Wedding reception photos – a modern approach

Frequently over the last many years I have attended weddings and their receptions. The use of photography in an effort to preserve this day is common to all weddings and receptions, and the obligatory photographer is always present.

Sometimes the couple will hire two photographers in an effort to get more candid shots of family and friends throughout the reception. Sometimes they will hire or designate a family member who’s a photography hobbyist to capture those numerous shots. And increasingly common is the placement of disposable cameras on each reception table to encourage family and friends to take photos throughout the event

There are numerous technical and practical problems with this approach. First off, the disposable cameras don’t generally take the best photos. Second, the cost of developing these numerous cameras is a significant consideration. And, third, there’s a strong possibility that the camera will prove to be a great toy for some young person – resulting in photos of the floor and ceiling (for which you’ll pay to have developed) – or even numerous photos where the user failed to activate the flash (usually a hold-down button on disposable cameras).

However, in today’s day and age, it is very likely that many or most of the guests brought their own digital camera. I know that I usually do, and that I’ll shoot around 50 to 100 pictures during any such event.

Digital cameras are usually of a much better quality than disposables – resulting in much better pictures. Also, digital photos are cheap and numerous – because the memory chips will usually hold several hundred photos (unlike the 27 or so available from the disposable camera), and the cost of each image is virtually nothing. It is also very unlikely that anyone is going to allow their child the use it as a plaything, and there won’t be too many pictures of the floor and ceiling – though you wouldn’t likely care as there is no cost involved.

The question becomes how do you collect all of these photos without clogging your email with numbers of large collections of image files. What you need is a single “big pot” where you can encourage all of your guests to dump their photos for sharing with the couple and the family-at-large.

Today there are online solutions called “photo exchange depots” (depositories). Just do an internet search and you’ll likely find one. Sometimes single-day events are free to setup. Generally, here is how they work;

The couple establishes their event on one of the photo exchange depots, and receives a designated private “EventCode.” This code uniquely identifies their event on the system, and will allow online users (anyone knowing the EventCode) to add their photos into a big pool of event photos.

The couple informs their guests of this website and EventCode in their program, or as part of the place settings and/or table-tents at the reception. The guests all access the site (no user login usually required) and uploads all of their event photos.

Then, after the honeymoon is over, the couple and/or their family can view all of the uploaded images, and select, download, and save the pictures they wish to keep. At some point the depot expires and fades away.

This is a simple, low-cost, low-risk, and very effective way to capture possibly hundreds of additional photos from your special event.

More pictures, more memories!! Enjoy!