Your reception photos are important! But, what I want to emphasize here is that the UNTOUCHED part is REALLY important from a photography standpoint. Now, before you read on, let me explain what I mean by “Untouched”. When I say “I need to shoot the reception Untouched”, I mean I want to shoot a wide shot of the entire room before aunt Karen claims her seat extra early and throws her shawl down on the chair and her clutch on her place setting. How did Aunt Karen squeeze in to grab her seat before the doors even opened? I have no clue, but they always find a way!
The hilarious thing is that guests try to claim their seats for the evening even when seats are ASSIGNED! It’s like they just need to know that their place is secure before enjoying cocktail hour! …but I digress.
There are a few reasons why the reception photos are important!!:
1. This may be the ONLY way the Bride and Groom and their families will ever see the “finished product”. They have worked and planned for MONTHS to make this evening perfect and yet they never get to see the room without people everywhere. So while they are talking with old friends and family at the cocktail hour, I grab shots of the entire room, centerpieces and tablescapes so that they can see how amazing everything looked before Aunt Karen threw her purse on the table! 🙂
Typically, untouched reception photos happen in the 30 minutes before the cermoeny when the bride is in “hiding”, or during a cocktail hour before guest are allowed into the reception area.
2. This is important for publishing. If you’re shooting a wedding that has the potential to be published or featured somewhere, you HAVE to have this shot. It’s a must-have when showing editors. All editors (especially exclusive editors) will want a shot of the venues untouched. This includes the ceremony AND the reception. Publishers like The Knot, Style me Pretty, Southern Bride, and so on all love these images! So much so that without them, it usally becomes a make or break situation.
3. It’s a part of the story. Someone once told me that they shoot weddings as if they were trying to show a relative who couldn’t make it what it was like! So obviously if you want someone who wasn’t there to really get the FEEL of the day, you need to show the venue and the setting for the event. So not only should you shoot a wide shot of the reception INSIDE, but you should also capture the outside of the building as well. These context shots are more valuable than you may think!!
4. Shoot it for VENDORS! Untouched shots are the shots vendors love to receive! If you’re a florist and you designed an incredible room but never had a shot without junk on the tables, that would be so disappointing! Venues, florists, event designers, and rental companies will automatically LOVE you if you can provide them with beautiful, FREE promotional images! Yes, FREE. I don’t charge vendors for images. Why wouldn’t I offer them something that could REALLY help them and in return, have them refer me to other brides? They then know if we work together again, they’ll receive free promo images! It’s a win-win!
So, brides AND photographers, this is why making time for the “Untouched” reception shots is so important!! In the end, it helps everyone out! Some photographers have asked, “Well how to do fit all of that in?!”. The key is talking about it and planning ahead of time. The bride is GOING to want those shots of her venue! So, you need to make sure you have the time to make it happen! When you plan ahead, you are more likely to get your 10-15 minutes of “untouched” shooting time!!