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One Quick Trick for Shooting Reception Details

When we’re photographing wedding days, one of our biggest goals is to honor the vision  our brides had for their day as much as we possibly can. We know most of them spend months, if not an entire year, selecting each small detail for their big day and imagining what it will look when it all comes together. That’s why we’re committed to being as conscious of the little details as we are of the big moments.

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During reception detail shots, we usually have a super limited amount of time inside the ballroom alone before the guests enter, so we have to have a solid game plan beforehand to make the most of every minute we get. We don’t have an actual checklist, but in our minds, we have a mental checklist of sorts to make sure we’re showcasing each detail, as well as the entire room, to ensure we’re honoring our bride’s vision for her day.

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One of the shots we always make sure to get is an overhead shot of each unique place setting. A lot of our brides have more than one design for this, meaning half of the tables have one color of linen, the rest have another. Or maybe half of the tables have linens, while others are wood. And very often, most the tables have low centerpieces, while the rest have high ones. We stake shots to showcase every design element and variation to honor our bride’s vision for her day, as well as preserve the work of the talented creative teams who make it happen.

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Amy always takes off her shoes and stands on a chair (or our trusty stool, Julio the Stoolio) to get an overhead shot of the place settings, and we thought we’d share a fun trick to making those images look as full, high-end and as true to our bride’s vision as possible. Most of the time, the tables are round and the low centerpieces are in the middle. When we’re taking overhead shots of one place setting, the centerpieces are usually too far away from the place setting to show in the frame. So we carefully slide the low centerpiece (being very aware of any lit candles of course!) away from the middle of the table closer to the place setting, which makes each shot look more full and editorial, plus it adds extra visual interest, color and texture. Whether it’s a small arrangement, or a massive one, it makes those shots look so much more editorial, like they belong in a magazine. Just make sure to carefully slide the centerpiece back when you’re done!

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If the centerpieces are high, we’re also very careful to pay attention to the background of the frame, and always adjust where we’re standing so that the main centerpiece is surrounded by other centerpieces, which again, makes every shot look more full, high-end and true to the vision of the day. It’s these little adjustments that make all the difference! We hope this helps when you’re photographing your next wedding!

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Alisa

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  1. These images are AMAZING! I am loving all the florals these couples incorporated into their reception decor. Just beautiful! As always, thanks for these tips. Sometimes I get so tired by the time the reception rolls around I forget to think about all these things! Great reminders!

  2. Katie Dixon says:

    This is great! What aperture are you typically shooting at from above the details? That’s my biggest struggle is keeping things light but everything remaining in focus.

  3. So helpful!!!
    It’s funny how I always think to slide the distracting stuff out of my frame – like salt and pepper shakers, for example. But, it’s never crossed my mind to slide INTO the frame what I do want to show – like centerpieces!! HA!
    Also, totally agree with Katie Dixon’s comment, would love to know your settings and how you keep everything so sharp for these type shots!? 🙂

  4. Thank you, Amy & Jordan!! I love your Monday minutes and am super excited to add this idea to my list of must-have shots for a wedding I’m shooting this Spring! Wow, your sharing is so appreciated !

  5. Autumn Jones says:

    I’m shooting a small wedding in a couple months and have been constantly looking through all your posts for helpful hints! 🙂 This is my first wedding, and it’s for a family member. Since I don’t yet have a mental checklist would it be okay to have an actual physical checklist? Or is that weird?

    • Amy & Jordan says:

      Hi Autumn! Congrats on landing your first wedding! That’s so exciting! We don’t think that’s weird at all! It’s better to be prepared and have something to refer back to than to get lost in the excitement of the moments and miss something. We’d just make sure to be discreet about reviewing your list as much as possible (so you’re not constantly looking at it in front of the clients) and then don’t get so caught up in the list that you miss important moments that are happening. Hope that helps!

  6. Excellent tips! Thank you!

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"I always look forward to your emails! I get excited every time I get an email notification that says 'Amy & Jordan!' Even though we've never formally met, you guys have pretty much become the photography mentor I've never had!" 

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