First Dance Wedding Photography

7 Tips for The Best First Dance Wedding Photographs

We just love those epic first dance wedding photography moments. A good first dance really kick-starts the dance floor, setting the tone for the evening and providing great entertainment for the wedding guests. Here at Tux & Tales HQ, we are always eager to share our insider knowledge so that our couples can relax knowing that they are always going to look good on the dance floor and in their first dance wedding photographs. As with all wedding photography, fantastic first dance photographs are all about working with your photographer for the best possible results. So, without further ado, here are our top tips for how to get the very best out of your first dance wedding photography and turn even the most awkward of shuffles into a photograph to cherish forever.

Bride & Groom dance on stage at the Swan Theatre

For the best first dance photographs – Don’t rush it…

Our first tip is simply to make sure you give enough time for that awesome first dance photograph to happen. It sounds simple enough, but from our experience, time can really fly when all eyes are on you and (especially if there a few nerves present) it’s all too easy to jump the gun and cut the first dance short. Remember, the longer your first dance is, the more time we have to get creative and really work that epic first dance shot. As a rough estimate, we recommend a minimum of one and a half minutes of dancing  (just the two of you)  before inviting anyone else to join. A great trick to avoid losing track of the time is to select a moment in your song, in advance, that will be your cue to invite others onto the dance floor.

First dance couple at Hornington Manor Farm with blue and purple light

First Dance Wedding Photography Tips & Advice

Show us your best side for the best first dance photographs…

Our second tip is to try and show us your ‘good sides’ as much as possible during your first dance. Although it is ok to turn, first dance photography always looks its best when we are able to get a good number of photographs of you together in profile.  ‘Flair’ features such as twirls, should when possible, be performed side on to the camera for the best possible angle. We recommend having a quick word with us just before you begin your dance – we will be able to tell you which side of the dance floor we will mostly be photographing from and how best to angle your dance to make sure that none of those super connected looks, kisses and awesome moments are blocked by the back of someone’s head.

First Dance Wedding Photography Tips & Advice couple dance in purple light

Tell us all about it…

Got something special planned – tell us about it! We love when couples have a planned an awesome first dance surprise for their guests. Confetti canons, a choreographed dance, smoke – all up the anti and can look absolutely amazing in photos. Often the best photographic moments happen in seconds (especially with confetti canons) or require very particular camera settings and co ordination. We want to be ready to capture all your creative ideas so be sure to inform us in advance of any special plans so that we are prepared and can co ordinate with you on how best to capture those fantastic moments.

First Dance Wedding Photography Tips & Advice confetti canons

Awesome first dance photographs happen with a little bit of practise…

Practice makes perfect. If you are suffering from nerves and that first dance is feeling a bit daunting, just remember that the best cure for nerves is often preparation. A few spins around the living room with your partner and you’ll be feeling a whole lot more confident when the day arrives.

Bride and groom dance on black and white chequerboard dance floor

Don’t forget the setup time…

The first dance is often one of the wedding day events that gets moved back as by that time in the evening everyone is super relaxed and often other events have run slightly longer than expected. To get those awesome first dance photographs we use assistive lighting, which has to be tested beforehand (if you happen to see me doing a little jig all by myself in the middle of the dance floor, it’s not just sad… well, it is a little sad but it is probably also because Jaye is running a light test). So that we are ready to go straight into your first dance when you are, we recommend that couples give us a minimum of a ten minute heads up before they are ready to begin so that we can make sure our lights and your photography is looking awesome.

Bride and groom first dance at Barmbyfield Barns

First Dance Wedding Photography Tips & Advice Villa Farm

Leave some space to have a wiggle…

Another top tip is to own your space. Guests get super excited when the first dance starts and will often crowd into the dance floor so that they can get their own photos. The best first dance wedding photography happens when we have a little room to work in – which can be a bit tricky when we are negotiating with excited guests over the space. So that your first dance photographs look fantastic, we recommend coordinating with your venue and planning in advance a dance floor where you have plenty of space to pull all those moves that make for awesome photographs.

First Dance Wedding Photography Tips & Advice

Chat with the band for the best first dance photographs…

It is quite common, depending on the style of the band, for couples to have their first dance with recorded music just before the band kicks off for the evening. If you decided to do this, please make sure to chat with your band and ask them to stay seated or off-stage during the first dance. If they use your first dance as an opportunity to continue to set up, it is possible that they could appear in your photographs as disinterested bystanders or awkward 3rd wheels. Of course, we always try to avoid this photographically whenever possible by playing with angles, etc, but it isn’t always realistic depending on the number of band members, your position and how they are moving around.

Priste Wedding couple first dance

BONUS tip  – what DOES NOT matter for great first dance photographs…

Many couples worry that their first dance photographs will look lackluster because they are not “good” at dancing or are just planning to have a bit of an “awkward shuffle”. You know what? That is the one thing that completely does not matter. You will be so happy, in love and full of emotion that there will be plenty for us to work with – no need to plan any Dirty Dancing style lifts. So don’t let your lack of moves worry you – you will look amazing. To prove it… more than a few of these sample photographs came from couples who said they weren’t “good” at dancing.

First Dance Wedding Photography Tips & Advice East Riddlesden Hall
We love capturing awesome first dance photography and we hope our little tips have helped with your planning! We bet that you look good on the dance floor!

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