The Importance of Recording the Subplots of the Wedding Day

Weddings photographers spend most of their wedding day with their clients, recording every little detail throughout the day. From the bride and groom’s preparations through the ceremony and the reception, and on to the romantic first dance – photographers are there to capture every moment.

However, wedding photography isn’t all about the bride and groom. They create unforgettable memories with all their guests, and it’s important to capture those as well and make them last forever.

A lot of interesting things are happening on the sidelines, so you should keep an eye out for all those candid moments. Step away from the main story whenever you can and start recording the exciting subplots.

Why Are Sideline Shots Essential?

There are wedding photographers who think that the bride and groom should be the sole focus of the wedding day. They don’t go out on the periphery to check out the subplots of the event.

This isn’t the best way to shoot wedding photos. Such photos don’t convey the big picture of your clients’ big day. They present only part of the day, and you’re there to record the guests enjoying the event as well.

Sideline shots are an essential part of every wedding, as they add depth and make the story unique. So, grab your camera and head for the sidelines. You can be sure that every client will be forever grateful.

Recording the Subplots

If you’ve never worried much about recording the subplots, you may not know where to start. The key is to fully understand the importance of the subplots first. Once you get a clear picture of why it’s vital to record them, you’ll know exactly what to do. You’ll be the master of wedding photography before you even know it.

The Essence of the Wedding Day

Subplots truly are an essential part of your clients’ big day. The two of them may be the focus of the wedding, but their guests make the day complete.

The bride and groom expect you to capture every moment of their special day. When they sit down to go through their wedding album and reminisce, they want to see it all. They want to see the smiles on their loved ones’ faces and all the little details that made their wedding special.

This isn’t possible if you make only them the center of attention. They want to celebrate their marriage with all their loved ones, which calls for plenty of periphery photos. If their wedding were only about them, they wouldn’t invite anyone, would they? They would go to the courthouse, or even elope to some exotic destination.

Therefore, when shooting a wedding, make sure you create a complete picture. Look out for all the wonderful moments away from the newlyweds. Capture every guest who came to share in the joy, and the love birds will thank you.

Capturing the Entire Wedding Story

As you’ve certainly realized by now, the bride and groom are not the only important people at the wedding. Their wedding is just as much about their guests as it is about them. If you don’t record the smaller parts going on away from the main action, you’re not covering the entire story.

Take a page out of the book of Smart Photo Editors professionals. They recommend that about 30-50% of your photos should be the sideline shots. Keep this in mind when preparing to shoot your next wedding.
Granted, weddings can be chaotic, especially when there are a great number of guests. Numerous things are happening simultaneously, but it’s your job not to let them distract you. It’s your responsibility to capture all the emotions on the sidelines and create a unique journal of the day.

This is especially important because your clients can later experience all the moments that they weren’t present for. They can’t be everywhere at the same time, but that’s why you’re there. You can help them experience all the excitement that was happening around them.

Conveying a Sense of Depth

Adding depth to the sideline shots is equally important as actually recording them. It’s not enough to take a candid photo of every guest to capture the whole story. If you only focus on making portraits, your photographs won’t convey all the emotions.

You need to master your visual storytelling so that your photos can have the necessary depth. When you add depth to all the side stories, all the shots will come together to give a unique experience. They’ll present a full experience that your clients will cherish forever.

Adding Wonder and Curiosity

If you want to achieve mastery in wedding photography, you need to feed your curiosity. You need to experiment and play with your skills and let your feelings guide you.

What is it that inspires you as a wedding photographer? Search for that inspiration and creativity, because that’s what will help you capture the best sideline shots.

You are completely uninhibited when shooting a wedding, which is incredibly important for recording the subplots. That’s precisely what will help you experiment and insert creativity and wonder into your photography.

Here’s a useful list of the essential shots you should take at a wedding. Print it out and carry it with you at every wedding you shoot, and you’ll never miss a candid moment.


Keeping in mind all these elements of recording the wedding subplots will help you become the master of wedding photography. But there’s one more thing you need to be ready for – anticipation.

Your success as a photographer is directly correlated to anticipation. At times, you might wait for the perfect moment for quite a while. But when you find what you’re looking for, you’ll have an ideal shot that will capture the right mood.

You have to be patient, but you also need to have the right skills to recognize the right moment. Find the best lighting, take compositional elements into account, and the moment will appear right before your eyes.

Therefore, keep your eyes peeled and have enough patience. Anticipate the right moment, and your photos will convey the mood and atmosphere of the entire wedding.

That’s exactly the importance of the sideline shots. They may be the recordings of the subplots happening away from the main story, but they are what completes the story. They make the entire wedding day unique, special, and unforgettable. As such, they are more than just peripheral. They are the essence of the whole wedding story.