evening even when seats are ASSIGNED! It’s like they just need to know that their place is secure before enjoying cocktail hour! And so I’ve become a PRO at running through a reception venue and HIDING everyone’s shawls, clutches, jackets and SHOES. Yes, SHOES! I’ve seen guests leave shoes on chairs in order to save their precious seat! It cracks me up!! So what I do is I run in the reception (and “run” is a literal term, this is normally pretty rushed) and I hide all of these items so that I can shoot a shot of the entire room without extra JUNK everywhere! There are a few reasons why this shot is VERY 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 Louise threw her purse on the table! :)
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 why this wedding should be shown off on their blog or in their magazine! All editors (especially exclusive editors) will want a shot of the venues untouched. This includes the ceremony AND the reception.
3. It’s a part of the story. Someone once told me that they shoot a wedding 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, 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. I think that would be kicking myself in the butt! Why wouldn’t I offer them something that could REALLY help them and in return, have them refer me to other brides because they 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, but 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!!