The party is by far my fave part(y) of the day! And not just because I love a good party, but also because by this point, people have generally become used to me taking photos; they have totally relaxed and just want to have a ball. These are all excellent ingredients for naturally fun photos.
I like to get right in to the middle of the dancefloor. Not just to capture the action, but also because I love a packed dancefloor. It’s my happy place and somewhere I am very familiar with!
If you want lots of fun party photos, then you will need to plan for the party to happen. Sometimes wedding parties need a little grease to get going – a great way to set the tone is to play a particular anthem of your friendship group, or a song that you know will get everyone dancing. Play those bangers early on to get everyone on the dancefloor. There is also no harm in playing them twice, once at the beginning of the party and then again at the end of the night – this is something I’ve coined the Wuthering Heights Effect, as it simply cannot be overplayed.
Ideally your dancefloor will be next to your DJ / band and also next to the bar – this will literally put your guests in the heart of the action. When the bar is really far away, the party has a tendency to separate and dilute the fun. If you are planning extra evening entertainment like a photo booth, glitter station, tattoo bar, sweets table, or anything else, make sure to place these right next to the dancefloor too. Again, this is because you don’t want the action to be too spread out.
When you’re liaising with your caterers, make sure to plan your evening food so that it doesn’t clash with when the band is playing. If you have paid for a band, you want your guests to enjoy them with their whole being, rather than tapping a toe whilst shoving a sourdough crust in their mouth. A band will generally play two sets during a party, in which case the ideal time for the evening food is during the band’s break.
Your DJ or band may also suggest that you have smoke and/or lasers to build atmosphere. From a photography perspective these actually completely ruin photos. Lasers will actually damage my cameras and I can’t shoot at the same time as them being used, so if you really want these, please save them for after the photography coverage has finished!
Finally, the biggest attraction is you and your partner. If you want your guests up and dancing, then spend time on the dancefloor! Your guests will want to be where you are (and who wouldn’t want to be, to be fair?!)
- Plan for the party to happen and try not to let people spread out too much.
- If you are having an evening buffet and a band, schedule it to come out when the band has a break. If the buffet is served during your band playing then it will kill the party.
- Try not to have too much entertainment all at once during the party – anything that takes people away from the dancefloor is going to kill the party vibe.
- If your venue allows it, confetti cannons are BRILLIANT. Especially when kept a surprise.
- Ensure that both of you dedicate some time on the dancefloor. Your guests will want to be wherever you are, so if you want lots of photos of people dancing, make sure you have a little boogie too. Your guests will be sure to follow.
- Smoke machines and laser lights are a disaster for photos, definitely not worth the investment!
- Colourful lighting is fun, makes awesome photos and it can be as simple as strings of fairy lights.