Top 10 Ideas for Creative Wedding Photos (Part 1)

May 23, 2020

Because I’m a creative wedding photographer who is always making up new photo techniques and finding new angles (as well as having clients who are gung-ho to try all my weird ideas!), it seems only right that my first real blog post be about creative wedding photos. Whether you’re a groom-to-be, bride-to-be, photographer, planner, or bored individual surfing the web, this post should give you some creative ideas. No more average, cookie-cutter wedding photos!

First off, if you’re interested in taking unique wedding photos and shots that are creative, be prepared to go to art, hardware, and thrift stores, hunt around your house, and get a bit dirty. If you’re a client who wants something unique, be prepared to make some extra time for experimentation, and make sure you’re ready to possibly get dirty or wet! Going on hikes, getting in water, laying on the ground, standing in front of fire spinners…it’s all par for the course. One-of-a-kind wedding photos often take some time—and a lot of imagination. Don’t want to ruin your wedding clothes? Do the adventure shoot/adventure session the day after, or go to your local Goodwill/thrift store for cheap imitations.

Second…you don’t want me to write any more, do you? That’s like those recipe blogs where you have to scroll down 94 pages just to get to the actual recipe, right? So, onwards with some unique wedding and creative engagement photo ideas for fearless clients:

1. Under water:

Underwater engagement photos - UW engagement photography NYC and Hawaii

Underwater sessions aren’t easy, but they’re amazing fun—and super unique. How many people have underwater engagement shoots or adventure shoots in their wedding clothes? Not many. I have an underwater casing just for these shoots. I took this one during a destination wedding in Hawaii (Big Island).

2. Jumping into something (water, ball pit, leaves):

Fun engagement photo ideas - bride and groom jump into lake with wedding clothes on - trash the dress photoshoot

You needn’t do a jump shot like we all did in the good ol’ days (ok, and I still do after nearly 20 years), but I can get amazingly fun images when couples decide to jump into something. It’s a one-and-done deal most of the time so I have to be ready to fire off a burst of shots, but man is it fun! I took this one on a lake in Upstate New York. Other ideas I’d love to do? Chuck-E-Cheese (seriously), a gym, and a trampoline park.

3. Find a unique perspective

Palace of Fine Arts LGBT wedding photography San Francisco

The ceiling of the main dome at the Palace of Fine Arts (San Francisco, California) is awesome, but unless you get down to look up, you’ll never see it. I used my wide-angle lens to capture this couple during their San Francisco City Hall elopement.

4. In a museum:

Creative engagement photographer NYC - unique proposal photographer Kathryn Cooper

I took this engagement photo right after he proposed to her! It was inside the spy/hacker museum Spyscape in New York City. There are so many wild, fun shots from that evening!

5. Use Light Creatively

Creative wedding photos - Albany photographer unique light tricks photos

After dinner, Nicole and Earle agreed to go outside with me. My assistant and I had set up a spot for them to stand, and I put the camera on a long exposure while running behind them with a light source. So cool!

6. Upside-down

Epic wedding photo of couple upside-down. Wacky wedding photo from Austria by creative wedding photographer Kathryn Cooper Weddings

I’ll leave this to your imagination, but one hint: We shot this one in Austria. The best part about getting married in Europe is that instead of going to another state for photos, you can go to another country! In terms of creative wedding photos…this may be my favorite of all time.

7. Find a unique location

Unique wedding photos - political wedding photographer news Kathryn Cooper Weddings

Yeah, this seems obvious. But you’d be surprised how many people want something different, but only allow 30 minutes for photos. If you really want unique, one-of-a-kind wedding images, then dedicating several hours, half a day, or even a full day is key. This allows you to drive, hike, plan, and play as long as you need to get some incredible shots. If you’re eloping, that’s even better. More time, right? I photographed this quirky couple in an amazing, out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere California sculpture park that I’d scouted out. It was wacky and absolutely wonderful.

8. Get in (or at least near) a waterfall

Waterfall elopement photographer - Hudson Valley wedding photographer Kathryn Cooper - Minnewaska wedding

This lovely falls is in New Paltz, NY, and is super easy to get to. Plus, you can hop in or get right up to the edge. Heck, you can even get right at the top of the falls if you’re not afraid of heights! Speaking of which…when will I get to photograph a couple having a skydiving wedding? Or a trapeze wedding?

9. Take a long hike

Acadia National Park elopement - LGBTQ wedding photographer Maine

Escape the stress on a nice hike. You get to know your photographer (or me, my clients), you spend time chatting before this huge camera lens is held up—which, let’s face it, can be daunting—and it’s downright beautiful. Plus, you get to explore places with your handy-dandy photographer (well, moi) that you otherwise wouldn’t have known about! I took Erin and Jenn on this 2-hour hike in beautiful Acadia National Park, Maine. My assistant and I carried their dress and suit up, waited while they changed in the woods, and then photographed them on top of the mountain. It was one of my favorite photoshoots ever, and the views were stunning. Plus, look at that dress!

10. Props can be pretty cool

Creative wedding photo Land's End San Francisco Sutro Baths wedding photographer

I’m not talking about a top hat or an umbrella here. I mean little tricks of the trade your photographer could use, such as pipes, prisms, petals, and other things not necessarily starting with the letter “p.” This is a copper pipe photo I took at the Sutro Baths—no Photoshopping!

Look, engagement photos and wedding photos aren’t the only thing you need to worry about in life, but then again…when are you going to have an experienced photographer take photos of you again? When are you planning on looking so good, and paying a good sum for a photographer? For most, the answer is never again/not for 10 years at least. If that’s not you, I want to know your celebrity lifestyle.

So, if you’re not one who wants average wedding photos, this list is hopefully a great way to help you understand what to look for in a photographer’s portfolio. If you’re a photographer, I hope this helps! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions (address at the bottom of this post). The best lesson here from my “Top 10 ideas for Creative Wedding Photos” list? Creative wedding photography takes planning, spontaneity, a creative eye, time, and a sense of adventure. I’m always working on new ways to make my clients’ photos stand out, so expect to see more creative ideas soon!


[…] to get a more unique look. Paper, prisms, and tubes make for cool props in the right hands. As a creative wedding photographer, you better believe I have an awesome toolbox full of these things! They’re there to enhance my […]

[…] and leave the rest up to your planner and photographer! Plus, it doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with your wedding photos. So in no particular order, these are my favorite no-passport-required, best places to elope in the […]

Wow, first off – these are epic and I love you have a picture to represent most/all of them! Second, UNDERWATER SHOTS ARE SO HARD but once you master it, there’s no going back!

Love how creative you are! These are such fun ideas!

I love these so much. The upside down one never ceases to amaze me, and your colours and so bright and lovely!!

it may be easy to just stuck in a routine and same styles, but pushing yourself out of your comfort zone actually might be very productive as you show it perfectly here. such great ideas!

Love all of these ideas. It’s so great to get out of your comfort zone and do something a bit different. I’m sure your couples love it!

So cool! My favorite is the upside down photo as well. The long exposure light photo is super creative too. I just really enjoy how your photos are not typical wedding photos! Keep it up.

These photos are so epic. I love how you show many different ways to practice so we can be more observant to become more creative. Love it friend

Love your creative ideas! So great that couples enjoy this part of your creative side

Are you available to brainstorm ideas for a creative wedding in addition to photography? PS I hate those forever-scrolling recipe blogs.