The bouquet toss is one of the most entertaining and exciting traditions in a wedding – but it can also be the most difficult moments of the evening for the wedding photographer! Although it’s filled with fun, laughter, and a perfect springboard for hilarious reactions to ensue, it can pose a few obstacles if you don’t execute quickly on your feet! Here are just a few of my favorite tips on how to photograph a bouquet toss!
1. Know when it’s going down.
Don’t be caught off-guard. Keep a copy of the order of events with you or on your smart phone and stay in communication with the wedding coordinator, if applicable. It’s a must that you anticipate the bouquet toss happening.
2. Control your environment.
Don’t be afraid to step in and tell the bride exactly where she should stand, and show the single ladies where to gather, too. You’re being paid to create beautiful imagery for the couple, and I can tell you with 99% certainty that they will trust you as the professional.
3. Use a wide(r) angle lens.
A wide angle lens or midrange zoom is a great choice for receptions in general, but it’s especially important to be able to capture lots of action in one frame without having to back up a ton during moments like the bouquet toss. Try a 35mm so that you can ensure you get the bride in the foreground and the single ladies in the background. A 24-70mm is also a fantastic option.
4. Position yourself.
I like to have a chair ready so that I can capture the action from a little ways up, directly in front of the bride. It makes it easier for me to photograph the expression on the bride’s face (which can be hilarious!) and also hop down directly after to photograph the single ladies fighting (or running away!) from the bouquet!
5. Use on and off-camera flash.
It’s a must to use some sort of flash at weddings due to the dimly lit ambience, but I recommend learning how to use additional lights to enhance the mood and moment. My FAVORITE thing to do is to keep one of my speedlights mounted on my camera, bouncing the light from the ceiling for even fill light while keeping another flash set off-camera in the crowd of single ladies. This will add some pop to your background where all of the other girls and women stand, and also separate your bride from the pack, like so:
As a bonus, this is a fantastic setup to quickly photograph the bride and the lucky recipient of the bouquet together! No changes needed! Just grab the two of them and put them in front of your off-camera flash for some beautiful backlit photos! Do this fast, because they will run off before you know it and the moment’s over!
Camera: 35mm at f1.4, ISO 1250, 1/125 // Lighting: on-camera flash at 1/64, off-camera flash at 1/32 (all three images above)
You might notice that I didn’t mention anything about camera settings, other than the mention of what I used in the two images above. This is because your settings will vary depending on what you’re using for lighting, etc. BUT if you’re using flash, you won’t need to worry about your shutter being fast enough to freeze the action. Flash does that for you!
If you’re been struggling with how to photograph a bouquet toss, I sure hope this helps! Bouquet tosses are not easy, but once you learn what works for you, you’ll be able to capture some incredibly fun moments that your bride will love!
Emily Chappell is a Columbia Wedding Photographer and Greenville Wedding Photographer, in Columbia and Greenville, South Carolina. She also specializes in wedding photography in Charleston and is a destination wedding photographer who loves to travel. Contact Emily Chappell Photography for more information about Columbia South Carolina Wedding Photography in Columbia, SC.