This Article is About
wedding reception
seating cards
no brainer
cutting the cake
creative manner
entire room
How To Photograph A Wedding Reception 2
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In my second installment of how to photograph a wedding reception, I offer some more helpful tips for the new photographer.

How to Photograph a Wedding Reception - Tip #1 - Make sure to get a variety of shots. This may seem like a no brainer but so much goes on at the reception. In addition, a lot planning has gone into making the reception a reality. So plan to record everything from the smallest detail, to an overview of the entire reception. Let's start small and work our way up:

Table centerpieces (often there are two or three different ones so make sure to get them all), guest seating cards (sometimes these are done in a creative manner, i.e wine bottle corks featuring the guests names for a vineyard wedding), guest favors, the buffet, the cake table (overview of the cake then coming in closer for details), from behind the cake table, showing off the reception room, the guest book table, any other decorations, the entry way to the reception, and various overviews of the entire room. Then of course you have all the possible bride and groom photos: talking, laughing, hugging their guests, showing off the rings, sitting at the head table (try some shots from behind when they lean over to talk to each other or a close up of the bride's hand on her groom's shoulder, etc.), cutting the cake and feeding it to each other, dancing, garter & bouquet toss, the farewell. As you can see there are lots of important shots!

How to Photograph a Wedding Reception - #2 - Cake Cutting Tips: Most of the time, guests will crowd around the cake table to watch the bride and groom cut it. Make sure you get the angle you want! As a general rule, when photographing weddings, I try to stay out of people's way and be as unobtrusive as possible. This rule goes out the window at cake cutting time. If the bride and groom were to look up while cutting the cake, they would see a wall of cameras! Everyone wanting to get a picture which means I'm going to be in someones way! I position myself to get the best shot regardless of if whether I'm blocking someones view. This is what they pay me for! Most guests are pretty respectful of this and realize that since I have the biggest camera, I must be the photographer. I position myself a little bit to the side so I can see their hands on the knife and still show the cake. If time permits, I come in for a close up of their hands on the knife. When they go to feed each other - be ready! I recommend using a shutter speed of at least 125th of a second and shooting with a zoom lens. If the cake starts flying, you want to be able to capture the motion without blur and quickly zoom out if need be.

How to Photograph a Wedding Reception - Tip #3 - No See Food Shots. For the most part, do not photograph people when they are eating - it's very unflattering! In fact I'll get dirty looks just walking by a table full of guests enjoying their meal - don't even think of pointing that camera this way, they're thinking! Meal time presents a perfect opportunity to get some of those detail and overview shots mentioned in tip #1. While doing this, always keep an eye on your bride and groom. This might be when great grandma chooses to come up and give a hug. You don't want to miss any important moments so while you're working, keep checking back with the couple.

In learning how to photograph a wedding reception, make sure to capture everything you can. From the smallest detail to overview shots of the venue. The bride and groom are very preoccupied with their guests and will be caught up in the moment. It's your job to capture not only the bride and groom but also the moments they may not see.


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