Bouquet and Garter Toss photographs are a staple at weddings. They’re opportunities for the bride to share a fun and exciting movement with her friends and family, but they can also be difficult to capture because of the fast-moving action and the low light environments at most wedding receptions.  The action often moves quickly, and you can’t ask for a do-over, so it helps to know what to expect and how to light the scene so that you can move into position before the moment has passed.  To help, here are some tips for better Bouquet and Garter Toss photography: Note: This education is an abridged, written version of the Bouquet and Garter Toss video tutorial in our Wedding Photography Training System within SLR Lounge Premium.  The images are from our group of the best wedding photographers on Wedding Maps.

Direct and Position Everyone Involved

If you take the complete “fly-on-the-wall” approach to these moments, you might get caught out of position with a blocked angle.  You might also have lighting issues, with insufficient lighting or shadows for parts of the scene. Take control and place everyone into the ideal locations for the best photos and video.  That might mean having to “stop” the action or move large groups of people.  But the results will be well worth it. Photo by M and G Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Little Wold Vineyard Yorkshire England Photo by Andreas Pollok (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) Schloss Heinsheim Baden Württemberg Germany

Get the Photography Team in the Right Positions

If you have multiple photographers, you have a chance to get multiple angles to help tell a complete story.  These other angles also serve as a backup in case either of you have any unexpected issues with your angles, your lighting, or your gear. Lead Photographer – The lead photographer should be directly in front of the bride or groom with the bride or groom as the main focal point.  The group of people catching the bouquet or garter should be in the background, as you see in the image below.

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Bouquet Toss Image by Jason Vinson [Website | Wedding Maps Profile]

  2nd Shooter (Option 1) – The second photographer can be in a similar position but focused on the guests catching the bouquet or garter.  Technically this photo can be captured by the lead photographer as well.  However, switching focus from the bride or groom to the group catching the items is difficult to time, so having multiple photographers is more ideal.   Photo by Jessie and Dallin (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Oak Hills Layton, UT USA

Photo by Joanna and Brett (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Storybook Gardens Rochelle, Illinois United States 2nd Shooter (Option 2) – Alternatively, you can have the second photographer perpendicular to the action to catch the entire scene. Or you can have him or her on the side with a close up of the guests catching the bouquet or garter. Photo by Dan Dalstra (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) 3rd Shooter – If you have a third photographer, have him or her take one of the two positions mentioned above.

Watch Your Flash Power

Be sure your flash is recycling fast enough to fire multiple shots per second.  This usually means firing at a flash power of 1/16th or lower depending on the type of flash unit, the available light, and the environment.  The slower your flash is recycling, the more accurate you’ll have to time your shot for the right moment. Photo by Mauricio Urena (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Santa Rosa Ruins Antigua Guatemala

Photo by 1836 Photographie (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at The Milestone in New Braunfels, TX Photo by Cameron Martinez (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Copperleaf Garden And Event Center in Broomfield, Colorado

Shoot The Before and After

Remember to keep your camera up before and after the bouquet toss or garter toss. In these in-between movements, you’ll have great opportunities for fun, candid reactions. Photo by Cameron Martinez (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Copperleaf Garden And Event Center in Broomfield, Colorado

Use the Right Lenses

For these types of scenes, zoom lenses (such as a 24-70mm) work well because they allow photographers to capture both wide and tight angles of the action. Bouquet and garter tosses usually draw large groups of “single” participants, so 24mm focal length should work for capturing the entire group while the 70mm focal length will allow for closer shots of expressions, which are usually pretty funny (as illustrated below in the example from the video of the girls diving for the bouquet).

Conclusion and More info

These tips should help you capture some great memories of this fun tradition!  Check out our article on Wedding Maps for more bouquet and garter toss photos,   Also, if you have any additional thoughts or tips, please mention them in the comments below!  For more wedding photography education, be sure to see our Wedding Photography Training System within SLR Lounge Premium.

More Bouquet Toss Inspiration

Photo by Andy Sidders Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at The Gatsby Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire UK

Photo by Danieka at Picturist Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Beloftebos in Cape Town South Africa

Photo by Jeroen Savelkouls (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Klooster Bethlehem in Haren, The Netherlands

Photo by M and G Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Crayke Manor in Yorkshire England

Photo by JCM Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at The Parker Mill Whittier, NC United States

Photo by Courtland Photography (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Harmony Ridge Lodge in Nevada City, California

Photo by Creando Fotos (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Las Pampas Monterrey, Mexico

Photo by Party of Two (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Triple C Barrel Room Charlotte, NC USA

Garter Toss Photo Inspiration

Here are examples of fun and exciting Garter Toss Photos: Photo by Kivus and Camera (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at The Carolina Barn at McCormick Farms Spring Hill, North Carolina Photo by Tracy Jenkins (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Squantum Association in East Providence, RI Photo by Dan Dalstra (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at The Laboratory Mill in Charlotte, NC Photo by Kristin Cheatwood (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at The Valley Club in Hailey, Idaho Photo by Zack Bradley (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Parker-Binns Vineyard in Mill Spring, North Carolina Photo by Stefani Ciotti (Website | Wedding Maps Profile) at Montclair Wedding & Event Venue Colleyville, TX