a collage of two wedding first dance images
Weddings are a joyous occasion full of love and emotion. One of the highlights of every wedding is the first dance – the one between the couple as well as the one the bride and groom share with their parents. Photographing the first dance can be tricky, but with the right first dance photography techniques, it can actually be a cakewalk. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but it can definitely get simpler and easier to shoot. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to photograph the first dance and give you some tips on how to make your photos stand out from the rest.

Wedding First Dance Photography

Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer

1. Use The Right Lens

infographic stating use the right lens for different photography angles and shots

When it comes to wedding photography, and especially the first dance, using the right lens is important. As you photograph the first dance, it’s important to get close enough to the couple to capture their expressions. A zoom lens will come in handy here; you can also use it with a wide aperture that can help you capture as much of the scene as possible. A wide-angle lens will capture the entire scene, while a telephoto lens will allow you to focus on the couple. 

2. Focus On Light

Great wedding first dance photography requires the use of good lighting. Using light creatively can really help to set the scene and create some gorgeous images. As for lighting, ambient light works great for first dances, but if you’re using artificial light, be sure to place the lights behind you so that they illuminate the couple and not create harsh shadows. 

Use flash sparingly and aim it away from the couple so that they are not blinded by the light. You can fill in the dark areas and provide a little extra light for your subjects with flash, or also use a reflector to bounce some light back onto those. This will help to create some depth and dimension in the photo. To soften the light and reduce the risk of glare, you can go with diffusers for your photography lighting adjustment. 

Suggested Read: Hard Light Vs Soft Light: Understanding Wedding Lighting

3. Capture The Emotion

infographic stating capture the subtle nuances of human emotion to have great first dance photos

The first dance is one of the most emotional moments of the day, as the newlyweds take to the dance floor for the first time as life partners. As their wedding photographer, you’ve got to capture the intimacy of the first dance in the first dance photos. Look for intimate moments like a kiss or a shared laugh. Your first dance photography should capture your couple’s emotions, reflecting the happiness and love they are feeling at that moment for them to look back on their wedding day and relive those happy memories.

4. Get A Variety Of Angles

Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @jorgesantiagophoto

Move around and shoot from different angles to capture a wide range of expressions and emotions. Get a good mix of close-up and wide shots. Close-ups will help capture the intimacy of the memorable moments, while wide shots will give a sense of the overall atmosphere and setting. Experiment with different perspectives to capture your couple’s movements and create a more dynamic and visually interesting photo. Get close-ups of the couple’s faces, wide shots of them dancing together, and even shots from above or below. By trying out different techniques, you’re sure to capture the first dance in all its glory.

Suggested Read: The 6 Most Important Angles To Capture During The First Dance

5. Get Creative With Your Composition 

infographic stating then it comes to first dance photography, creativity and composition are key

When it comes to wedding first dance photography, creativity and composition are key. Just as no two couples are the same, each first dance is unique and deserves its own special treatment. One way to add creativity to your shots is to vary your vantage point. Instead of standing in one spot and shooting straight on, try moving around the room, getting high or low angles, or even shooting through a window or door for an interesting perspective. Add interest to your photos by focusing on the details – look for creative ways to capture the bride’s dress, the groom’s suit, the flowers, the decorations, and the guests. By thinking outside the box, you can ensure that your wedding first dance photography is truly one of a kind.

Wedding Dance Photography Tips

Capturing the first dance at a wedding can be a challenge for even the most experienced photographer. Here are a few tips to help you get the perfect wedding dance floor photography shot:

1. Be Prepared

  • It’s always a good idea to arrive early to the reception so that you can get set up and have a game plan for the night. 

  • Be prepared beforehand, have a discussion with your couple about what they are hoping to capture, and pick the right lens and get the perfect settings to get the best possible shot. 

  • Position yourself at different angles to the couple, with plenty of space around them so you can capture their movements.  

Suggested Read: Understanding The Basics Of Wedding Dance Photography

2. Include Creative Captures

Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @jperrymanphotography

  • Include using a wide-angle lens to capture the whole dance floor or using creative lighting to create an atmospheric shot. 

  • Adjust your camera settings for first dance. Focus on capturing the movement and fluidity of the dance – this can be really beautiful and romantic. 

  • Switch things up during the dance. Move from side to side, zoom in and out, and play with the shutter speed to create different effects.

  • Use selective focus to keep the couple in sharp focus while blurring the background. This will help make them the center of attention.
  • As you’re composing your shot, be sure to select the perfect background. Look for interesting architectural features or perhaps a window with beautiful light streaming in.

3. Experiment With Lighting Techniques

  • Create some interesting effects using different shutter speeds. Slower shutter speeds will result in motion blur, which can add a sense of drama, while faster shutter speeds will freeze the action and can be more playful. 

  • Try flash photography – the light can add an extra layer of drama to the photos. Use off-camera flash to add some sparkle to the photos.

  • If the sun is setting, try positioning yourself so that the couple is backlit. This will give their silhouettes a warm and romantic glow. Alternatively, if the reception is taking place indoors, flash can be used to add drama and interest to the photos. 

Further Read: Wedding Reception Shooting Tips

As wedding photographers, capturing the emotions of the first dance should definitely be a part of your shot list. When learning about the best dance photography techniques, it is important to use the right equipment and tools. Besides using the right gear, also remember that unless you have a second shooter, you will need to keep moving around the room. Your first dance photography shots should include some really romantic and fun, candid shots of your couple in action, as well as the entire wedding party dancing the night away. So don’t shy away from getting close to your couple but remember that keeping some distance could get you some phenomenal photos too!

At ShootDotEdit, we are passionate about helping you grow your wedding photography business. A part of how we do that is by lessening your post-production workload with our professional photo editing services. To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our pricing plans.

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