Wedding + Portrait

Candid Wedding Photographs: After the Family Formals

July 9, 2024

By Abbey Pleviak

“Those weird moments, the in-between, the perfect imperfect instants that life is made of — those are the most meaningful photographs,” says Raphaëlle Granger, a Montreal-based luxury wedding photographer and a Rangefinder 30 Rising Star of 2024. These candid wedding photographs are the moments that “capture how it truly felt and the essence of the couple and also their loved ones.”  

The image Granger shares with us this week shows off just such a moment. It was taken after the family formals – in a time of chaos and disorganization. And it captures all the loved ones of the bride and groom in kinetic joy, sharing “a raw, authentic realness” that Granger feels to be deeply moving.   

© Raphaëlle Granger

Pushing Creative Boundaries 

For Granger, who describes her work as “timeless, intimate, and raw” as well as documentary and playful, the family formals have always been her most dreaded part of wedding photography. While she understands the importance of posed images, the family formals have always haunted her with their “potential for chaos and lack of creativity.”  

In fact, to achieve this series of beautiful images, Granger says her biggest challenge to overcome was in her own mindset. Her tendency, and that of many photographers, is to simply conform with the expectations of the moment and not push creative boundaries. Instead, Granger chose to “strive to infuse [her] own unique perspective into the situation.” It’s a decision she’s very proud she took, and her favorite image from this sequence is also her favorite of last season. 

© Raphaëlle Granger

3 Tips for Capturing Candids After the Family Formals 

After setting up this group of around 25 family members for family formals and accomplishing those photos, Granger thanked them, and then it was time to get her creative shots. There are three tips she shares that can help other photographers accomplish a similar shot. She says: 

  1. Ask the couple to wait three seconds before leaving. That [gives you] just enough time to jump off the ladder and really go into the action. 
  1. The lens makes all the difference. To achieve a feeling of motion while being so close to the subject, you need an extra-wide lens. 35mm isn’t nearly wide enough. 24mm will also give limitations. 14mm – 16mm are my go-to.  
  1. Most important of all, don’t be afraid to go into the action. Really in. Get real close to your subject. If you stay too far away, you will create a layer of distance, taking out the rawness of the moment. 
© Raphaëlle Granger

More Than a Picture, A Core Memory 

Granger says, “This picture is everything I dream of and wish to achieve in my work.” Not only does it perfectly encapsulate her goal of creating timeless, intimate, and raw images, also “it is a photo that directly takes the couple back to this specific moment and brings out all the feelings and emotions they were experiencing.” Granger is always hunting for the unusual, raw moments during a wedding day – those moments that truly express the feeling and the emotions of the day. For her, this image does exactly that. She says, “It’s more than a picture; it’s a core memory.” 

Follow Raphaëlle Granger on Instagram and Facebook. View the full 30 Rising Star Winners Gallery for 2024 here.