Photography Tips: Shooting at the Wedding Banquet

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This is my first post for the photography tips series. Although I’m not a professional wedding photographer but the tips below are what I learnt and sorted from various online resources and applied during the wedding banquet. In addition, by sharing my experience with all of you here I hope that you will share yours with me as well so that we can help each other to improve.


1. Be Ready and Well Prepared

Check your camera condition, ensure all the settings like exposure, white balance, ISO, flash mode or any other settings are set up properly. Ensure the battery is fully charged and the memory card is clean up.

2. Have Extra Backup Equipment

Having multiple batteries and memory cards is a plus. Highly recommended to bring an extra camera as backup, ensure you are familiar with it and the settings are same/similar to your primary gear. Zoom lens is good enough and convenience but if you prefer to use a prime lens on your primary camera, attached another lens with different focal length on the backup camera as you do not have extra  time to change your lens carefully.

3. Shoot in RAW

It is another highly recommended tips. It is critical and very easy to get overexposure of the bride’s white dress or underexpose the groom’s dark suit. You will need the capability of RAW to get them right.

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From the samples above, both the groom and bride’s dresses, and even the wedding cake are badly overexposed. You will be amazed by how much the details can be brought back by post processing. If you are shooting in JPEG then you can say goodbye to this precious photo.

4. Familiar with the Location and Use It Effectively

Reach the venue earlier, walking around and analyze where will be the important spots. What will happen on the stage? Where and when will the groom and bride prepare and standby before enter to the banquet? Where to capture the groom and bride when they are walking in?

I do not own any external flash so that I also observed was the ceiling height suitable for bouncing flash when I was walking around. I used my finger to tilt up the NEX-6’s in-build flash for the flash bouncing and had the sample shot as below.

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The result is much better right? If your camera in-build flash cannot be tilted-up then you may place a white card (such as name card) in front of your flash with certain degree in order to bounce the flash light.

5. Shoot the Wedding Decoration

There are many representative wedding decorations like the wedding cake, glass stack, and the little gift and so on. Find something interesting and shoot them fantastic!

The wedding cake
The wedding cake
Beautiful glass stack
Beautiful glass stack
A little gift on the dinning table
A little gift on the dinning table


6.  Never Miss a Single Moment During The Wedding

There will be many scenes that are only happening at a glance, such as the groom and bride arrival and entrance, shaking Champagne, and kissing each other and so on. Set your camera into continuous mode and auto focus is very important during the wedding shooting. Below is the most satisfied shot  which I shot in the continuous mode when the groom and bride were entering the banquet.

Dream-like entrance
Dream-like entrance

Want to get such shot in single shooting mode? You need to be experience enough and bless your lens won’t hunt for focus unexpectedly. Otherwise you will miss the precious moment as what happened at the shot below.

Out of focus at the perfect moment
Lost the focus at the precious moment

Choose a Class 10 or UHS-I memory card for your camera so that your camera buffer would not be full so easily when shooting in continuous mode. Continuous Mode may good, but you must also predict the timing and only use it when necessary otherwise you will lose the more fantastic moment when your camera is busy to process and clear its buffer.

7. Follow the Wedding Photographer

They are professional, so follow them! You may introduce yourself as a second photographer to them or simply stand aside, Look, Listen, and Learn that how and what they do.

Follow the wedding photographer!
Follow the wedding photographer!


8. Fast Glance at Your Shootings and Keep Them

Replay your shooting randomly to check if your current settings are suitable, is the aperture too small? Can I lower the ISO while maintain the reasonable shutter speed? Is the white balance suitable? The most important part is quickly adjust your settings and get ready for the next shot! Don’t examine your shooting pixel by pixel and discard them even they are unsatisfied. You may miss your next fantastic shoots.

9. Keep Smiling Don’t Be Shy

I always keep the smiling on my face when I am shooting (not a silly smile or weird smile >.<).  Peoples who attend the wedding are in a happy mood and more willing/ready for you to shoot even they don’t know who you are. The handsome guys or pretties may make a pose by themselves for you to shoot even you did not ask them to do so purposely.

10. Try to Shoot from Different View

This rule is very useful in most of the photography situation and it may make your photo different than others! Below is showing the different between shooting from a formal group photo view and from a lower view. How do you feel about it? Which one do you prefer?

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Last but not least, if you are not doing it as a job then enjoy the wedding banquet while shooting!

The shots above were taken by the NEX-6 with the SEL24F18Z. The lens works pretty well and able to focus fast and accurately at most of the time (There are only 3 -5 shots which lost the focus among 200+ shots). So which lens do you prefer to use in wedding shooting? Welcome to share your opinion and experiences here.

That’s the end of this post. Hope that it may help you in some manner. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed it!


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5 Replies to “Photography Tips: Shooting at the Wedding Banquet”

  1. Another important tip would be to not forget to take photos of all the different details within the wedding. These big and small things are what made the big day special and unique. Thanks for sharing your tips!

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