Wedding First Dance

Wedding First Dance

The “wedding first dance” is one moment where you will most definitely not be the only one trying to take pictures. So how do you make your professional photos stand out above all the guest-taken snapshots? Here are a few tips for improving your photographs of the first dance.


1. Switch sides

When the wedding first dance starts, pretty early on, you’ll be able to tell which side of the dance floor guests are lining up along to get their snapshots. Once this becomes clear, you’re going to want to move to the opposite side of the dance floor from everyone else. First, this will immediately give you an angle that no one else in the room is shooting from. Second, this will allow you to not only photograph the couple dancing, but also the reactions of the family and friends that are watching. It’s a great chance to capture emotional moments from both the guests and the couple. The direction is definitely super important, pay attention to the crowd and the best light to get the perfect spot.

2. More variety in angles

Another step you can take to make the first dance photographs more unique is to try out different angles and perspectives. If the room you’re in has an interesting or well-decorated ceiling, shooting upwards from a low angle can capture those details and give you a perspective most other people won’t shoot from. Get your safe simple vertical shots, some wide shots, a few close and then experiment a little.

3. Keep it simple and be ready

Photograph the wedding first dance simply and elegantly, i usually fins my vertical shots are my favorite. The couple will naturally circle and rotate, so hold your position and choose the right moments. switching you focus on her and and then as they turn, and also when they turn and face each other is a great shot. And of course be ready if they go for a dramatic kiss.

4. Use your ISO

By increasing the ISO settings during the wedding first dance, you can still capture the first dance with natural light, without having to use using flash. If you are using the newer canon 5d3/5d4. it can handle the higher ISO's. I try not shoot above 3200, although sometimes it can handle a little more especially when you deliver in black and white. Be aware of your camera's ISO capabilities and limits before you shoot, take test images and zoom in close to see the amount of noise that is being produced. You can also use the noise reduction functions in Adobe Lightroom to counter it in post production. At night I either set my white balance or shoot auto white balance and adjust later in Adobe Lightroom. Of course always shoot RAW whilst photographing at night and when shooting high ISO's.

5. Play with your lighting options

If it is very dark during the wedding first dance, there are a few ways to use flashes or lights to illuminate the couple during their first dance. The first, most obvious, solution is to use your flash. However, if you have a flash that fires remotely, you can try out multiple different locations for the flash during an exposure. You could hold it by hand, since removing it from the hot shoe will help cut back on the snapshot-look of flash photography. If you have an assistant, they could hold the flash and move around to different locations to give you some variety for lighting angles. Maybe hold the flash remotely behind the couple, which will create a very cool light effect.

If you have multiple flashes, you can try illuminating the dance floor by triggering them together while they’re set up at different corners of the floor, facing the center of the dance floor.

And finally, if there is a videographer with a light on top of their camera, you can adjust your camera’s settings so that whatever the videographer’s light is on is properly exposed, effectively creating a spotlight-like look to the shot. Which can work great in darker light.

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Photo + editing credit: All images in this blog post edited by the team here at Weddit and photographed by Lukas Griffin. 

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