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wedding reception
bouquet toss
wedding consultation
cutting the cake
bride and groom
important events
caterer
helpful tips
How To Photograph A Wedding Reception Part 4
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In this latest article on how to photograph a wedding reception, I offer a few more helpful tips. These tips are mainly geared for the novice photographer. However, if you're like me, I enjoy hearing from other pros...you never know where you'll pick up a fresh perspective!

How to Photograph a Wedding Reception - Tip #1 - Check in with the DJ

As soon as I'm able, I like to check in with the reception DJ. There are several reasons for this. One, they typically have the time line for the reception. I'll take a look to see if all the important events will be occurring within the couple's package time. If not, I know that I may need to touch base with the bride to see if she wants me to stay longer. In some cases, the DJ can nudge the time line a little if he knows we need to get certain things taken care of by a specified time.

Two, the DJ, just like the florist, caterer, or planner is another wedding vendor to connect with. Some of my best referrals come from other wedding vendors - even fellow photographers. Network with these people - they can be gold to your business. It's also a pleasure to return the favor and refer one of your couples to your favorite DJ.

How to Photograph a Wedding Reception - Tip #2 - Be Prepared to Help Coordinate

In the absence of a DJ, the bride and groom will often look to the photographer to help keep the reception on track. Sounds a little odd I know but think about it. The bride and groom are typically preoccupied with their guests and enjoying their reception. They may not be aware that the guests finished eating 20 minutes ago and are waiting for them to cut the cake. Sometimes the couple will ask for my assistance when we get together for our pre-wedding consultation. If not, and I'm in a situation where the reception is lagging, I will politely make a suggestion to the bride and groom that they may want to consider cutting the cake now. They are typically grateful for the suggestion.

How to Photograph a Wedding Reception - Bouquet Toss Tips

The bouquet toss can be a tricky moment to capture. Granted the bride's arm doesn't swing quite as fast as a big league pitcher, but it can seem like it. My goal is to capture the bouquet just a split second after it's left the bride's hand. Any later than that and the bouquet will be out of your frame.

If the reception has a DJ, most will choreograph the toss somewhat by giving a 3-2-1 countdown. I will frame the bride from about the knees up in the lower half of the frame. This allows for a lot of empty space in the top half of the frame, giving me a little more leeway to capture that bouquet - well, not literally. If possible, I make sure to get a shot of the bride getting ready to toss the bouquet. That's my back up in case I'm off on the actual toss. For the toss itself, I usually click the shutter when her arm is about half way up. By the time my little pea brain sends the signal to my trigger finger I usually have the shot I want - the bouquet, right after it's left the bride's hand. I quickly move in on the person who's caught the bouquet to get her expression and the usual hug from the bride.

I hope these tips on how to photograph a wedding reception will be helpful to you. As with anything, practice makes perfect. I encourage you to work at finding your own style of photographing weddings. Remember to be prepared and capture as many wedding reception moments as possible.


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