Title: Are Table Shots Still a Thing?
Have you ever been at a wedding reception, eating your dinner, and the photographer approaches your table and asks half of you to stand up and move to the other side of the table for a “table shot”?
This used to be a tradition done at most weddings in an attempt to get photographs of all the guests. When photographers used to shoot solely on film, there were a lot fewer photos taken throughout the day, and often very few were of guests.
Table shots were a solution to take a photo of every guest at the wedding. I have to admit, it wasn’t a bad idea.
However, it has fallen out of fashion over the years, and most current photographers do not take any form of table shots unless specifically requested by the bride and groom. And yet I have at least one Mother of the Bride or Groom ask for table shots every wedding season. Or even worse, they are unhappily surprised after the wedding when looking through photos to find table shots were never taken.
So your mom is hoping for table shots, and you aren’t on board. Great news: I have a compromise that works wonders. Ask your mom to choose specific table numbers that she wants photos of. If we're being honest, does she want photos of your college or work friend’s table? Most likely not. A great compromise can be selecting a handful of specific tables that you visit for a traditional table shot.
If you’re still not jazzed on the idea, here are a couple of other ways to get a lot of guest photos without doing traditional table shots:
Hire a photo booth and encourage your guests to visit it. There are all kinds of photo booths out there and you normally are able to give your guests a copy of the photo along with receiving a digital copy as well.
Set up a step-and-repeat. You know those backgrounds you’ve seen at events where you stand in front of it and take a selfie? Go a step further by hiring a 3rd photographer for a couple of hours to man this station and get a professional photo of everyone in your wedding gallery.
Communicate to your photographer how capturing guest photos are important to you and your parents and ask that the second photographer focuses on a casual grouped guest photo during the cocktail hour. This will not guarantee you a photo of everyone but does ensure more guest photos.
If you have your heart set on table shots, I have outlined the pros and cons I have encountered over the years.
Pro’s of Table Shots:
The only sure way to get a photo of every guest at your wedding.
Tables are normally grouped by family or groups of people that would naturally want to be in a photo together.
It will likely make your mom happy.
Cons of Table Shots:
Guests really dislike doing them. Not only does it interrupt their dinner, but it’s hard to find a table that has all guest present at the time your photographer visits them, always leaving one person upset that somebody (their husband or sister) is missing.
It takes a lot of your photographer’s valuable time. Do you want your photographer’s focus to be on table shots or on other events happening?
The timing of the reception may not allow time for it. If you have a reception where guests dance between toasts and courses, there is literally no time that all guests are seated unless there is a toast happening.
It disrupts the waitstaff as they are trying to serve and clear the tables.
If you have large centerpieces or crowded tables it is very hard to move guests away from their tables for a clean photo.
This used to be a tradition done at most weddings to photograph all the guests. When photographers shot the film there were a lot fewer photos taken throughout the day, and often very few were of guests.
Table shots were a solution to take a photo of every guest at the wedding. Honestly, it was n’t a bad idea I have to admit.
But it has fallen out of fashion as the years go by and most current photographers do not take any form of table shots unless specifically requested by the bride and groom.
And yet I have at least one mother of the bride or groom ask for table shots every wedding season. Or worse, they are unhappily surprised after the wedding when there are none.
So your mom wants table shots, you do not. I have a compromise that works wonders: have her choose specific table numbers that she wants to be. Honestly.. Does she want photos of your college or work friend table? Probably not. So a solution can be a handful of specific tables that you visit for a traditional table shot.
Here are a couple of other ways to get a lot of guest photos without doing table shots: