A beautiful smell flows through the restaurant as you take your seat overlooking the water. The waiter brings your drinks and takes your order. As you enjoy your intimate dinner with your other half, with plenty of laughs and you’re in deep conversation, even your phones don’t make an appearance at the table. An uninvited person then approaches your table.

There’s a acoustic guitar playing in the corner and you are enjoying your time together. A man suddenly appears at your table holding a basket. He puts his hand in and takes out a rose, looking you in the eye while you’re about to enjoy another mouthful of that mushroom risotto.

“A rose for the beautiful lady” as he hands the rose to the lady of the table. Welcome to that awkward moment of being interrupted and having something forced upon you while enjoying dinner.

Ladies and Gentleman may I present to you, the equivalent of The Rose Peddler at events and functions, the “table photo”.

Here are optimum time segments where table photos might be captured:

1. When doors open
As guests find their tables they are usually seated promptly. The table is still tidy and usually the conversation between guests is still pretty light. The VIP tables however are usually the last to be seated and best to be avoided until later on. The best time to capture VIP tables is the brief moments before the event starts and guests have been asked to take their seats. Another VIP time slot is just after their meals have been cleared.

2. During Meals
Food delivery starts at the VIP tables at the front and work their way to the back of the room. So avoiding the VIP tables is usually best at this stage. Instead starting from the middle or back of the room until the waiters have reached the middle tables.

3. End of formalities
At the end of formalities and the dance floor opens some guests leave the table or make an early exit so it’s best to be quick.

The Obstacles

Table photos can be a real challenge as photographers try to engage the guests’ attention and get them into position but there is also photographing over a table full of food and beverages, an oversized centrepiece or where lights from the venue are hitting the table.

There’s no ‘i’ in table

So how can you execute a great table photo? Well it’s a team effort!
We’ve found in the past that a photographer’s assistant to walk around with the photographer who can hold a LED light or similar has been the best solution so far. By getting guests into place quickly and positioning them, they are also able to move or hold onto centrepieces and table numbers to keep them out of the photograph. Should there not be enough light on the table to focus the photo, then they are also able to hold up a light to help the photographer focus the subjects.

The alternatives

So if you’re after some nice social photos that you can actually use why not consider these options.

Media Wall

media wall photographer
Let your guests feel like celebrities as they step onto the red carpet and strike a pose in front of the media wall before walking into your event. The media wall setup is easy to do, can be lit well and guaranteed lots of great pictures of your guests.

Socials entering the room

social event photography
As guests enter the main room, this is the prime time to get guests to stop for a photo in the room itself before they are seated.

Pop Up Studio

popup mobile studio
If you have the space at your venue, consider a pop up studio where guests can come over for their professional portrait taken while they are all glammed up. A pop up studio can be as easy as a curtain backdrop or go all out to make it suit your event’s theme complete with props.