Most Central Coast and Newcastle wedding photographers are booked to stay either one hour into reception or until the end of the first dance or bridal waltz. I often get asked, what about photos after that time – who will take them, what are my options? Traditionally, it has been disposable cameras on the table but there are so many more options available to you.
Although disposable cameras are still a popular option, the photos are rarely any good with minimal number of ‘keepers’. Photos are usually very dark (due to the low power of the flash and relatively dark environment of a reception), photos are often horrendously composed through no fault of the user but the tiny viewfinder screen.
Coupled with the high hit and MISS rate, brides often forget to consider the cost of developing – it can get expensive. A local price I just received was $19.95 per camera (27 photos), $13 for developing and $6 to add to CD.
That’s a total of $38.95 per camera and with say 10 tables at your wedding – $389.50.
If you decide to go this route, here are some tips to get the best results:
- Place a simple set of instructions at each table in easy to read ‘point’ format
- Place particular importance on getting close enough for the small flash to be effective. Photographing a speech from your seat will result in an almost ‘black’ or dark brown grainy image – waste of money!
- Encourage the ‘photographers’ to take their time composing a photo.
- Remind your guests that your photos are important and not to take ‘junk’ (no pun intended) photos.
- Have clear operational instructions about winding the film (yes, these cameras shoot film) on after each photo.
Although most of these points will be on the cameras themselves, having them clearly laid out under each camera will mean the instructions get read – by the women on the table at least 😉
There are plenty of other options available
Although the disposable cameras seem to be the ‘go to’ option for your reception, there are a number of other great ideas you can consider.
Photo booth – these are available for hire for Central Coast, Newcastle and Hunter Valley weddings but you may have to book your booth early as they are becoming popular and there are currently limited suppliers.
Polaroid camera – I’ve seen some great results with these and the retro look and instant results are loved by everyone. One wedding I attended had an album for the polaroids to be glue in and a message left by whoever was in the photo. A second photo was also taken for the couples to be kept by them. For the best results, assign one or two people to take photos, change films and look after the album.
Professional Photographer – pay your wedding photographer for an extra hour or two of coverage. This is a great option if you want professional quality photos of your reception.
Digital Camera – buy a digital camera to be passed around (take your charger and spare memory cards). You could go three ways here and buy a cheap and simple camera simply for your reception to be passed around or go for a better quality camera to keep for your honeymoon and beyond or use whatever you have now. Note: An iPhone is not the best option here as the flash is once again too limiting in the low light conditions.
CD/DVD – post blank DVD’s/CD’s with your thank you notes asking for any and all photos from your wedding. For the best response with this request, include a stamped self addressed Disc envelope. The easier you make it for your friends and family, the more likely you are to see the photos. Let them know in your note that they don’t need to edit, rename or number the photos – simply burn to disc and post.
Amateur Photographer – find a budding photographer to stay for the reception. There are many ‘wanna be’ professional photographers and great amateurs that would jump at the chance of a paid wedding shoot – even if it’s only the reception. You’ll be able to work out a price that suits everyone and just make sure you ask for complete usage rights of the files so you can print, email and post photos to facebook. This should be spelled out in some form of signed document. You could find these ‘photographers’ through friends, your professional photographer will have contacts, camera clubs and facebook groups.
Finally, remember that most of your reception images will be quite small in your wedding album – if one of your guests takes a cracking photo of the bouquet throw we will be more than happy to include that image in your wedding album along side our wedding photography. We’re not so precious at Impact Images that we’d insist that someone else’s photo couldn’t be included in your wedding album.
I hope that list goes someway to helping you with a solution for your late night reception photos. Remember to take your photos to be developed to a good and reputable photo lab for printing, somewhere like John Ralph’s Camera House on the Central Coast. It’s best to stay away for the department stores if you are after good quality prints.
If you are looking for more hints, tips or advice, there are plenty more on our blog under the ‘Advice’ tab at the top of the page.