Looking through Wedding Magazines, blogs, & Pinterst, you will quickly realize that most of the wedding inspiration is based on details. The wedding details create the look & feel of the event and help tell the story of the day. Some weddings are FULL of beautiful well thought out details and others are simplistic in nature, but either way – knowing how to capture the best detail shots with what you have been given is key.
Reception Details Quick List:
*Make sure to document the space and all the details in it.
*Use different lenses to create different looks.
*Pay attention to background and up-lighting when focusing on a detail.
*Use different vantage points for unique shots.
*If unsure, document it. Better safe than sorry.
*Documenting space and all details in it: My system is to start with a wide angle and get the entire room, from various points. Many reception spaces are entirely different looking from one end to another, get the image from both angles. Make sure your settings are so that you are allowing in ambient light and making those colors pop. Couples pay big money for room lighting and you want it to show up as gorgeous as it was in person. I never shoot any reception details above 100 shutter speed for this reason. Make sure that intricate ceiling detail is showing in image as well by getting low and shooting slightly upwards.
I also like to have the couple in the room for a few shots as well or getting their reaction to seeing all of their hard work and dreams in reality.
I move on to my 35 or 50 lens to document the entry, cake, gift & guest tables. I will also get the centerpiece shots at this time. I goal is to highlight the entire table or area at this point. If there is a lot of tungsten or candle light present I may need to use just a bit of off camera flash to drown out the orange while maintaining a natural look. Some large rooms may need two off camera flash units set up to light the furthest portion of the room as well.
*Pay Attention to Background: Make sure when you are shooting details you pay attention to your background. This is especially true for cake shots. Most venues place the cake in a corner backed up against a wall, but you may be able to shoot at an angle or not directly on to get more flattering background. When you are not able to get a different angle and the wall is unavoidable, create as much compression as possible between the wall and detail.
*Using Different Lenses & Different Vantage Points for unique shots: I switch it up and use the 85 or 100 to get more shots of the tables, centerpieces, cake and other room details. I like to get eye level and shoot across to the next table or look for something interesting to “shoot through”to create a unique look. You can shoot from over top as well to create a different perspective. Incorporating the couple or key people is another way to show off small details in an interesting way.
*Document Everything: In the end if you are not sure if it’s important to shoot or not, just document it anyway. It could be something very special or significant to the couple. Or maybe not, but either way err on the side of caution and shoot everything you can. You may not be given a heads up prior to something that belonged to a grandmother or that the swerving knives are passed down through the generations. Every piece of the day is carefully thought out and planned and our job as a wedding photographer is to preserve those details and tell the story of the day.
I hope this post is helpful is getting you geared up to shoot those reception details.
Mandy Paige Photography teaches workshops and hosts one on one coaching for other professional photographers around the country.