You will definitely be nervous during your first dance. With the spotlight on you as a couple, how do you focus on your feet yet channel your nerves into the perfect first dance photos? Find out in today’s blog post.
Perfect First Dance Photos – Tips for You
Look at each other. Talk to each other. Focus on each other so hard that you block out the rest of the world around you. Sing along to the song together. Or even close your eyes and hug each other as you sway on the dance floor. The key to a great photo is emotion. You have just said , ‘I do,’ and as your photographer, I want your first look photos to say this and more. This isn’t just your typical dance, this is your first dance together as a married couple. Make every moment meaningful.
No matter how you decide to do you first dance, preparedness is key. First and foremost, if you will be wearing a long dress and tricky heels, make sure you practice your dance in your actual wedding dress and shoes so that you don’t trip. Further, Danielle and Rich told me beforehand about their special first dance plans, and if you have anything unique scheduled for your first dance — breakdancing, a serenade, a big dip, I’ve seen it all — make sure to let your photographer know. I want to be in the right place, at the right time. Even better, if you do have a big finale in the works, try to keep an eye out for your photographer and finish in front of the camera.
Maybe Say No to a First Dance?
As your photographer, what I don’t want is for your eyes to be darting around the room like a scared kitten. I’ve seen too many couples whose eyes betrayed the fact that they hated every moment of being on stage. If you can’t focus on one another for the length of the song, then don’t do a first dance. It will be pure torture for you both, and it will absolutely show in your photos. There is no shame in bucking tradition and staying true to what makes you comfortable.
Instead, you might consider what my clients, Danielle and Rich, did by having a private first dance. Neither one wanted to hog the spotlight, so they had a favorite song (‘Thank You,’ by Led Zeppelin) and told me beforehand this was going to be their official, non-official first dance. Without fanfare or any announcement from the DJ, the song started and Danielle and Rich danced unnoticed in a corner. Other guests shared the dance floor with them, but this was their private moment and I made sure to be there. Beautiful photo. Real emotion. Private moment in a non-private setting.
Perfect First Dance Photos – Venue Tips
One other thing you should absolutely tell your photographer is the song length for your first dance. Many of my clients like to do a truncated song so that they aren’t on the dance floor for a full 3+ minutes. I completely understand. That said, I like to switch lenses from my usual 24-70mm lens to a super wide lens and shoot up from the floor at least once during your dance. If your song is super short, then I might decide I don’t have time to switch lenses.
As with your the first look, make sure you have enough room on the dance floor so I can move around you and capture you from different angles. If you are working with a videographer — great! I will try to be opposite the videographer in order to take full advantage of the videographer’s constant light source.
And finally, backgrounds matter. You will probably have no control over this, but I have seen the most touching first dance photos ruined by guests in the background not paying attention, or worse, texting on their phones during the couple’s first dance. To the extent that this is possible, discourage cell phone use at your wedding, and try to get your guests involved: either by singing or clapping, etc. You want them to be a great addition to the photo, not a distraction.
Accompanying this article are photos fro Kirsten and João’s wedding at the DUMBO Loft in Brooklyn. These two are terrific dancers, and they entered the reception with a fantastic line dance. Later in the reception, Kirsten’s African dance teacher gave all of her guests a few lessons. Check out their moves!
Make sure you see how it all began with Kirsten and João’s engagement photos. See them dance on the cobblestone streets of the Meatpacking District.
If you would like to see more images from my wedding photojournalism portfolio, then please visit my website — KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com