Photographing the Reception Hall: Perspective and Light

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Before a swarm of guests descends on the reception hall and disrupts the carefully arranged environment, be sure you’ve captured it in its exquisite perfection.  Most halls are tastefully appointed and designed with visual impact in mind. With the exception of the occasional fluorescent-lit VFW hall, the reception venue is best shot in available light.

Capture a selection of wide shots of the room from several angles using a wide angle or software-correctable fisheye lens attached to a tripod-mounted camera. If you have the time, set a custom white balance, or at the very least, use auto white balance or other setting that matches the existing light in the room. If necessary, you might want to use an on-camera flash if the ambient light levels are too low, or if you want to play with the lighting ratios of foreground and background light. If you do go this route, make sure you drag your shutter at a slower speed in order to avoid black or shadowy backgrounds. A tabletop tripod or super clamp could come in handy here.

Using a macro lens, you should also make a point of shooting details including rows of seating cards, flower arrangements, table settings and other vignettes that capture the mood and atmosphere of the occasion.

Allow yourself or your assistant enough time to photograph the hall and still be ready to capture images of the newlyweds as they arrive, as well as when they make their grand entrance into the reception hall as husband and wife.