Wedding speeches are actually a favourite time of day for me as it allows me to capture the real moments of everyone in the room. Now, as much as I try to get a photo of every guest that is nearly impossible with the size of weddings these days, but speeches allows me to photograph the most important people. The parents, the grandparents and their closest friends will be seated closest to the head table. During speeches, it’s almost guaranteed that the best man will make everyone laugh. The maid of honour will make the bride cry and the brides parents will cry during the bride and groom speech.
#1 Tip- ask your brides to remove the podium and just have a floating microphone placed at the end of the head table by talking to the venue and making this happen. Sometimes the DJ’s set this up too, so don’t forget to ask them. Weddings with podiums and attached microphones ruin great images.
Shooting through candelabras with a 70-200mm isolates the subject you are focusing on and hides unwanted items in the photos. This also works with crystals dangling from flower centre pieces.
I’m shooting through silver candle sticks and wine glasses here to isolate my bride and groom speaking. I’m hiding all the clutter on the table but still able to see the brides maids in the frame.
The brides parents are speaking but for this shot i’m focusing on the bride for her reactions.
This head table had candles which I love to photograph through as I capture a touching moment with the bridesmaids speech
I’m photographing this speech from a little entrance balcony through christmas lights on the railing again isolating my subjects from the rest of the guests.
This image would have been 100% better had the speaker been holding the mic in his hand.
This maid of honour had the right idea to remove the microphone from the stand, but the stand is unavoidably in the way of the image.
The microphone stand is completely distracting in this image and totally blocking the maid of honours expression.
Another example of the microphone on a stand attached to a podium interferes with an otherwise beautiful image.
#2 Tip- Stay in the perimeter of the room so you are not blocking any guest views, or sometimes I’m kneeling on the floor in front of the head table and shooting through their wine glasses or flowers like below.
Kneeling below the head table and shooting through the flowers and wine glasses isolates the speaker and removes all the clutter on the table.
Here I’m in the exact same spot on the floor below the head table. This shot isolates the brides emotions while the maid of honour gives her speech.
Flower girl gave a toast here and I’m right at the back of the room with my 70-200mm at f2.8
Sisters of the bride during mom and dads speech
Creative captures of the toasts and again I’m at the end of the head table with my 70-200m F2.8
I move from one end of the head table to the other in tight spaces so that I can get the speaker and then the bride groom reactions.
Capturing these moments is a must for me and should be for any wedding photographer
#3 Tip- Get reactions from guests or bride and groom during speeches. I try to focus on the main tables like best friends or immediate family.
Parents of the bride while the bride and groom speak.
Groom reaction during best man speech
Mother of the groom
Grandmother of the groom who could barely see over the high back chairs.
Father of the groom
#4 Tip- Use a long lens so you are not standing in the way and can easily hide in the corners or on the floor in front of the main table.
I’m at the back of the room shooting through people and candelabras and focusing on the bride’s reactions. With the 70-200mm lens I’m able to compress everything and isolate my subjects.
The parents of the groom are giving their speeches and I’m shooting through them to get the brides reaction.
By moving over slightly I’m able to grab the grooms parents giving their speeches.
#5 Tip- Guest captures are the best at the reception or the cocktail hour, but during receptions you can capture them having real moments while speeches are being done.
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