7 Tips for Better “First Dance” Wedding Shots

You are most likely invited to weddings every now and then, and that most people bring a camera with them.  Chances are, if you looked back at your photos and compared them with those that other guests took on the day, there will be many shots that are the same.  The most photographed moment of the day is often the bride and groom’s first dance, and with a little bit of know how, and if you’re lucky enough to have it, some extra lighting tools, it is possible to get a shot of the first dance that will stand out from the crowd and identify you as a capable photographer.

Tip 1: Change your shooting angle
Most people, most of the time, take photographs from the same viewing point – i.e. they hold the camera up to their eye and press the shutter.  For a different view, deliberately take the camera low down and you’ll immediately have a shot that stands out.  Wedding receptions are often held in rooms with ornate ceilings, so this can be a good way of getting that detail in the background also.

Tip 2: Move to the other side of the dance floor
99% of photographs of the first dance that guests take are captured from the same side of the dance floor.  For a unique shot, move around to the other side and include the “paparazzi” in your shot.  The resultant image will be fun, capture the excitement of the guests, and more than likely the enjoyment of the bride and groom at all this attention.

Tip 3: Post process your images
Instead of just settling for the images straight from the camera, bring them into some photo-editing software to enhance them.  This can be as simple as increasing the contrast, or you can get artistic and apply some effects such as this spot-colour effect, done in Photoshop Elements, to make the bride and groom stand out.  Photographers might think this look is cheesy, but many brides and grooms love it.

Tip 4: Slow down your shutter speed
By slowing the shutter (and keeping your camera steady, on a table or chair for instance) you’ll get shots that show movement on the dance floor.  You may also get lucky and find that someone else’s flash goes off in the middle of your exposure to help freeze the bride and groom.  Or you can make your own luck by following tip 5….

Tip 5: Take your flash off the camera
If you own a flash that can be taken off the camera and fired remotely, see what happens when you fire it from a different position to your camera position.

Tip 6: Make use of the videographer
Often during first dances, there’ll be a videographer filming the event, and he’ll probably have a video light on top of his camera to illuminate the bride and groom.  If you underexpose your shot and wait for his light to brighten up the bride and groom you’ll get a pretty cool spot like effect.  Or you can achieve the same thing by using the off camera flash mentioned above and zoom it in as much as it will go.

Tip 7: Light the dance floor
Depending on where you position yourself relative to the lights and the bride and groom, you can get some great front light, back light, side light or combinations of all of these for a professional looking shot.

Join The Mailing List To Recieve Free Updates!

Back Next