Documenting a wedding reception with candid photography

What is the most important part of a wedding for a photographer? What might come to mind is the ceremony, or first kiss, or pictures of the couple after the wedding, even the special dances.  So when I put up a blog post, photography of these things is what I’m usually concentrating on.  But really, what I spend probably half or more of my time at a wedding doing, is just keeping a close eye on the couple and trying to document the event.  I want to catch the emotions and the natural expressions of everyone there.  But at the same time, I still want these quick candid pictures to look professional without making myself become an annoyance.

Documenting a wedding with photography is not as easy as it may seem. I have to be on alert at all times, ready with my camera for a quick shot.  To take even quick snapshots that look professional, you need a lens with a shallow depth of field.  This lets in more natural light requiring less flash, isolating the subject, and making everything in the background have a nice blur.  However, even with high-end cameras, quickly focusing on a moving subject with a shallow depth of field takes a lot of practice.  I’ve been doing this for hundreds of thousands of shots now, and I still miss focus sometimes.  If you have questions about some techniques I use to keep subjects in focus with my Nikon D800, feel free to ask.

So I’m doing something different with the pictures for this post.  These are only from when the couple visited the tables and hugged and talked to the guests and family.  I also stuck a couple of dancing shots in at the end.  Let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed these.

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