Marry technique, framing, and perfect timing to capture breathtaking smartphone photos of guests and the happy couple on their big day.
Wedding season is in full swing—and fortunately, you don’t need an expensive DLSR to capture beautiful photos of your loved ones on their special day.
A combination of good technique, framing, timing, and lighting can make all the difference when taking photos of those fleeting moments on your phone.
Using a smartphone can offer an alternative perspective to the photos taken by the couple’s wedding photographer. Image via szefei.
You might even find you’re able to capture a different, more intimate perspective than the photos taken by the couple’s wedding photographer. As a familiar face behind the lens, your subjects are more likely to feel comfortable in front of your camera.
You can also benefit from using a smartphone, because it enables you to capture candid moments with little fanfare. Pointing a barreling lens towards your subject can make them feel on edge or inspire them to strike elaborate and unnatural poses.
However, with a smartphone, you’re able to take discreet photos of the wedding party and guests without much notice.
Before we launch into some useful tips for taking beautiful wedding photos on your phone, let’s first go over some wedding photography ground rules.
Image via Halfpoint.
Do’s and Don’ts of Wedding Photography
You might be there to see your loved ones say their “I Do’s.” Still, it’s worth noting that you’ll need to consider some big do’s and don’ts when capturing their big day.
Understanding the etiquette of wedding cell phone photos is a must. Image via ccpixx photography.
For example, a growing number of brides and grooms are opting for an unplugged ceremony. This means the couple has asked their guests to refrain from using their phones for a more intimate wedding. The benefit of an unplugged ceremony is that everyone is present in the moment and not distracted by trying to capture the perfect shot. So first and foremost, it’s worth clarifying if you can whip out your phone as the couple walks down the aisle, to ensure you’re respecting their wishes.
If phones are allowed, it’s important not to obstruct the photographer’s view. Remember, the couple you’re celebrating has invested a lot into their photographer and chosen them carefully. Make sure the photographer has room to work their magic. They should not have to compete with a sea of smartphones.
The bride and groom may have allocated some time during the ceremony for guests to take photos, once their hired photographer has finished. Make sure you use those moments and respect the couple’s boundaries for the remainder of the celebration.
Lastly, make sure you put your phone in silent mode and turn off the flash. There’s nothing worse than a wedding being interrupted by the persistent sound of a ringing phone, a camera phone’s shutter, or a bright flash. Forgetting to do so might mean you accidentally disrupt a priceless moment during the ceremony, like the wedding vows or first kiss.
Now that we’ve gone over basic wedding photo etiquette, let’s dive into some tips on how you can capture beautiful smartphone photography.
Be ready for candid, behind-the-scenes moments that capture the essence of the day. Image via Rawpixel.com.
Keep It Candid
Unposed, natural shots provide a more intimate, authentic look at a couple and their guests. Be on standby for those unplanned moments by using your phone’s quick launch camera feature. Capture candid shots and shy away from posed photos. You’ll find these photos do a better job of telling stories anyway.
If you have an iPhone with iOS 10 or above, simply swipe left from the lock screen to access your camera. Most Google Android devices have a camera shortcut on the lock screen. Swipe left or right to open the camera.
Utilize natural light when possible to achieve optimal results. Image via Hernanmetal1980.
Seek the Best Lighting
Lighting can make or break your photography, so it’s important to consider what light you’re working with. For example, golden hour can project a softer, natural light on your subjects, making for cheery photos. Overcast weather projects darker lighting, making way for more dramatic shots.
Avoid shooting in areas with harsh, bright lights, or else you run the risk of shooting unflattering, overexposed photography. Similarly, avoid shooting in areas of low light, especially inside, to mitigate the risk of capturing pixelated photos. Always look for natural lighting inside, such as near a window, when working with challenging indoor low-light environments.
Enable Burst Mode
Whether you’re taking action shots of the newlyweds caught in a confetti shower, candid moments of young bridesmaids playing, or even a perfectly posed shot of the bride and groom’s families, using burst mode provides you with countless options for selecting the best shot.
Use burst mode to take a series of rapid-fire images so you have more options to choose from. Image via IVASHstudio.
Burst mode, also known as continuous shooting mode, allows you to shoot a series of rapid-fire images without stopping. It’s available on both iPhone and Google Android smartphones by pressing the shutter button down.
Make sure to lock the exposure and focus of the shot by tapping and holding the screen where you want the focus to be. This way, your camera will ensure your subject stays in focus.
Similarly, live photos provide another way of nailing the perfect shot. Your phone takes these three-second video clips when you press your phone’s shutter button. It’s not until you watch the motion pictures back that you see the subjects within them spring to life with movement and sound.
Look at each frame you captured and choose the most ideal shot. How? When using an iPhone, make sure Live Photos is turned on before you take your shot. Then select edit and tap on the Live Photos button. From here, you can move the slider to change the frame. Once you’re happy with your selection, release your finger and tap Make Key Photo.
No matter how impressive your phone’s magnification capabilities are, it’s always best to avoid using digital zoom when capturing closeup shots. The quality of your shot will suffer dramatically from it.
Instead, simply “zoom in” by moving closer to your subject.
“Zoom in” by moving closer to your subject physically. Image via TY Lim.
Invest in Accessories for Your Phone’s Camera
Ready to take your smartphone wedding photography up a notch? Invest in accessories, such as a clip-on camera lens, to really elevate your shots. Thanks to DSLR-lens-like features, you can increase your chances of getting quality photos.
Investing in a tripod or a stabilizer for your phone is also a smart choice to help you achieve steady, in-focus photos and videos during a magical day.
Cover image via mentatdgt.