The wedding day shoot is full of crucial moments for you to capture. But, with unforeseen challenges with the timeline, lighting conditions, and other unknown elements, it can often be challenging to know exactly which images you need to document. The wedding reception is the perfect opportunity for you to capture candid moments and memorable images of your couple with their guests. To help you focus on the necessary images your couples will love, ShootDotEdit is sharing 11 reception tips to help your wedding photography.
1. Grand Entrance
During the cocktail hour, the guests anticipate the arrival of the newlyweds to the reception. This moment is the first time they will be introduced to their friends and family as husband and wife, which will result in some memorable images for the couple. Make sure you snap a ton of pictures of the excitement on the bride and groom’s faces, and if you have a second shooter, have them take photos of the guests’ faces as well.
2. First Dance
After they are introduced, the newlyweds will move into the first dance. The first dance is a special moment for the couple and represents the journey they took to get to this important day. While they dance, switch up the angles you shoot at to capture a variety of images. You can shoot through the perspective of the guests, get close-up document their expressions, and shoot from higher and lower angles to mix up the photos you share with the couple.
3. Reception Uplighting
During the reception, there may be additional options for lighting to help you create stunning images for your couple. Uplighting is commonly brought by the DJ or band to assist in creating a unique color, dimension, and texture for the walls at the reception. When shooting with reception uplighting, look for a smooth and light-colored wall to enhance the photos. This helps you highlight the uplighting your couple chose, and create images they will love.
Although they may not be the most exciting images to capture, the wedding toasts are anticipated by your couple and those closest to them. Often times, challenges arise when shooting these images because of guests and their cell phones, or speakers who stand in front of the couple as they talk. Use this moment to showcase candid moments with the couple, as well as to highlight the speakers, and capture the celebratory moments with the couple and their guests.
5. Traditional Dances
From the father/daughter dance to the mother/son dance, to the money dance, there are several traditional dances your couple may choose to include during their reception. One of the easiest ways to capture the dances and expressions is to move along with them as they dance. Remember not to stand too close to them so they can be themselves and give you expressions that will make their images dynamic.
6. Cake Cutting
As the reception moves along, most couples take advantage of cutting the cake together. Before the couple cuts the cake, take a solo shot of it to highlight it and its unique details. Take another photo of your couple next to the cake to add variety. Shoot them as they grab the knife to slice the first piece of cake, and when they feed a piece to one another. These are all images your couple will love and will keep the memories with them for years to come.
7. Bouquet Toss
Once the traditional dances and cake cutting are over, there are still a few exciting traditions left to document. Discuss the shot beforehand with the bride, and ask her to slowly throw the bouquet so you can shoot her in action. If you have a second shooter, have them focus on the ladies while you work with the bride. This way, you both capture the anticipation and excitement on their faces during the bouquet toss.
8. Garter Toss
After the bouquet toss, it’s time for the groom to toss the garter to the single men. If time permits, ask the groom if you can take a posed shot of him before he actually throws the garter. Similar to the bride and the single ladies, document the excitement on the groom and guys’ faces (and don’t forget to get a few photos of the fight for the garter). These are moments your couple will want to remember, which is why it’s so important to include these photos from the reception.
When the traditional reception activities are over, your couple and their guests are ready to celebrate. From the Cupid Shuffle to the YMCA, there are plenty of moments for you to capture. To capture the shots that matter, without getting in the way of the crowd and their dancing, use a longer lens. The longer lens makes it seem as if you are closer to your subjects and the background, which means your photos look like you are right in the center of the action.
10. Table Shots
Yes, it is very boring. But, table shots aren’t for you. They are often very meaningful to the couple. Table shots showcase the details the couple chose, and help share more about their style. Once guests are seated at the table, you can also take a few images of them as they socialize with one another. This is a great memory for your clients as they view their images. Plus, research has shown that table shots with guests are some of the most purchased prints in your online gallery.
Before the wedding day, the bride and groom spent months on the specific details of the day. There are so many details that go into the wedding day, and this includes the details of the reception. Arrive early to the location to take an overall shot of the reception, and then capture the details up-close. Ensure you document the table tops, floral décor, the stage where the DJ or band will be, and any gift bags for the wedding guests.
The wedding reception is filled with memorable moments for you to document for the bride and groom. Do you know which images to capture throughout the wedding day? Our Guide, 127 Essential Wedding Images You Must Capture, provides you with a photography playbook to grab every important image. Grab your copy today!