The secret of natural wedding photography

Category : Various · (7) Comments June 5, 2013

‘We are looking for natural wedding photography.’ Clients often say this to me, and I am always thrilled when they do because I love natural pictures.

It’s all a matter of taste, but I think it’s fair to say that the pictures in this link have a pretty strong whiff of fromage to them:

Natural portraiture can be elusive, and the average low paid, busy photographer churning out 50 weddings a year can quickly lose their freshness. Here are my thoughts on how to ensure that your pictures are natural.

Be HONEST. If your pictures are genuine and heartfelt, they will look natural. Go with the emotions, whatever they may be.

Natural wedding photography is a subtle art; one person’s romantic picture is another’s cliche. For example, I have observed that many divorced men hate wedding pictures with swans in them! Swans mate for life and they symbolise eternal love, so perhaps that’s why. Whereas personally I’m not averse to the odd swan in a wedding picture, should one happen to swim up. (It has happened.)

Natural wedding photography is understated. Let the emotion be what it is, without exaggeration or hype. If in doubt, say less.






The best pictures happen when you least expect them. Creativity involves taking risks and getting things wrong, so trust your photographer. Sometimes, I direct clients into poses that feel quite contrived, and then through those poses I talk to the person until they relax and we catch the moment. Things look different to the camera.

There is nothing more natural than a bride’s smile on her wedding day. Having fun in your pictures will always look natural. Choose a photographer who you have fun with.

Perfection is unnatural – after all nature is full of flaws.  The more relaxed you are about the end result, the greater your pictures will be.


I love to photograph people in nature. I am fascinated by the way we respond to nature, and I find that it helps people relax and become more centred. It’s beautiful.





Natural photography means knowing when to use the visual rules and when to break them. Colours must be calibrated, skintones must be realistic. The rule of thirds, the rule of perspective, and lead in lines can all give a picture impact. The photographer needs to use them with a light touch, because as soon as you start trying too hard then the photograph becomes forced and it loses its natural magic.




To stay still is forced, because everything in the world is in motion. My favourite pictures have a sense of motion to them; a sense of a fleeting, enchanting moment.




It is just enough. When we overstate, exaggerate or ram the point home, we lose the truth, and the photograph becomes guff.

It’s easy to take a natural reportage (fly on the wall style) photograph. The real skill comes in creating planned portraits that are still natural.

The enemy of natural photography is firing lines. Something strange happens when we get to a wedding. We seem to all want to stand in a line with plastic smiles on our faces. I have to say, I’ve never liked these. Especially not the ones stuck awkwardly in front of a famous building. But just to group people curving slightly inwards and at different heights can make a group look more natural, and increasingly contemporary wedding photography is moving towards more innovative group pictures. I find it’s best to get the instinctive firing line shot over first – there always seems to be one aunt who wants it – and then regroup everyone to give a more natural look.

Standing in front of famous buildings does not make for natural portraiture. Do something, or use the shape of the building so that it becomes a more visually pleasing image. Here I suggested to the couple that they dance.





My final tip? Say a little prayer. Our Creator is the most natural artist of all and all my best photographs are a kind of prayer.

What makes a natural photograph for you? I’d love to hear your views so leave a comment below.
If you would like to book a photoshoot, please get in touch on fionaalcampbell or via my website or my mobile 07977 538424.



(7) comments

Soven Amatya
4 years ago · Reply

As always, beautiful work ! Lovely images !

    Fiona Campbell
    4 years ago · Reply

    Aw. Thank you so much! I’m available for weddings and bar mitzvahs 😉

David Wright
4 years ago · Reply

I thoroughly enjoyed your article and I see the trend towards a more natural unposed look continuing. Today’s clientele is more about organic, less posed and a simpler fresher look. Its one reason why film is returning and why we are seeing so much more sun flair in the photographs, a retro glimpse to a simpler past.

My personal posing is more a classic and Old Hollywood look. I love all the drama and romance this style lends itself and my clientele love the intimacy it brings to them. In my approach to creating a less structured pose is to direct the couple in a short skit or guidance as to how to embrace and then let them take it from there. It is more natural in appearance and the love between them really comes out in the imagery.

I feel using major landmarks as backgrounds probably overpowers the couple as the building takes front seat to the photograph. The way I overcome this is to use the iconic architectural gem as a distant backdrop while giving the couple center stage. I also use just elements of the building as backgrounds, just enough to recognize the important treasure but not enough to overpower the client.

Thank you again Fiona for an inspiring article.

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