! Formal photos are all well and good, but when you catch a shot of the wedding party cracking up, you know it’s an absolutely true reaction, and gives everyone a chance to relax and be themselves in front of the camera.
Behind the scenes
Weddings tend to be a rush from one big event to the next, so when I snap a picture in one of the in-between moments, it catches a little snippet of the mechanics of the day - which actually make up a huge part of your wedding experience.
Because it’s not just the polished moments that make up your wedding. Pictures of the bride and groom behind the scenes often contain an extra level of excitement, rush and momentum as you move on to the next big event of the day.
Candid wedding photography is one thing, but a stolen moment is something even more special. For this style of picture, the bride and groom might not even realise a picture is being taken!
By taking the photo through foliage, or from a doorway, you create a wonderful frame for the picture, and also highlight the voyeuristic elements of the shot - stealing a cheeky glimpse of the happy couple just enjoying their day.
The big crowd shot is a standard for any wedding, but you can make it so much more creative by playing around with the format.
Instead of herding people into a big group, it can be fun to experiment by having everyone in the same pose, arranging yourselves into a heart shape, or giving everyone a fun prop, like sparklers or bubbles.
Having fun with the composition of your wedding photos gives you the opportunity to be a bit more creative too.
Changing the focus of the image and placing your subjects in different areas of the frame, or moving the camera’s perspective, can open up a whole new world of creative wedding photography.
Make some space
Sometimes less is more, and for a really interesting wedding photo, pull back and make the most of the space around the couple.
By bringing the surroundings into the picture, it inverts your expectations of a wedding photo creating a really artistic style that also gives a sense of intimacy between the bride and groom.
When it comes to creative wedding photography, a change of perspective can transform a traditional setup into something unique. By bringing in a new viewpoint, and taking the photo from above or below your subject, you bring in a new dimension.
Another way to play with perspective is to switch the camera’s focus, so it almost becomes the bride or groom’s viewpoint. This is a really fun way to get reaction shots and gives you a completely different angle on events.
Focus on the background
Changing focus to make the most of your backdrop can be a lovely way to celebrate the venue and the landscape, and show the grand and expansive backdrop to your wedding.
When the bride and groom are almost incidental to the picture, they become a highlight, making the shot a lot more artistic and unusual.
Levels are fun to use because you can utilise them in different ways. By positioning people higher and lower in the frame you get a contrast of levels which add layers of interest to the picture.
Or alternatively, put everyone at the same level using props and positioning, creating a smooth line through the image that brings a consistency to the photo.
There’s always an element of symmetry at a wedding, and it can be fun to play with the concept of balanced but different elements through the couple themselves as well as their family and friends.
Another way to use symmetry is to find it in the landscape and background. When you have perfect balance as a backdrop, it really pulls the subject into focus, and makes for a fabulously innovative photo that makes your bride or groom the centre of attention.
And of course, if symmetry provides an opportunity for more creativity, asymmetry does too! Instead of centring your subjects, placing them to one side of your image can create a really different look and feel to the photo.
For a photographer, lighting is almost as significant a tool as a camera! Making use of different lighting can wildly transform images that may otherwise have looked similar, so it’s a fantastic way to bring an extra level of creativity to your wedding photography.
I love how a lens flare scatters droplets of light and colour across a photo, creating a really beautiful effect that adds an almost magical element to your shot. These can happen naturally, particularly if you’re shooting outdoors as the sun sets, or you can use artificial lights to create the effect.
Lens flares are lovely when they burst through the happy couple, almost making them the source of light.
Subjects in shadow
Light may be a photographer’s best friend, but shadow gives you the opportunity to create a really unique look.
Placing your subject in shadow creates a really crisp silhouette, and gives an artistic aesthetic to your shot.
It’s the details that really make a wedding unique. The little elements that are perfectly you. So getting photos of the details are essential to every bride and groom.
It’s also a great opportunity to get a little creative with your wedding photography, and bring a little something special to your images.
Most brides and grooms have special accessories for their big day, whether that’s something personalised, Mr & Mr themed, a family heirloom, or just an item that’s 100% you.
Close-up shots of these little details create completely different pictures to the open, expansive shots that are needed for your ore formal photos, and add intimacy and individuality to your wedding album.
How a wedding dress moves, the weight of your veil, the way you walk down the aisle or the energy of your first dance - capturing movement in a still image is a great challenge, but a brilliant way to get a unique photo.
Any time you can work movement into a shot - do it! It creates a wonderfully natural flow that breathes life into your pictures. You’ll feel you’re right there in the moment.
Props are always a fun addition to any photo shoot, and can let you unleash your own creativity and silly side.
For a really stylised feel, you can even include elements of your decorations and wedding colours into the shots, tying together all the elements you worked so hard on leading up to the big day.
There are some really beautiful moments of your wedding that often get overlooked. But what would be a fairly ordinary process on any other day, feels really significant when you’re getting married.
Small details like lacing up your wedding dress, tying your tie or placing your veil feel really momentous on your wedding day, and through photography you can give each one the focus it deserves.
Creative wedding photography makes the most of every special moment of your wedding day, so it’s really impactful when you’re able to take shots of the little details that make each wedding unique.
Personal gifts to and from the happy couple, special moments with special people like Grandma, or Jeff who flew in from Singapore.
As a photographer it really helps if you know about these surprises ahead of time, so you can make sure you’re in the right place at the right time to capture them on camera.
These details are part of what makes your wedding and your marriage special, and knowing they’re captured forever in your wedding pictures means you can always look back and remember how perfect it all was on your special day.
How to be creative with your wedding photography
Getting creative wedding photos is all about embracing something a bit different. If you can find something new and exciting in each photo, it’s going to bring something special to the picture.
I like to explore and experiment with my photography, making use of the landscape and environment, changing the lighting and thinking of interesting ways to place the bride and groom, family and friends.
Keeping things creative is what helps me find something new and fresh in every shoot, so I can pick out some really extraordinary shots that brides and grooms will absolutely love, and really reflect your wedding and your relationship.
If you’re interested in finding out more about creative wedding photography for your big day, get in touch for a chat!