While it’s assumed your wedding day will require plenty of planning, sometimes the most treasured moments in life come from spontaneity. Jacqueline Maya speaks with Nick Ghionis, master photographer and director of XSiGHT Photography & Video, about why candid wedding photos are capturing the hearts of couples around the world.
Image Credit: XSiGHT Photography & Video
While styled wedding photographs will always remain a firm favourite, candid photography is a trending genre gaining significant attention from photographers and couples alike. So that you’re not left in the darkroom, Melbourne Wedding & Bride places candid photography under the lens and explores why this particular style has developed such a unique following.
The Big Picture
Seizing a transient moment and transforming it into one of permanency, candid photography is becoming a popular choice among couples. While candid photography has admittedly been around for a while, Ghionis reveals there is still lots of confusion surrounding what it is. “Candid photos have become the catchcry for many couples who are simply seeking photographers who don’t shoot those cheesy contorted poses of yesteryear.”
Ghionis defines a candid or natural photograph as one that has been captured without the photographer’s input. While this explanation seems quite straightforward, candid photography is often mistaken for candid-inspired photos, which have the appearance of being natural, but have actually been taken under the direction of a photographer. “An image of a bridal party or the groomsmen walking together and laughing may look completely natural, however images such as this are often planned,” Ghionis says. “A good photographer can take photos that appear ‘candid’ with great results. However, a truly candid photo is when the photographer has absolutely no input and has captured a decisive moment.”
While candid-inspired photographs are beautiful, they simply cannot compare with the unfiltered emotion that is encapsulated in a natural photograph. “Candid or natural photographs are images that stitch together the story of your wedding day,” Ghionis says. “A good candid photograph is one that resonates a feeling.”
Snapshots Of Success
The benefits for incorporating natural photographs into your wedding album are plentiful. Structured or styled photos are commonly taken in between the ceremony and reception, which can often feel rushed. However, candid photos are generally captured as the day unfolds, allowing you to spend more time with family and friends.
A candid photograph can capture some of the most tender displays of affection, such as guests crying during your vows, or your expression as you first lay eyes on your partner while walking down the aisle. In addition to during the bride and groom’s preparation, the ceremony and the reception are prime settings that will present your photographer with greater opportunities to capture these fleeting moments.
“Candid photography is by far one of the most rewarding genres for photographers, especially for our team at XSiGHT Photography & Video,” Ghionis says. “It captures the raw emotion that brings substance to what is an otherwise unnatural event. What couple wouldn’t want to have those types of photos as part of their day?”
According to Ghionis, the key to capturing those heartfelt blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments is hiring the right photographer. “It requires great skill to be able to anticipate a moment before it even happens and pounce on it like a ninja when it presents itself,” he says. “Our couples often tell us how lucky we were to capture these transient moments. While there may be a fraction of luck involved, it’s really about the experience of the photographer.”
With regards to his process for capturing candid photos, Ghionis says he takes on a fly-on-the-wall approach. “You need to be able to blend in with the guests and to anticipate a moment before it even happens,” he says. “My camera has the ability to select silent shutter mode, which allows me to take a photo without making a sound or anyone noticing.”
“Sometimes you only have a split second before the person you’re photographing realises that you’re taking a photo of them,” Ghionis says. “It’s important to give them enough space, and create an environment where things can evolve naturally. There is nothing worse than a photographer who is loud, obnoxious and stressing everyone out. The demeanour of the photographer or other suppliers can really set the tone for the entire day.”
One of the pitfalls that couples need to be aware of when asking for candid photography is that some photographers will take this to the extreme.
“I have heard many stories of couples being devastated after receiving their wedding photos, because the elements and details that were thoughtfully chosen and carefully considered in the planning stages were not documented at all,” Ghionis says. “Make sure that the communication between you and your photographer is clear when describing what candid photography means to you.”
Two Lenses Are Better Than One
As the old saying goes, many hands make light work, and the same can be said for capturing beautiful moments at a wedding. “Whenever I am shooting, I usually have an assistant who also photographs,” Ghionis says. “We usually shoot separately so that we can cover each other’s backs. It’s no use having a photographer shooting the same subject at a slightly different angle.
“If one photographer is focusing on taking portraits of the bride, the second photographer will invariably be photographing a bridesmaid or the expression of the mum who just walked in,” he explains. “The ideal scenario would be [to have] one photographer directing and keeping the day on schedule, while the other is purely taking candid photos.”
Regardless of the style of photographs you choose, Ghionis stresses that communication and planning is vital. The more you discuss with your photographer in the lead up to your wedding, the better prepared they can be. “Prior to the wedding date, we’ll get together with the couple to discuss the finer details, including times and locations, how the couple first met, right down to the family tree,” Ghionis says. “This is the foundation that allows me to be able to envisage a moment before it happens,” he adds.
It takes a highly qualified and perceptive individual behind the lens to ensure these affecting moments are turned into long-lasting keepsakes. Whether you decide on just a few shots or opt for the whole package, candid photographs leave no stone unturned. They capture everything from the tears, the ephemeral joy, and – most importantly – the feelings that you experienced in that one moment alone, allowing these precious memories to live on for many years to come.