3 Steps to Better Reception Detail Shots

Ohhhhh beautiful details. How do we love you? Let us count the ways! Shooting these smaller parts of a wedding day are always so important to us, because we know firsthand just how much work our couples put into selecting them. ESPECIALLY now that we live in a world with so.many.choices. (We see you Pinterest!) Detail shots not only increase your chance of publication and give you options to work with for your album design down the road, they also will be so cherished by your couples. 40 years from now when they want to be transported to how their reception actually *felt* So let’s jump into our top three tips for rocking the reception details at your next wedding!


Scroll through the hashtag #weddingreception on Instagram, and you’ll notice a few things. Lush florals are in, cakes are only getting taller, and nobody ever says no to some fun dramatic lighting. But you know what you don’t see? All the real life stuff that actually fills receptions! Salad dressing boats that sit in the middle of otherwise perfectly curated tables, guest’s belongings that were hung on seats en route to cocktail hour, and the bustling catering staff frantically filling up water glasses before the party begins. All of these things may be around, but are distractions from the overall story we are trying to tell. So it is up to us as the pros to remove them from the image – and we like our free time waaaaaay too much to deal with all that in post!

Take a step back before you start shooting and scan the contents of the image you’re about to create. If there is anything that isn’t meshing or most likely wasn’t part of the bride’s original vision of her day (the biggest offenders are always ugly salt and pepper shakers or men’s jackets) get them outta there! And if there are people milling about in the background of your image take a second to be patient but then know that it is totally ok to ask them to move for a moment as you get our establishing shots of the room. Everyone there is all on the same team, with the goal of making the couple’s day as perfect as possible.


Let’s start with two pictures. Take a quick gander, and decide which of these was snapped at a more high-end wedding?

We’re betting that 9 out of 10 of people would choose the second image. But you want to know what? These images were snapped just seconds apart at the EXACT SAME WEDDING.

(We’ll pause for dramatic effect).

That’s crazy right?! The first image looks like it was taken at a lower-budget reception, and the second looks like such a warmly lit, luxury affair. (which this wedding totally was). It’s so easy to rush into a reception and start snapping, especially because you’re usually feeling the time crunch of the day the by then. But before you start, give yourself just 10 seconds. F’REAL. Count to ten Mississippi style in your head as you slowly scan the room. By taking a moment to look at the big picture of the setting before you dive in and start shooting, you can create a mental checklist of the parts you want to make sure to highlight.



Maybe the menu is printed with beautiful calligraphy but is tucked inside of a napkin. Or maybe the cake needs to be rotated just a bit to really be silhouetted by the uplighting near it. Whatever it is, if it is something that would better highlight the details of the day, make the change. During the first few years of our business we were so timid about touching things or moving anything out of place, and it showed in our work. Now as we are setting up shots we pause and ask ourselves if there is anything we could change, not only to create images that best represent our business but also to better show off the things that make our couple’s wedding days unique.

So next time you head into a reception don’t forget to run through this quick 3 step process to take your reception shots to the next level! We promise it takes a tiny bit of time but will make a big impact in your work!

As always we love when you inspire our upcoming education posts, so reach out to us on social media or through a comment below if there’s a topic you’d like to see up next! Happy shooting friends!

Love + Laughs,

Sarah & Ben


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