California Wedding // How to Take Emotive + Heartfelt Wedding Photos 

Gone are the days of stiffly-posed couple’s portraits and staged moments. Now, most couples want a wedding photographer who knows how to get those breathtaking in-between shots throughout the wedding day. Good thing emotive imagery is my jam! I’m obsessively on the lookout for those priceless moments, ready with camera in hand to capture your best side as the story unfolds. But discretion is key. I know that a camera in your face will ruin the moment. I promise you’ll have no idea that I’m there documenting those sweet exchanges. Every knowing glance, heartfelt hug, and blissful kiss—I’m here for it! Whether you’re planning a California wedding or dreamy destination wedding, I’m ready to travel so you can get those stunning, cinematic wedding photos you deserve! 

Klaudia + Ian’s Storybook Wedding

Klaudia and Ian were the perfect models without even trying. They wanted a nostalgic hometown Chicago wedding, and that’s exactly what they got–cue all the happy tears! Their wedding day was brimming with emotion. He wore his heart on his sleeve in the most endearing way, and they weren’t about to let a moment pass them by. This was one of the most dance-like-no-ones-watching weddings I’ve ever attended. I knew right away Klaudia and Ian’s wedding was the perfect feature for this topic.

If you want to make sure you get plenty of emotional, in-the-moment photos on your wedding day, I’ve got a few tips for you (and none of them require fancy poses):

How to Get Authentic Photos on Your Wedding Day

1. Delegate & hand it over.

Plan your heart out up until the week of your wedding. Have fun getting lost in the details of wedding planning if that’s your thing. (I highly recommend hiring a wedding planner if it’s not your cup of tea. Even if you’re very particular and want to be involved, a planner will help you seamlessly execute your vision and connect you with the best local vendors.) 

But then, in the days leading up to your wedding—and especially the day of—let it all go, and trust that everything is in good hands. While I love a gorgeous wedding design, the truth is that no one will know if a detail is slightly off. The best way to get heartfelt photos is by wholeheartedly experiencing the magic of the day as much as possible. 

2. Build extra time into your itinerary. 

Even if all the details are accounted for, some couples find themselves feeling a bit stressed over time constraints. When you book with me, I’m more than happy to go over your wedding day timeline with you. Be sure to consider the commute between your ceremony site and reception venue if you have to travel—account for traffic and time of day as well. Ideally, you don’t want to be running all day long. Block out some time at different points throughout the day to just breathe and enjoy each other’s company. These breaks always deliver some of the most phenomenal photos! Take a walk, steal a few kisses, watch the sun go down—soak it all up together!

3. Stay in the moment.

Try practicing mindfulness on your wedding day. To keep your mind from wandering, stay as present as possible in every moment. Enjoy the time with your wedding party as you all get ready. If you’re doing a first look, don’t worry about the camera—I’ve got you covered! Take your time to relish it all from beginning to end. There’s no need to worry about a shot list or certain poses. I’ll guide you if needed. Other than that, all I ask is that you enjoy every minute to the fullest and don’t be scared to express how you feel. 

4. Do it your way.

Hate the idea of a receiving line? Ditch it, and spend time with loved ones authentically. Want to grab a beer together as newlyweds before joining your guests at the reception? Let’s do it! Envisioning a sunset first dance on the patio without anyone watching? Go for it! You decide what memories you want to make. Who cares if it’s a bit unconventional. You won’t regret doing what you truly enjoy.

Planning a California Wedding?

If you’re looking for a photographer for your California wedding or destination wedding, feel free to peruse my wedding portfolio to see if we’re a style match! Get more info or book with me here.

Wedding Vendors + More

Planner | Myrna Avila at Events One:eleven
Hair | Patrycja Dybas Ziebeil
Makeup | Ula Szarek
Cake | Basia Baranowski at Oak Mill Bakery
Floral Design | Melissa Owen at TräBlume
Caterer | Ravi at Chic Chef Catering
Ceremony | Alexis + Nicole at Fairlie Chicago
Reception | Fairlie Chicago
Officiant | John Wingspread Howell
Music + DJ | Robert Nicpon at My Chicago Wedding DJ
Bridal Designer + Shop | Martina Liana + Malindy Elene Bridal Boutique
Groom’s Attire | Generation Tux
Wedding Party Attire | Birdy Grey + Generation Tux
Invitation | Etsy