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THE INDEX

Wedding Reception Photography Tips


Oh heyyyyy guys. I think it’s finally time I throw some wedding reception photography tips into the mix don’t you?

how to capture a wedding reception tips

Your couples most likely put more time, mental energy, and cash money into the wedding reception than any other element of the day. Plus, the wedding reception is where so many lovely emotions happen.

Here’s how to document it properly, and beautifully.


The Details

Before a single guest steps foot in the room, it’s your job to capture all the pretty details. It can sometimes be a mad rush to get these done before everyone floods in, but no matter how much time you have, it’s gotta get done.

wedding reception photography tips

Elements to include in your wedding reception details shot list are:

  • A wide shot of the whole room, candles lit
  • The menu, where all text is in focus
  • Centerpieces and floral arrangements
  • Place settings
  • Table numbers
  • Name cards
  • Full tablescape
  • Seating chart
  • Welcome table
  • Wedding cake and/or dessert table
  • Guest favours
  • Other floral installations

Go up to aperture 3.5 (ish) for detail shots to ensure you get a tad more detail in the background.

Table set up for this summer wedding reception

Master Your Flash

I am a natural light photographer whenever possible, but sometimes it just doesn’t cut it. Shooting indoors, especially at night, requires proper lighting in my opinion.

I have a speedlight, and utilize bounce flash religiously. It’s a foolproof approach to lighting. I point my flash right at the ceiling, and just shoot. It creates the softest and most natural light.

Despite what photography school taught you, yes you can bounce flash off of any colour ceiling (except black) and adjust the white balance.

And don’t feel like you need to be a hero with manual flash settings, instead just use TTL (short for Through The Lens). Your flash will automatically adjust to whatever you’re pointing your camera at. In wedding photography, where you’re constantly moving and changing your point of view, this is a godsend. If you like to over or under expose, you can adjust with your exposure compensation settings.

Never ever, ever, use direct flash, ever.

Capture the Atmosphere

When your couple, their family and friends look at the gallery, you want them to relive what it was like to actually be there. What did it look like? What did it sound like? What was the experience of being in the room?

Indoor photo of Elora Mill wedding reception

There are a couple of different ways to accomplish this.

  • a wide shot with everyone in the room
  • a shot from the couples point of view
  • a few photos of the band/musicians/dj set up
  • incorporating some movement to invoke a sense of the wonderful chaos (low shutter speed!)
Movement shot of couple dancing with guitar

It’s All About Emotion

A wedding day is a beautiful, chaotic, wonderful display of emotions. Speeches and dances tend to bring out those emotions in people. So any time you see someone laughing big or shedding a little tear, get that shot!

Don’t Just Focus on the Couple

This is a huge mistake inexperienced photographers make. They take 1000 shots of the couple, but don’t focus on anyone else.

To properly capture a wedding reception, you need candids of guests. Focus a bit more of parents, bridal party, etc., but other guests are important too.

Wedding at the Royal Ontario museum, guests cheers

Variety is Key

Variety is key, just in general.

Don’t stand in the same spot the whole time, switch up your lenses for a different look, and get lots of different elements.

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