Must-Have Images for Wedding Reception

Wedding Photography Tips for Wedding Reception Details

Wedding receptions often held in large, lavishly decorated ballrooms offer a magnificent setting for capturing breathtaking photos. As a wedding photographer, it’s essential to be prepared and equipped with the right techniques to make the most of these grand spaces. Here are some valuable tips how I take wedding reception photos in large decorated ballrooms.

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Before the wedding day, I always try visit the ballroom to familiarize myself with the layout, lighting conditions, and potential photo opportunities. I take note of the room’s dimensions, focal points, and any unique architectural or decorative elements that you can incorporate into your compositions.

I always try to start with a full room photo. However, it can be difficult sometimes if there are too many people in the room, especially when the reception decoration is detailed and the decorators are still making fine adjustments to the setup. When trying to get a full room shot, vendors, family members, walk past the area back and forth, making it extremely difficult to take any pictures.

I always ask people to leave the room or I ask the wedding coordinator for assistance to clear the room.  We try to get as many guests out of the picture, as possible. Once you have a great clean shot, there are a couple of ways to make the picture look interesting. Usually, I start with symmetrical images. Large ballrooms often feature ornate lighting fixtures and chandeliers that contribute to the overall ambiance. I embrace and work with the existing lighting to create a warm and romantic atmosphere in your photos. Use a slower shutter speed or wider aperture to capture the soft glow of the lights and maintain the desired mood.

While ambient lighting can set the mood, it might not provide sufficient illumination for your subjects. I often try to incorporate off-camera flash to properly expose your subjects and ensure their features are well-defined. Position the flash strategically to avoid harsh shadows or direct light, aiming for a natural and balanced look.

Tables adorned with elegant centerpieces, place settings, and floral arrangements create visually appealing details. I always capture close-up shots of these elements, focusing on the intricate designs and textures. I experiment with different angles and perspectives to showcase the fine details and add depth to your images.

Large ballrooms provide ample space for guests to dance and celebrate. Embrace the movement and energy on the dance floor by using slower shutter speeds to create intentional motion blur. This technique can convey a sense of excitement and dynamism, capturing the liveliness of the reception.

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I always pay attention to composition. When photographing in large ballrooms, composition is key. Use leading lines, symmetrical patterns, and geometric shapes to create visually engaging images. I experiment with different perspectives, such as shooting from elevated angles or utilizing reflections in mirrors or polished surfaces to add variety and interest to your wedding photos. Leading Lines: when shooting the tables, look for an angle that gives a sense of depth. One of the best ways to add depth in images is to recreate that realistic three-dimensional feeling.

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After you wedding day I try to edit for consistency. After the wedding, I ensure a cohesive look by editing your photos consistently. I adjust the white balance to maintain accurate colors, I enhance the details and I balance the exposure. I try to pay attention to the tone and mood of the reception, matching the editing style to the overall ambiance of the ballroom.

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Symmetric composition gives balance to the picture. We do this by putting the camera on the tripod and setting the sharpness to the maximum. I place the camera in the middle of the focal point. The ISO is set to the lowest possible settings and you slow down the shutter speed. (all the way down to 30 seconds).  This helps us if there are still people in the room. Slow shutter speed blurs out the movement of people moving around.
After this, I will look for interesting angles and perspectives. I try to take some asymmetric images especially if you want to bring out special features of the room. Devil in the details: Once we are done with full room photos from different angles, we work on everything else in the room, small to big.

Shoot small details like the flowers or small objects on the dinner table then to the bigger picture, for example, the table with all of the tables. Focus on bright or vibrant colors, it makes the picture very dramatic.

Then we expand the view to show the whole entire place setting, be sure to remove distracting elements that aren’t essential to the overall design. It is easy to make a mistake and take photos of wedding details as they are, especially if you are in a hurry. Stop and ask yourself, is that glass is part of the design or somebody accidentally left it there. Are all the cutlery perfectly aligned? If not, fix them. Realign objects and remove everything if these aren’t essential to the overall layout.
I like starting to shoot the tables in their entirety.

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Tables can have the same decoration but sometimes each table has some interesting features. Make sure you capture all the different features or decoration items.

florida indian wedding decoration inspiration gold sofa I feature a table with each style to complete that set. I try to look for ways to recreate a sense of perspective in your photos. For example, I line up the other tables behind the table and then put your focus table in front. If you want to emphasize a personal touch, try to do this by creating leading lines. This creates a lovely composition.

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I always try to take a large image first and go small. The reason is that time at weddings is always limited and I want to make sure I have at least one clear shot without guest of the given setup. If you have tons of time, you can start small and then work your way out.  I like to do the cake shots or the dessert table after I have finished with the larger room photos. These photos can be taken even after the doors have been opened and guests come in to be seated.  The cake itself is usually set up in a corner of the room that can be shot even after the guests have already come into the wedding reception room. I prefer when the cake is not directly next to a wall because this limits my angles and creates a flat image.  For cake cutting, I definitely love the cake to be placed in the middle or close to the middle of the room for better photos.

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The importance of lighting at any event, especially a wedding, is often underestimated. The photos below have no spotlights on the flower arrangement.  The flower setups are almost disappearing into the background. A less delicate decoration with proper uplights and spotlights looks much better than a very expensive design without lighting.

The solution is to consider adding a lighting setup for your decoration. With spotlights on the whole setup would be more three-dimensional and beautiful.

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I always try to take photos of the following items:

  • Full room shots with different angles
  • Greeting signs or decoration in front of the reception room
  • If there is a seat assignment table outside of the room
  • Full table setup photos
  • Sweetheart table
  • Wedding cake
  • Individual details on the table
  • Any special design element custom created for the couple


You have hundreds of decisions to make regarding your wedding. Deciding who will bring your memories to life is one of your most important ones. Please fill out the contact form and I will respond, typically within 24 hours. I would be honored to be a part of your wedding.

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