It’s Not *All* About The Bride and Groom: Photography Extras
The photographer is there to catch all your special moments. Your I do’s, your kiss, your first dance, when you get that little evil look in your eye before you smash the cake in each other’s faces…it’s their job to catch it. And for some people that’s enough, but for others it’s not. Some couples want a bigger emphasis on their guests than you sometimes get with a singular photographer. The question you have to ask yourself is this: when you look back on the day years from now, do you want to only see the two of you, or do you want to be reminded of all the people you shared it with? If you want a little something extra, there are a couple of things you can add to your day.
The Disposable Camera
You don’t see this as much anymore, but I remember when I was a kid this was the big thing. Each table had a disposable camera set out on it, and it was up to the guests to take pictures of themselves throughout the night. Afterwards, the couple would gather up all the cameras and get the film developed, then go through all of the guest-captured moments when they came back. You can still find bulk disposable cameras for this purpose fairly easily, but it can be expensive by the time you add up the cost of the cameras and the film development (not to mention there may be some unusable pictures if drunk Uncle Joe got a hold of it).
A 2nd Photographer
I don’t mean hire two different “companies”, but rather having a photographer team. Some photographers come as a duo already, but some can hire a second person to shoot with them if you ask for it. Having a second camera there lets each photographer take a focus. While it can be expensive if a second shooter isn’t already included in your package, you can essentially end up with twice as many pictures, and they’re all of professional quality.
The Photo Booth
Those photo booths you find at the fair or in the mall? You can rent one! This is gaining popularity amongst the marrying crowd rather quickly. They’re usually a little bigger than what you see in the previously mentioned settings, but they still can’t exactly hold a crowd. Ones that are aimed at parties and weddings typically spit out two sets of the picture strips, one for the guest to keep and one for them to put in a scrapbook (that you leave out for them!) for you to see later. It’s also nice to leave out a pen for your peeps to write a note for you next to their picture strip. The take home strips usually serve as favors, but it can get a little complicated with a group photo since there’s only one strip for them all to share (there’s no copyright on them though, so they can easily make copies themselves).
The Goof Booth
The goof booth is a photo booth on steroids, but good steroids. The goof booth (some just call it a photo booth) is a photographer run photo “booth”. There’s some section of the reception site, whether in a corner or wide out in the open, that is set up the way you’d find a portrait studio set (some photographers use a backdrop like a white screen, others will use the natural backdrop of the wall). This is much, much bigger than the booth you rent, and has an actual person taking the photos, so you have a wider range of photo options and a better quality photo. Here the guests don’t get a printed out picture (although some of the photographers we talked to will actually let you set up a photo printer with a laptop to print some on the spot), but you get them along with the rest of your wedding pictures. Not all photographers offer this option, but it never hurts to ask. It is often times cheaper than renting one of the actual photo booths as well. Remember that this requires a second shooter.
For either of the booth styles (and in theory you can do it anyway), it can be fun to supply some props like silly hats or chalkboards for your guests to incorporate into their picture. You can also do as my friend Sarah did for her wedding last year and NOT supply actual props, but challenge your guests to use things around the room (chair sashes make great blindfolds, FYI).
One of the things Tim and I loved about Bryan and Mae was that they do the goof booth. We had a blast with it last year at Sarah’s wedding, and we were instantly in love with the idea. If you want to see what the results of such a setup look like, check out the goof booth collections on their blog. We’re having them set one up at our reception, and I’m already super pumped for it!