Creative Ideas for Must-Have Wedding Reception Photography

As we mentioned in our previous article, it’s important to create a Wedding Photography Shot List before even attempting to photograph the big event.

If you want to avoid having your shots look “ho hum” (and thus avoid upsetting the bride and groom!), we’ve put together a fun montage of wedding reception photo ideas to spur you on to creative victory. Feel free to add your own spin on these ideas and enlist creative input from the bride and groom as well.

Signing the Marriage License– Experiment with your distance to capture this moment from every possible angle. If you have a second shooter, take turns photographing from different sides of the bride, groom and officiate.

Guest Book– Whether by itself or as its being signed by individual friends and family members (or both!), a shot of the guest book is a must.

must have wedding shots-guest book_drizzoh
Flickr: drizzoh


Gift Table– Large or small, overflowing or tastefully understated, honor the guests and their generosity by making it a point to snag a great shot of the wedding gift table. To add a little more impact, consider shooting in black and white or with a polarizing filter to sharpen contrast.

must have wedding shots-gift table 1_kro-media
Flickr: Kro-Media


Centerpieces– The bride has spent many painstaking hours to make her wedding day absolutely perfect. One of the details she probably labored over the most was the centerpieces. To get the winning shot, experiment shooting slightly above, to even at the same height as the table itself to add a little dramatic effect.

must have wedding shots-centerpieces_tafkabecky
Flickr: tafkabecky


Father of the Bride and Bride + Mother of the Groom and Groom Dance– Hands down, these shots will be the most emotionally provoking photos of the day – if you do it right. The key here is distance; by positioning yourself a bit farther away you can enhance the feeling of intimacy between parent and (grown) child.

must have wedding shots-father bride dance_musedesigns
Flickr: musedesigns
must have wedding shots-groom dance with mom_rsmith4321
Flickr: rsmith4321


The Bride and Groom’s First Dance– And of course, who could possibly forget the happy couple twirling around the dance floor for the first time? Here is when a second shooter comes in handy. Unless you’re quick and nimble, you might miss an important moment like a kiss, a smile or even tears of joy if you’re busy changing lenses or adjusting your flash. Be sure to shoot from all angles, if possible to avoid any missed opportunities.

must have wedding shots-bride groom dance_johnmelancon
Flickr: johnmelancon


Toasting the Bride and Groom– “May I have your attention, please?” From the first clink of silverware against the champagne glass to the final “hoorah”, toasts and speeches often run a bit longer than what you might expect. Therefore, don’t lower your camera until everyone starts eating again…just in case!

must have wedding shots-bride groom toast_jeannineharsh
Flickr: jeannineharsh
must have wedding shots-toasting bride groom_joliara
Flickr: joliara


Tossing the Bouquet– It’s the moment all the single ladies have been waiting for…! Admittedly, this can be a rather tricky shot to snag, therefore proper planning is paramount. Before the event, ask the bride to show you where exactly she’ll be standing and take a few practice shots. The goal is to capture her joy, her guests’ excitement and the bouquet itself, all at once. Remember, there are no do-overs, so be sure to plan, plan, plan.

must have wedding shots-tossing the bouquet_essamo
Flickr: essamo


Bride and Groom Leaving the Wedding– Once the festivities begin to wind down and it’s time for the happy couple to make their grand exit, it’s time for YOU to head outside by the wedding car, carriage or Harley. Again, planning here is critical. Ask the couple ahead of time how they plan to leave the location – car, limo, horse-drawn carriage, Harley, etc. You’ll want to be extra sure that you’re standing in the right spot just in case you get caught up in the crowd that’s sure to follow them outside.

must have wedding shots-bride groom leaving_26235325@N05
Flickr: 26235325@N05


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *