Where Your Photographer Sits During Dinner & How it Impacts Your Wedding Photographs

There is a growing trend in the wedding world where brides & grooms alike are interested in a candid, photojournalistic approach to documenting their day. Although there aren’t any posed photographs to be taken during the reception, it is a great opportunity for perfect candid moments to be captured; the mother of the bride surprising the bride with a chat and hug between courses, the flower girl asleep under one of the tables, grandma crying during the speeches & impromptu dance parties. These would all be beautiful, moving moments to capture, if the photographer is there to capture them. Below are a few tips for brides & grooms planning their wedding:


Have your photographer sit in the same room as your guests

Sometimes reception venues will set up vendors in a separate room from the rest of the wedding guests. This may work great for some vendors but for a photographer it isn’t ideal. Often times, I find myself quickly heading to the neighbouring room to have a few quick bites before running back to the room, sauce on my chin and food in my teeth and praying that I didn’t miss something important all while hoping that my dinner will still be there when I return later (and most of the time it has been cleared and I’m a starving mess).

While at times it may be great to have a quiet moment to myself, there are three problems with sitting your photographer in another room:

1. Vendors often get their food after all the guests have received theirs. By the time the food comes out for vendors, another speech has begun and this leaves us with about 30 seconds to eat as much as we possibly can before having to run out to photograph the next portion of the reception. When we do get a chance to return to our food, it’s either cold or the table has been cleared and we are on 6+ hours without having eaten anything.

2. When there is a bit of lag time and guests are conversing, I’m usually standing because I don’t have a table or seat to sit in. I try my best to crouch down, hide behind things and make myself invisible, but it isn’t ideal, not to mention, standing for long periods of time isn’t fun.

3. Placing your photographer in a separate room and removing them from the action over dinner means you’ll miss out on some wonderful, in-between and organic moments throughout portions of your reception.

If possible, consider where the vendor table will be placed

The best receptions for photographing are always those where I am at a seat within close range of the immediate family as well as the bride and groom. This way I can still grab shots from my seat and don’t have to go far to capture other guests and family. It can be intimidating for family members when they notice me crouched down 5 feet away from them and pointing my camera in their direction. If I’m sitting at a table within close range, I am less noticeable and with slightly longer lenses I can get great detail and closeup shots of the head table without having to move and potentially get in the way of guests who are trying to enjoy speeches.

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Feel free to share this with any of your brides & grooms. Educating each other as well as our future clients will help everyone capture the best possible reception photographs!

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Patty : 00:46 February 28, 2015 Reply
Great advice!
dina : 00:12 March 1, 2015 Reply
Great article, very true. I hope brides and grooms out there will learn from it :)
robert norman : 13:38 March 3, 2015 Reply
Thanks so much for writing this - I just posted it on my facebook page, hoping some brides will 'see the light'! :)
Wedding Wednesday: Bobbi Brinkman Photography » BobbiBrinkmanPhotography.com : 03:30 March 4, 2015 Reply
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Jennifer Ballard : 09:49 March 4, 2015 Reply
Great article. Thank you for writing this. I'm sharing it with all my couples.
Sam F. : 17:50 March 4, 2015 Reply
I couldn't agree more with this article. I myself have been in another room during the reception, as well as at the back of the room, or not having a seat at all, and begging a passing server "is there an extra plate left over?" For some reason it doesn't occur to some couples that after having been shooting for 10+ hrs with no breaks, the photographer might be feeling a little woozy. I have also more often then not, come back to my seat and in fact my almost untouched plate has been removed. I would rather eat a cold meal, then none at all. It's strange how often there is a "vendors" table, and knowing this, the servers still clear it, don't they realise that the photographer, videographer and DJ may actually want to clear their own plate? I'm thinking this is also an article that should be geared to reception venues.

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