How to Get the Best Dance Floor Photography

December 8, 2023

Dance floor photography showing two individuals dancing together with lights around them.

Dance floor photography is honestly one of the most fun parts of being a wedding photographer. Everyone is having a great time, and these photos always end up being some of the most memorable. 

But there is more that goes into them than just point and click. Plus, there are some different techniques, like shutter drag photos, that can make the photos even more amazing. 

So, let’s dive into why dance floor photography is so amazing and how to get some of the best shutter drag dance floor photos.  

Why focus on dance floor photography? 

Before we jump into how to get the best photos on the dance floor, let’s talk about why these are ones that you definitely don’t want to miss out on. 

Perfect Opportunity for Candid Photos

First and foremost, this is one of the best opportunities throughout your wedding to get candid photos. This is one of my favorite things about dance floor photos. 

Whether it is you and your partner jamming out to Taylor Swift or your Great Uncle Joe doing the Electric Slide, these moments are ones that you don’t want to forget. The dance floor is also always changing, and you can’t see all of it all the time, so these photos will be a fun scrapbook of what everyone was doing during your reception. 

I think one of the best ways to get these photos in a super authentic way is to get right on the dance floor with all of your guests. This means you won’t just have long shots of the whole dance floor but can actually see everyone’s faces and see just how much fun they are having. 

Everyone is Relaxed and Letting Loose

Your wedding day is a big day with a ton of things going on all the time. Once you have tied the knot, had your first dance, and cut the cake, the dance floor is the perfect place to let loose and really just enjoy the moment. 

Formality goes out the window, and it’s time for everyone just to have the time of their lives. You and your wedding parties can celebrate making it through this day that you have been planning for months, and your guests can unbutton their collars or take off their shoes and celebrate this time with you in the best way possible. 

You Actually Get to Interact with All of Your Guests

We all hear everyone talk about how hard it is to actually spend time with all of your guests on your wedding day, and honestly, it can be sometimes. You are on a schedule and have so many things going on that sometimes it can just be too overwhelming. 

But the dance floor is the perfect place to celebrate with each and every one of your guests. Nothing brings people together like a good song and some flashing lights. While you may not remember where they were sitting during your ceremony or if they picked chicken or fish for dinner, you’ll definitely remember the Cha Cha Slide or belting out your favorite early 2000s songs that you haven’t sung in years. 

Tips for the best shutter drag dance floor photos 

First of all, let’s talk about what shutter drag dance floor photos are. These are the photos where you see lines of light and make it feel like they are almost moving. This is a great way to capture the essence of the moment and make you feel like you are transported back to the dance floor. 

There are a few ways that you can get amazing shutter drag dance floor photos. These are some of my favorite tips to get them, but be sure to chat with your photographer to make sure you have everything you need. 

Twinkle lights

Twinkle lights are a great way to create this effect. These lights are going to get picked up by the camera and create those bright and blurred lines across the photos to make it feel like the photo is moving. 

When you are planning your reception setup, if you can add twinkle lights around the venue or over the dance floor, this can help you get those bright lines in your photos! 

Other sources of ambient light

Another great way to capture these photos is to make sure there are other sources of ambient light around the venue or the dance floor. This isn’t going to be the main lights themselves, but any additional lighting that makes the room a little less dark. 

This is the light that is going to get picked up by the camera to make sure that the main part of the photo isn’t completely dark. Since receptions are usually pretty dark, ambient light can help your photos be captured in a bit more detail without feeling super dark (or needing to use a ton of artificial light). 

A packed dance floor

Let’s be honest: one of the biggest keys to amazing dance floor photography is a packed dance floor. Everyone loves a good party, and the energy at the reception is always better when everyone is having a great time and enjoying themselves. 

Plus, the more people on the dance floor, the more movement and activity we can capture in the photos to make them even better! 

Fun props with lighting included (glow sticks, sunglasses, etc.)

Props, in general, can be so much fun when it comes to weddings. Sometimes, couples will have a photo booth or a corner set up with different themed props that can be used for photo ops throughout the reception. 

But any light-up props are amazing additions when you are looking for those classic, shutter drag dance floor photos. These can include things like light-up foam sticks, glow sticks, light-up glasses, or anything bright and colorful. 

Not only will this be a big hit with your guests and everyone will love dancing around with these props, but they make for amazing photos. All of the colors from these props will light up the dance floor and make it feel even more energetic. 

Plus, adding these colored lights will give you an even more amazing image. These lights can be used just like the twinkle lights to create those blurred lines, but instead of just being white lines throughout the images, they will be super colorful! 

If you want to stay on theme, you can get props that are the same colors as your wedding colors. Or you can just go for a mix of all different colors to make the night feel even brighter and more energetic. 

Direct flash

My last tip for getting the best shutter drag dance floor photos is using direct flash. Now, you do want to be careful with this as it can be a super bright light to shine on people, and if you are a photographer, you may have to play around with your flash a little bit based on how bright the venue is, but this adds a great extra layer to the image. 

Now, just like any other photos on your wedding day, some of the best images are going to come from the unplanned moments. So, just have fun on the dance floor; don’t force anything or try to create moments. 

As the night goes on, more and more people will join in, and you and your guests will have some amazing, authentic moments that your photographer can capture! 

Final Thoughts on Dance Floor Photos

Hopefully, these tips will help you plan out your reception to capture the perfect dance floor photography. These will honestly be some of your favorite pictures from your wedding and are so fun to share with all of your friends and family. 

If you are still looking for your dream photographer to help capture all of these memories for you, let’s chat. I love being able to find these special moments throughout your wedding day and bring them to life for you through your images. 

Plus, reception and dance floor photography is my jam. After so much structure and scheduling, it is so much fun to capture these raw moments between you and your guests when everyone is living their best life. 

You can click here to check out my wedding photography services, or you can get in touch to chat about your wedding and how we can help make it a day you will never forget!

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