Photography Tips: Shooting at the Wedding Banquet
Cutting the wedding cake

Photography Tips: Shooting at the Wedding Banquet

This is my first post for the photography tips series. Although I’m not a professional wedding photographer, the tips below are what I learned 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 you will share yours with me to help each other 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 correctly. Ensure the battery is fully charged and the memory card is formatted.

2. Have Extra Backup Equipment

Having multiple batteries and memory cards is a plus. I highly recommend you to bring an extra camera as backup (yea I know the it costs more $$). Ensure you are familiar with it and the settings are identical/similar to your primary gear. A zoom lens is good enough and convenient. But if you prefer to use a prime lens on your primary camera, attach another lens with different focal lengths 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 tip. It is critical and easy to overexpose the bride’s white dress or underexpose the groom’s dark suit. You will need the capability of RAW to get them right.

From the samples above, both the groom’s 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, walk around, and analyze where the crucial 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, but I also observed the ceiling height suitable for bouncing flash when walking around. I used my finger to tilt up the NEX-6’s in-build flash for the flash bouncing and get the sample shots below.

Is the result much better right? If you cannot tilt your camera in-build flash up, you may place a white card (such as a name card) in front of your flash with a certain degree to bounce the flashlight.

5. Shoot the Wedding Decoration

There are many representative wedding decorations like the wedding cake, glass stack, the little gift, etc. Find something exciting 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

Many scenes only happen at a glance, such as a groom and a bride’s arrival and entrance, shaking Champagne, kissing each other, and so on. Set your camera into continuous mode and autofocus is very important during the wedding shooting. Below is the most satisfying shot I shot in the continuous mode when the groom and bride entered the banquet.

Dream-like entrance
Dream-like entrance

Want to get such a shot in single shooting mode? You need to be experienced enough and pray your lens won’t hunt for focus unexpectedly. Otherwise, you will miss the precious moment as what happened in 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 filled up so quickly when shooting in continuous mode. Continuous Mode may be 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 processing and clearing its buffer.

7. Follow the Wedding Photographer

They are professional, so follow them! You may introduce yourself as a second photographer to them or stand aside, look, listen, and learn 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 maintaining a reasonable shutter speed? Is the white balance appropriate? The most important part is quickly adjusting your settings and getting ready for the next shot! Except for the crucial one, don’t waste time to examine all your shots pixel by pixel and discard them even they are unsatisfied, leave the rest to post-processing. You may miss your next fantastic shoots.

9. Keep Smiling Don’t Be Shy

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

10. Try to Shoot from Different View

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

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

I took the shots above with my Sony NEX-6 and the Sony SEL24F18Z. The lens works pretty well and is capable of focusing fast and accurately most of the time (There are only 3 -5 shots that 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 my tips sharing. I hope that it may help you in some manner. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

James Tan

James Tan is a Singapore-based professional photographer who shoots weddings, events, products, and cityscapes. Learn more about his works on his galleries. He shares his perspective on cameras, gadgets, and photography tips & tricks in his blog. You can follow him on his YouTube channel and Instagram.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  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!

    1. Thank you very much Caryl =) Just visited to your website, it is excellent! Thumbs up!

    1. Thank you, I’ll keep it up =) By the way, just visited to your blog and it is awesome! Like it very much!

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