Candid vs. Posed

It almost never fails. When I’m speaking to a bride and groom about what they’re looking for in their wedding photos, over and over I hear the phrase “we want lots of candid photos!” Then, as the conversation continues, I usually also hear, “we’re super awkward and don’t know what to do in front of the camera, so you’ll have to tell us!”

Although both phrases are a little contradictory, they’re still also both true. When most people say the word “candid” they mean honest, sincere, heartfelt, and genuine. Basically, brides are saying they don’t want their photos to feel stiff, boring, or emotionless. However, a truly candid photo means that it was completely spontaneous, with no direction. Often, wedding photography requires direction, which is more than just candid photography. Here are three types of shooting that you’re likely to encounter on your wedding day.


These types of images are exactly how it sounds. The people have been put into a certain pose and hold that stance while the photo is taken. Often, the subject is looking directly at the camera, and there is no movement. Posed does not mean emotionless! Family formals are the photos most likely to fall into this category, but they should still be genuine.


A lot of current wedding photography is directed. This means the photographer has given the subject some instructions, but rather than holding one pose, often their direction was meant to put them on the right track for creating images with movement and/or a certain feeling or story. These images have the feel of being candid, but in reality, the moment was created rather than happening spontaneously. Basically, by giving certain directions, the photographer is splitting the difference between purely posed and fully candid. This style of photography fits well for wedding party photos and portraits with the bride and groom. Direction might also be helpful for certain other points during the day, such as when the bride is getting ready.


For truly candid photography, the photographer will have given no direction or instruction for the photo at all. Instead, the photographer takes the “fly on the wall” approach, and shoots images as they unfold naturally. This type of photography is likely to take place just before, during, and immediately after the ceremony as well as throughout the reception.

Hi I'm Kjersten!

Contact Me

Elopement and Engagement Photographer

I plan and photograph elopements and engagements in Northern Colorado.

I truly want you to find a photographer that is the perfect fit for you!

If you have further questions about photographers, pricing, or need additional information - just reach out.

I’m here and ready to help.