Jaclynn Wilkinson


How to Get Good Photos | Wedding Guest Edition



I’m so excited to share with you a wedding photographer’s advice on How to Get Good Photos as a Wedding Guest! How to Get Good Photos Wedding Guest Edition.

  • I see you. Sitting at Table 9 with your husband and cute kids. You either LOVE family photos or you haven’t been dressed up for one in years. You glance my way a few times and think “Maybe….nah”.
  • I see you. Sitting at Table 3. Newly engaged with your man. You know it’s not your day yet, but you would LOOOVVEE to update that profile photo with something professional. You glance my way — It’s not your day.
  • I see you. Sitting at table 14. It’s the singles table. You love your friend and are so happy he/she found the one! The comforting thought of dipping out early crosses your mind. You look my way. Laugh at the idea of an updated profile photo for Bumble/Tinder. Time to say bye and thank you for the lovely meal…


Guess what. If you’re at the wedding, chances are, the bride and groom love you. They love your family. They love your fiancè(e). The bride and groom want you to have a good dating profile photo. They’ve ASKED ME for photos of YOU (their guests)!

Guess what else? It takes me literally 10 seconds to professionally and easily set you up for a photo and click my shutter. Even a family of 10.

I try my best to do my part. When I see you look at me, 8 times out of 10 I’m going to ask if you want a photo. I know you don’t want to lose points with your tween. I know you don’t want to lose points with your hubby. I’ll insist FOR YOU. But not every photographer will.

It’s simple, friends. Know WHEN to ask. Don’t be afraid to!


During Dinner. Most guests don’t like to be photographed while they’re eating. For this reason, photos are pretty slow going during dinner. I for one, don’t mind being interrupted while I’m eating to take a guest photo! I may be eating dinner too, but I understand that I’m at a once in a life time gathering! ♥ As for other photographers; maybe wait and ask before they get in line for food or after they’ve finished eating!

During Open Dancing!!! This is the absolute best time to ask a wedding photographer for a photo as a guest. We LOVE taking a good family/couples/single portrait during open dancing! There are even jokes in the wedding vendor community about how many dancing photos we can possibly get before it’s just monotonous. When open dancing goes on longer than the rest of the wedding day, we get a little burnt out after the 250th dancing photo. Your request is a welcome break and will add wonderful variety to the finished gallery!

When NOT to ask:

During Cocktail Hour. If the photographer is actively taking group photos of the bride and grooms wedding party and immediate family. Always wait until they have 100% finished with these portraits to ask for a photo!

Before The Ceremony. Most photographers are getting “in the zone” before the ceremony. Even if they are just standing at the front of the ceremony, they are going through a mental checklist. Game planning with their second shooter. Testing lights. Or simply zenning out to be ready for the biggest event of the day.

Smile when we point your way!!

For 1-2 hours every wedding I’m scanning the crowd in a corner with my camera to catch candid conversations. Some of my best guest photos are when I’m doing this and a group of 2-5 see me and quickly point my way and you all look and smile! I LOVE YOU!!!

On the flip side: If you don’t like being photographed, the quickest way to get rid of a wedding photographer’s gaze who is trying so hard to capture the presence of each guest is to simply look at them, and smile. We will click our photo, smile back, and move on!

What do I do with my hands?

The wedding photographer is pointing their lens at you from 100 feet away. WHAT DO I DO WITH MY HANDS?! Simple. Put them around the person next to you. Hold onto some of the fabric of your dress. Give it a little whip back and fourth for beautiful movement as you smile at the camera for a quick shot. If you’re wearing a jacket, put your hand on the lapel or grip your palm over a button. If you have pockets, put your hands in your pockets! Smile at the camera while you run your fingers through your hair or push your hair out of your face. Don’t be afraid to ham it up for a second. Every photographer will love you for it.

Lastly, HAVE FUN AT THE WEDDING!!! If you’re sitting at your table and not participating in the festivities, the likelihood of you getting a cute photo goes down at least 50%.

Wedding Photographer’s are SUCKERS for mom’s and dad’s dancing with their kids or as a family. Get out there and take a turn dancing with each of your babies and the chances of you getting a cute photo with each kid goes up 80%! It’s science.

If you’re newly engaged just go be cute on the dance floor. You’ll get a photo.

If you’re single, cut a rug solo and own it. Only like two people know how to dance there anyway.

But Be Careful.

Your initial instinct was correct. It is not your day. But you ARE meant to be documented with a beautiful photo. This is not a chance to get a photo with every family combination possible. Take 1-2 photos. Be careful your request isn’t for a full mini session or mini engagement/portrait session. Be gracious with the photographer’s time as there are many other families and guests to document and they won’t all be as accommodating as you! ♥

I hope this helped! I hope you’re feeling a little more confident about asking the photographer at the next wedding you attend for a family/couples/single portrait photo!

Sincerely, Jaclynn

How to Get Good Photos | Wedding Guest Edition

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