Intimate, Fun and Romantic: 20 Atmospheric First Dance Portraits

24 Sep 2015

Pop on a romantic soundtrack and get some ideas flowing for your first dance with these top 20 inspirational dancefloor portraits from UK wedding photographers at the 20Collective 

Before guests fill the dancefloor to join the party, wedding couples share an intimate moment during their first dance that theyll remember forever. Whether its a fun dance track, a slow romantic ballad, or an exotic rhythm, all eyes are on you so its important your wedding photographer captures the atmosphere.

These shining examples of first dance shots will have you ready to sparkle, shimmy and sashay with your groom on the big day (before the robot dancing starts).

A Hilton London wedding by F5 Photography - Rahul Khona


I normally always shoot my first dances with off-camera lighting, but in this case it wasn't really needed as the DJ's lights were amazing,says Rahul Khona of F5 Photography. I shot a few frames with my light, but my favourite was using the DJ's lights and waiting for this moment to happen. This is one of my favourite first dance photos.


An Achnagairn House wedding in Inverness by ARJ Photography


I often get a feeling throughout the day of how a first dance is going to go,explain ARJ Photography. Sometimes its all about the couple really enjoying that first dance to a special song as husband and wife, and sometimes its just about getting it over with and getting the party started. At Katie and Rogs Inverness wedding I knew it was going to be super-emotional and special (partly as they were having two songs for their first dance). They danced with each other as if there was nobody else in the venue, let alone the room. It was a truly special first dance to capture.


A Creslow Manor wedding in Buckinghamshire by Adam Riley Photography


The first dance is one of my favourite parts of the day to capture. The bride and groom get to spend some time together, and often share words as they dance away albeit with all the wedding guests looking on,says Adam Riley. “I like this shot from Creslow Manor as it shows the bride and groom having a moment together and all the guests looking on.


APowderham Castle wedding in Devon by Albert Palmer Photography


I love the perspective of this image as well as the moment,explains photographer Albert of Albert Palmer Photography. I had my assistant help light the scene while I took a high vantage point on a balcony. I took a few frames before hastily descending and getting a few more normalphotos at a lower vantage point. I try to push my creative boundaries through the day and this is one of those times where I wasnt quite sure it would work.


A church wedding at Left Bank, Leeds, by Andy Gaines


This is one of my favourite first dance images, not only because it really shows off Left Bank, the amazing old church in Leeds that Amy and Mike got married in, but also because it was so epic to get the shot,says photographer Andy Gaines. I climbed up the inside of an old pillar via a rusty ladder, among lots of dead pigeons and lots of cobwebs to emerge out on an unprotected walkway 60 feet above the dancefloor. But it was worth it.


A Knightsbridge wedding at 30 Pavilion Road by Ben Joseph Photography


Heres a first dance shot taken at 30 Pavilion Road in Knightsbridge,explains Ben Joseph. The grooms joy is evident here as he clasps his new bride with both hands. The parents look on with affectionate expressions often its what is going on at the sides of the frame that tells the viewer more about what is actually going on in the picture. A simple shot that brings an end to the narrative of the day.


A Kew Gardens wedding by Jackson & Co Photography


Jewish weddings are incredible to photograph and weve been lucky enough to photograph a handful of them now,say Michael and Hannah of Jackson & Co Photography. Jodie and Will got married in Kew Gardens which is the most impressive setting for a wedding weve ever been to. Jewish dancing is crazy the love and energy that gets unleashed on the dancefloor never fails to amaze, as people whirled around hoisting the happy couple into the air.


A Berkshire wedding at Wasing Park by Kristian Leven Photography


I always feel the best images of the first dance are taken when the guests have joined in on the dancefloor and the couple relax and realise all eyes aren't on them anymore,says photographer Kristian. This is one such moment, taken at Wasing Park last year. Its one of those images where everything came together, and I absolutely love it for it.


A Norfolk Cley Windmill wedding by CG Weddings by CG Weddings by the Crawleys


This frame was created at Cley Windmill in Norfolk,explains Liam of CG Weddings by the Crawleys. My job as a creative documentary photographer is to capture the emotion of a wedding in a creative way this image ticks those two boxes for me. The first dance can be a daunting event for the bride and groom having all those eyes on them is enough to make anyone nervous. The prospect of so many people watching can sometimes cancel out any true tender moments, but not in this frame. For all they know they are the only people in the room. For me, this is a rare capture at a wedding.


A Mandarin Oriental Hotel wedding in London by Lorenzo Photography


This was the first dance for Nadine and Seans wedding at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge, London,says Lorenzo. Moments later the PA system broke down, but fortunately normal service was resumed soon after. I love it when you can see the bride and groom silhouetted with their guests forming the background. It makes a far more interesting image for me to see the guest reactions and the happiness on show for the newly married couple.


A Surrey wedding at Warren House by Lyndsey Goddard Photography


This intimate moment from Suzie and Simons wedding shows them on the dancefloor, lost in the moment during their first dance,says Lyndsey Goddard. Taken at Warren House in Surrey, it was lit by available light, with a touch of the videographers video light landing on the bride's face just enough to show her smile. I like the tenderness of this image, how as a viewer we have glimpsed a private moment between the newlyweds.


A tipi wedding by Matt Tyler Photography


I love a tipi wedding and Heather and Toms was no exception,reveals photographer Matt Tyler. It was a fantastic day full of fun and awesome music. Their first dance was beautiful the location and lighting really made it seem like something out of a movie. I love how intimate this image feels, but what you cant see is all the people standing off to the right.


A central London wedding at Banking Hall by Miki Photography


Amy and Jonnie had their wedding at Banking Hall in London. The whole day theyd been waiting for the party as they met while dancing, so they couldnt wait to get the band on (an amazing 80s cover band),Miki explains. So as they came up for their dance it was a signal to get the party started and Jonnie literally swung Amy around and dipped her. I love this shot and they do too. It just has an energy to it and is a bit different to the usual first dance photos.


A Lancashire wedding at Hoghton Tower by Neil Redfern Photography


I love the first dance,admits Neil. It is the last traditional part of the wedding day and also the signal to really get the party started in the evening. Wherever possible I like to try and shoot the first dance nice and wide, before moving in closer. At Hoghton Tower in Lancashire I was able to take this even further and shoot the beginning of Kim and Johns first dance from a ledge high above the dance floor. I love how you can see all their guests watching them seconds later the dancefloor was packed.


A French wedding at Chateau de la Bourlie by Rik Pennington Photography


This is a once in a lifetime shot,says Rik. I'd noticed how amazing Agate's dress looked during her first dance and glanced down to see the line of shadow and light, and also the shape of her dress. I didn't see the flower at the time and that's just a bonus to make a first dance shot that I doubt I'll ever better.


A Cripps Barn, Cotswolds, wedding by Sam Gibson Photography


This image was taken during Jenni and Wills first dance at their beautiful summer wedding at Cripps Barn in the Cotswolds,explains Sam. I love the wider shot giving the context of the surroundings, with their family and friends all looking on. Theres such a great display of expressions too, with my favourite being the look between the couple.


A Cheshire Peckforton Castle wedding by Samuel Docker Photography


Joe and Katies Cheshire wedding was something quite spectacular,says Samuel Docker. It took place on New Years Eve with almost 100 guests, Katie wore a stunning Vera Wang dress, there were candles galore plus fireworks to finish the night off, and it was all held at the breathtaking Peckforton Castle. All of that aside, I love how they seem to be the only people there in this shot just them, married, enjoying their first dance.


A Kent wedding at the Hotel du Vin, by Stephen Bunn Photography


This photo was taken at Carmen and Michael's wedding at The Hotel du Vin in Tunbridge Wells. I like the romance of this image,says Stephen. The room is very dark, but the couple are lit, allowing us to glimpse this private moment between them.


A Gorton monastery wedding in Manchester by Lawson Photography


Gorton Monastery is such an amazing place: beautiful architecture, fabulous colours, but in this shot I just wanted it to be in the background to the couple. They were so into each other in this moment that nothing else seemed to matter,say Pete and Laura of Lawson Photography. You can just about make out the altar, the band, the masses of candles, but as a blur which is how I felt they experienced it too.


A London Syon Park wedding by York Place Studios


We love this shot as we think it is a really good example of why we choose not to use flash,explain Dominique and Liam of York Place Studios. The room at Londons beautiful Syon Park was pitch-black, aside from this beautiful beam of light. We angled ourselves so that the light was directly behind them and then waited for the right moment.


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