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From the first looks to the first dances – weddings are filled with love, happiness, and tears of joy. These are the moments that will really capture the essence of the day and narrate the story of the bride and groom’s love for each other. As a wedding photographer, you already know that it’s absolutely crucial to photograph emotional wedding moments. In this blog post, we will highlight some of these wedding moments that you should plan for and offer tips on how you can capture them beautifully.

Emotional Wedding Moments To Capture

infographic stating capture the precious moments and tell the wedding day story in stunning photographs


There are countless special moments to capture at weddings. Whether it’s an intimate moment between the bride and the groom or a touching moment shared between the bride and her father – these emotional wedding photos add to the wedding day story in profound ways. Here’s a list of wedding day pictures to take and unique wedding moments that you need to look out for:

1. Getting Ready

the mother of the bride is helping her get ready for the wedding
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @brandiallysephoto


A great opportunity for you to photograph emotional wedding moments is when your couple is getting ready for their big day with their wedding party and close family members. Your couple is already feeling a range of emotions as they get ready, and it’s the perfect time for you to document them as they prepare to say I do. They may be nervous, excited, or just plain happy. Many couples have a bride and groom gift exchange planned this time, and that’s another incredibly emotional moment you can capture before the wedding day activities even begin. You can experiment with different lighting and poses; get close to emphasize the emotions of excitement, wonder, and gratitude of everyone involved in celebrating your couple’s big day.

2. The First Look

The moments leading up to the wedding ceremony are often very emotional. One of the most emotional moments of the day is when the couples see each other for the first time on the wedding day; often just before the ceremony and after their getting ready session. Your couple might plan a first look or go with a no-look first look or have a first look with their parents or wedding party. Either way, photographing emotions in such moments of pure joy, love, and anticipation make for great emotional wedding pictures. Ensure to include close-up shots of their facial expressions and photograph them from different angles to capture the feel of the scene in its entirety.

Suggested Read: 6 Strategies For Gorgeous First Look Imagery

3. Photographing Wedding Ceremony

a beautiful dimly lit shot of a wedding ceremony
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @taylorkempphotography


The wedding ceremony is one of the most emotionally charged wedding moments captured that will leave you speechless. As a photographer, you need to be ready to capture the incredibly emotional moments as they happen, like the groom’s reaction upon his wife-to-be for the first time, the couple exchanging vows and rings, and sharing a first kiss. Pay attention to body language and facial expressions of family members and friends, and try to capture a mix of wide shots that show the setting and close-ups that focus on the emotions of the couple and their guests. You can use a wide-angle lens to capture the entire scene or zoom in on specific guests to capture their reactions, like wiping away tears or hugging each other. Learn how to capture emotions in these key moments and create lasting memories for your couple.

Suggested Read: Ceremony Photos Inspiration

4. The Wedding Reception

For wedding photographers, the wedding reception is a veritable goldmine to capture beautiful and the best wedding moments as the newlyweds celebrate their union with their closest friends and family. From the romance of the first dance to the laughter incited by the speeches, there are several opportunities for candid shots, even as guests mix and mingle or dance the night away. Wait for the candid moments to happen naturally, and be ready to shoot quickly.  

5. The Send-Off

the bride holding on to the groom's arm and laughing after a sparkler wedding exit
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @brandiallysephoto


The final send-off is the last emotional moment you are going to capture on the wedding day. Couples will either just zoom away in their wedding car or have a dramatic send-off that includes sparklers, bubbles, glow sticks, etc. For this shot, you’ll have the couple’s guests lined up on either side, and your couple will make their way out from between the two rows. At that moment, everyone will be cheering them on, and the couple will be laughing and smiling as they exit the venue. The newlyweds may even share a passionate kiss at the end, and that kiss and all of their happy emotions are what you will want to capture. 

Suggested Read: Wedding Reception Photography Tips & Checklist

How To Capture Emotional Wedding Moments

infographic stating an important wedding photography element is capturing the emotions


As you can see, there are countless opportunities to take images that capture the essence of the wedding day. Now, here are some tips on how to photograph emotional wedding moments.

1. Pay Attention To Little Details

The way the bride nervously combs her hair or how the groom rubs his hands together as the bride walks down the aisle, try to capture your subject’s body language and expressions. These little moments will add to the wedding day’s story. 

Suggested Read: Top 5 Tips For Capturing Every Wedding Day Moment

2. Look For Emotional Cues

To photograph emotional wedding moments, you have to be quick, as emotions can be fleeting and hard to predict. However, you can capture a special moment by paying attention to body language and staying prepared to capture impromptu moments, such as a spontaneous hug or kiss. You can also look for cues that your couple is about to share an intimate sweet moment, such as leaning in close or holding hands. 

3. Go Beyond The Shot List

While posed photographs are important, it is those unscripted moments that you get to capture through emotional wedding photography that will really bring the day to life. Look for natural interactions between the bride and groom, their families, and friends. When photographing portraits, always keep in mind the story you want to tell. 

Further Read: Storytelling In Wedding Photography

From the moment the bride begins to get ready until the final moments of the reception, there are several moments to capture at weddings. And by following the tips we’ve just mentioned, you will be able to easily photograph emotional wedding moments without disturbing the moment for your clients. Talk to your couples beforehand and get their list of photos for wedding day, including all the activities they’ve planned and wish to have photographs of. As a photographer, it is important to be attuned to the special wedding moments that occur throughout the day to create photos that will be cherished by the couple for years to come. 

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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