You know what a table photo is: those posed photos of wedding guests sitting at their tables, gathered among dirty dishes and wilting centerpieces and half-filled wine glasses, looking at the camera and smiling? We call those “table photos,” a long lasting tradition of wedding photography.
I have mixed feelings about table photos – whether or not couples should do them and whether or not I should recommend them. It seems like such an outdated tradition, but also kind of cute. So for years, I’ve remained ambivalent. I ask couples if they want me to take table photos during their wedding reception and when they hesitate, I just stay silent and let them talk amongst themselves until they find an answer. (75% of the time, the answer is y es.)
I have decided that the time has come for me to take a stance:
Table photos have a place in your gallery of wedding photos. There I said it.
Here are my reasons to proudly advocate for the underwhelming and highly forgettable Table Photo.
- Table photos are great documents of who was at your wedding. Not everyone is included in the formal family portraits, not everyone participates in the ceremony, and not everyone makes it onto the dance floor. Therefore, it is possible that some people can evade the camera for an entire wedding. Table photos are one way to make sure you get a photograph of everyone who attends, no matter what.
- They’re cool little time capsules. Table photos not only show who was there, but they also provide a glimpse into what life was like during the era of your wedding. Since they are informal and typically taken mid-way through the reception, folks are more authentic and relaxed during a table photo. I’m always amazed to see the casual photos from my grandparents’ wedding where everyone is smoking cigarettes and the women have their hair done in that 1940s style.
- They take like 20 seconds to make. Many couples – and photographers – are squeamish about interrupting guests’ dinners and asking them to arrange for a table photo. But I have found that folks are happy to do it and understand it’s part of being a wedding guest. It’s quick and painless!