Behind the Lens: Cape Cod Wedding Photography Trends

The beach tends to be the most popular spot for the first look pictures, according to photographer Abby McCarthy. Photo courtesy of McCarthy Photography.

A couple’s wedding day shared with friends, family and loved ones is a cherished experience kept for a lifetime. Couples can revisit these memories as they please through the assortment of pictures taken on their wedding day.

Abby McCarthy, owner of McCarthy Photography, combines her own tricks of the trade with upcoming photo trends and requests of couples to capture each special moment.

The First Look

Many brides and grooms manage to sneak away from the chaos before the ceremony with the photographer to create more intimate pictures.

“A lot of people want to do the first look before the ceremony,” said McCarthy. “They get more of the romantic portraits beforehand of just the couple.”

The beach tends to be the most popular spot for the first look pictures, especially being on Cape Cod, but many couples also seek out nearby historic locations.

Pros and Cons of Pinterest

Pinterest has grown to be a hub of all essential wedding details, including wedding photo styles. It is becoming increasingly popular for brides to share a special board full of their concepts with their photographer, but this can be both helpful and challenging.

“Pinterest is such a double edge sword, because they do get a lot of great ideas, but it can be tough,” said McCarthy.  “I can always recreate a pose, but if you’re have a beach wedding I can’t have a picture of you at a barn, so that can be hard.”

Top it off with a Prop or Photoshop

“A lot of people want props too, whether it is a sign or something like an amber stand,” said McCarthy.

Wedding hashtags have quickly become a wedding staple, and now couples are wanting to include them on a sign within the actual photos.

One trend McCarthy recalls is the bride and groom holding signs saying “Mr.” and “Mrs.” behind their backs.

Some couples want to add some humor to their photos with the help of Photoshop.

“One thing that I’ve gotten some requests for which is kind of silly is photo-shopping animals into pictures,” said McCarthy.

One classic example is a couple who added in a shark in the ocean in the background of their beach photography. 

Mix of Formal and Fun

Couples put tremendous consideration into selecting their bridesmaids and groomsmen, and so the pictures of the collective parties are given just as much thought.

McCarthy lines the party members up, pairing them into the couples they walked down the aisle with for really formal photos, however it is the candid ones that tend to be the most fun.

“I do try to get candid ones while we are setting up because sometimes people are make funny faces as they are yelling at each other to get into position,” said McCarthy. “Plus you know its cocktail hour so drinks have started coming out, so things get interesting.”

Cocktail hour makes nailing the perfect jumping-in-the-air picture that much more amusing and challenging.

Amidst all the fun, McCarthy still gets requests for some more sentimental pictures, especially from the bridesmaids.

“They want something that is more intimate, especially if it is a best friend or a close sister,” said McCarthy. “I like the ones of the bouquets at the feet of the bridesmaids, showing off their shoes.”

Every Little Detail

One request couples may not always think to make, but appreciate after-the-fact, is pictures of the objects and details that make up the wedding.

“I feel like it is an important thing to have, personally, because your day is so busy, you are going to forget all those flowers that you put into your bouquet or what your table settings look like,” said McCarthy. “I do make it a point to make a shot list of every good detail to get.”

Keeping it Candid

The most popular trend now is what McCarthy compares to photojournalism or documentary style wedding photography. Couples seem to be fixated on capturing candid moments throughout the day, rather than posed ones.

“They want you lurking around and getting the stuff that might normally be missed,” said McCarthy. “People laughing, kids dancing, less of the posed things and more of the random candid action.”

From formal to casual, posed to candid and everything in between, the photos taken with a combination of a photographer’s expertise and a couple’s personal touch will help memorialize the wedding day for years to come.

All photos courtesy of McCarthy Photography.

McCarthy Photography |

McCarthy Photography |

McCarthy Photography |

McCarthy Photography |

About the Author

The Weddings on Cape Cod staff aims to bring you the best information for planning your Cape Cod wedding--from choosing vendors to saying "I do".

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