Photographing strangers is never easy. The more you think about it, the more awkward it feels and the more difficult it becomes. If you’re the official photographer at a wedding or event, you are of course there by invitation, so you shouldn’t feel quite as awkward about photographing strangers or approaching them to ask their permission for photos.
The good thing about taking photos of people there is that they are expecting to be photographed. Think about people playing the slots or cards at a casino: they’re probably enjoying themselves, but might Click here and gamble more discreetly rather than risk having their picture taken. The same is true of any guilty pleasure, but weddings don’t usually fall under that category.
When taking candid photos, don’t skulk around. Be relaxed, and handle the camera with smooth, fluid movements. By acting confidently, you’ll draw less attention to yourself. If you are caught taking candid photos, smile and move on – it’s a dance.
Candid, reportage-style photos are popular in modern wedding or event photography, but you will still usually want a selection of posed pictures where the subjects make eye contact. You don’t have to worry about staying low-profile anymore; instead you’ll be asking guests if they mind you taking their photo. Since they’re expecting to be photographed, this should be less nerve-wracking than in random situations outside.
Before approaching people outside, think about the quality of light available. When the sun is low in the sky, you can bathe your subject’s face with warm, pleasing light. On the other hand, if the sun is high in a cloudless sky, the light will be flatter, harsher, and more uncomfortable for the subject. In that case, you should look for sheltered areas with diffused light. You can always use sunlight as contre-jour backlighting, too, perhaps with a little fill-flash to lift the portrait.