Tips + Techniques


How to Capture a Perfect Twirl Photo at Weddings

March 13, 2024

By SLR Lounge

Capturing the dynamic and joyous moments of a wedding is an art form, and one of the most visually captivating shots a photographer can aim for is a twirl photo. A twirl, whether performed by the bride alone or with her groom, adds a touch of whimsy and romance to the wedding album. Here’s how to master these captivating shots, ensuring your wedding photography stands out.

The following images are provided by the photographers at Wedding Maps and used with their permission.

Use a Fast Shutter Speed to Avoid Motion Blur

To freeze the action and capture the beauty of a twirl photo without any motion blur, you’ll need to use a fast shutter speed. Start with a shutter speed of at least 1/500th of a second and adjust according to the lighting conditions and the speed of the twirl. This ensures the detail of the dress and the expressions of joy are crisply captured.

Elopement in Banff in Banff, Alberta Canada © 4 Eyes Photography

For creative motion blur effects with the twirl, lower your shutter speed to around 1/60th of a second and follow the movement of the twirl with your camera. This technique requires practice to perfect.

Capture Multiple Photos to Ensure Good Expressions

Timing is everything when capturing a twirl. Set your camera to burst mode to take multiple shots per second. This way, you’re more likely to capture that perfect expression of joy and spontaneity that makes twirling pictures so special. It gives you a variety of options to choose from, ensuring you capture the best moment.

Islington Town Hall in London UK © Andy Sidders Photography

Don’t Be Afraid to Do It Multiple Times

Perfection often requires patience. Encourage the couple to perform the twirl multiple times to get a range of shots and expressions. This repetition also helps the couple feel more at ease and natural, improving the quality of the captures.

Silverthorne, Colorado © Vows and Peaks

Capture the Bride Twirling by Herself

There’s something magical about a bride twirling in her wedding dress, showcasing its flow and beauty. Position yourself to capture the full movement of the dress, paying attention to lighting to ensure the details of the gown are highlighted.

Schloss Neuhaus in Baden Württemberg Germany © Andreas Pollok
© Kevin Heslin

Capture the Groom Twirling the Bride

This shot adds an interactive element to your twirl photographs. Position the couple so that you can capture their expressions as they look into each other’s eyes. The connection between the couple during the twirl adds a romantic depth to your photos.

Indian Peaks Wilderness in Boulder, CO © Larsen Photo Co
© The Greens Photo

Capture the Twirl with a Wide Angle and Scenic Background

Utilize a wide-angle lens to incorporate the beauty of the wedding venue or scenic location into your twirl shots. This not only captures the twirl but also places it within the context of the day, adding a narrative element to your photo.

Haleakala National Park in Maui, Hawaii © Angie Nelson
National Mall in Washington DC © Natasha Lamalle

Capture the Twirl at a Medium Zoom and Crop

For a more intimate portrayal of the twirl, use a medium zoom to focus on the couple. This approach captures the finer details of the expressions and the intricacies of the wedding attire, creating a more personal and emotional photo.

Eolia Mansion at Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, Connecticut © Teresa Johnson

Capture the Twirl During the First Dance

The first dance is an ideal moment to capture a twirl. The lighting, the ambiance, and the couple’s emotional high contribute to creating a memorable image. Anticipate the moment and position yourself for the best angle.

Long Beach, CA © Holding and Co
Private Residence, Shark Key in Key West, Florida © Michael Freas
Lucien’s Manor in Berlin, NJ © SMJ Photography

Try Combining Artistic Techniques with the Twirl

Experiment with different artistic techniques, such as motion blur for parts of the image while keeping the couple in focus, or playing with light to create a silhouette effect. These techniques can add a unique touch to your twirl photos, making them stand out.

Kloster Schöntal in Baden Württemberg Germany © Andreas Pollok
Woodcliff Hotel in Rochester, NY © Bob Kniley
Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield, MA © BridgetQ Photography

Have Fun and Try Having the Bride Spin the Groom

In addition to traditional twirling shots, don’t forget to inject some fun and playfulness into your wedding photography by suggesting the bride spin the groom. This unexpected twist not only adds a humorous element to your photo collection but also allows the couple’s personality and dynamics to shine through. Encourage the couple to let loose and enjoy the moment, and be ready to capture their spontaneous reactions and interactions.

Pineapple Chapel in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii © Angie Nelson

Conclusion

© Lin and Jirsa

Capturing the perfect twirl photo requires a blend of technical skill, artistic vision, and collaboration with the couple. With these tips, you’re well-equipped to add stunning twirling pictures to your wedding photography portfolio, creating memories that couples will treasure for a lifetime.

Photographing Love by Kristina Wikle

The Location Lighting Series

Essential Retouching Workflow

The Power of Color to Transform Your Images

Editing from Start to Finish