Corey Talks: Table Shots

There are very few things that I ever say that I won’t do, but there are things that I will say that I can’t guarantee I can get done and one of those things are table shots.

Table Shots are the quintessential shot from the film days of photography and when photojournalism was something that only newspapers saw. We’ve all seen the shot I’m talking of – either everyone looking at the camera turned in their seats or the couples paired up with one behind their seated date at a round table. In the mid-to-late 90’s, disposeable cameras started to replace table shots as brides realized how much time they lost in their day to table shots. Thankfully, modern brides are starting to realize that having candid moments far surpass the standard, stoic posed shots of each table and trusting that between their photographers and guests, they will have a shot of everyone at the wedding, either posed or candid.

Now, why I can’t guarantee them? I can’t guarantee them because they are so time consuming. When I say time consuming I’m talking about 5 minutes per table – but can to up to 10 minutes if Uncle Larry is hitting the bar or Aunt Sally is retouching her makeup in the bathroom and the table doesn’t want me to leave until they get back. That can take upwards of an hour out of your time at the reception – when I could be taking more candid moments like grandparents sharing a dance, a father kissing his daughter while trying to hide his tears or a flower girl finally giving into her temptation and going for the cake. Those are the moments in my opinion that should be captured by your photographer to last a lifetime, that’s what I was hired for!

Instead of table shots, I prefer to be more ninja-like during the down times and capture the laughs and smiles of guests and couples at the wedding. I have found that those smiles are more real and the moments more authentic on film than the “smile and pose” style that comes with the table shots. They also can be taken in a moments time, rather than the minutes that takes the traditional table shot to be taken.

If table shots are super important to you, but you don’t want to tie up your photographer, I suggest putting a friend or family member on that task that is the photographer in the group. Everyone has that person in their friend or family group – this would make them not only feel important but also frees up your photographer. It’s a win-win situation!

Reminder that this isn’t that I REFUSE to take them, I just want my brides to know that this is something I can’t guarantee. My focus is on my bride and groom – and most of the time the reception is constantly going and there are not many spare moments to take the table shots. The only down time that I typically see at a reception is during dinner and trust me – NO ONE wants pictures of them chewing dinner.
I hope this helps some future brides understand why you don’t see the standard table shots anymore!

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  • KirstenApril 20, 2009 - 10:34 PM

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! This really really needed to be said!ReplyCancel