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Should You Stop Your Wedding Guests Taking Photos?

Wedding photo

Weddings are expensive. You know what else is expensive? A really good wedding photography – that essential, non-negotiable, un-skippable entry right there at the top of the ‘List of Things a Wedding Can’t Go Ahead Without’. Get the picture?

Just recently, we’ve noticed a big storm brewing over the issue of wedding guests’ phones and iPads – yes, tablets – getting in the way of their otherwise perfect professional shots. As hard as these wedding photographers try, and as many angles as they explore without the happy couple being out of frame entirely, there seem to be more and more instances of the professionals being literally blocked out by the invitees.

First things first, it’s no secret why this is a mounting bugbear for photographers and their brides and grooms. We get as annoyed as you when we see an otherwise perfect picture of the first kiss ruined by a tablet – yes, a tablet.

As a result, more couples are specifically requesting that guests leave their devices in their pockets and clutches, and that they put their trust in the photographers to immortalise the big day. While it’s an effective solution to the issue, we’re not sure it’s the best idea. Here’s why.

Professional Photographs and Guest Snaps are Totally Different

If that sounds like stating the obvious, it is – but we have a point.

Your professional photographer has all the equipment, skill, technical know-how and artistic vision they need to get those incredible, once-in-a-lifetime, living-room-wall-ready shots that capture every ounce of romance and joy, every detail of your location and décor, and every special moment in a way you could only have dreamed of. In most cases, they’ll do a mix of staged shots and candid shots – unless, of course, you ask for something different.

Your guests, on the other hand, are not pros (something backed up by the tablet they keep in their clutch). Their photos are significantly more likely to be blurry, badly staged, awkward, or even, at times, downright unflattering than your photographers. They’re not going to be as crisp or as vibrant, either, unless your guests are smuggling in DSLRs.

So far, this is the perfect argument against guest photographers. But what about all the quirky, candid, in-the-thick-of-it memories your guests are able to capture on their phones? How much would we have loved to have flicked through our parents’ wedding albums to find a few shots taken by an unsteady hand on the dancefloor, a tipsy selfie from the bridesmaids, a blurry silhouette captured from the edge of the dancefloor? These shots aren’t perfect, but they’re bursting with the life and soul of the party, and there’s something very special about that.

Plus, it means after the wedding there’s a whole new batch of wedding photos to look through. Yes, it might be a bit of a scavenger hunt through social media, but, once you start to build up a good collection, you can print a Facebook photo book full of perfectly imperfect wedding snaps.

But What About the Phones?

We realise that, as nice as the end product sounds, having the wedding’s main photos disrupted by fifty smartphones raised like lighters at a rock concert is definitely not it. In that case, how about a happy medium?

We’re all for a polite sign at the wedding ceremony, asking that guests refrain from pulling out their phones. ‘Unplugged’ ceremonies are incredibly popular at the moment, so it’s unlikely you’ll get many raised eyebrows at a request like that – and, if you do, who cares? It’s your big day.

Some couples are choosing to slip a note into their invitations, pre-warning guests of their desire for an unplugged ceremony. This comes with the added benefit of encouraging your aunt to leave the tablet at home just this once…

Other times during the wedding when we’d ask for phones to be kept below the waistline? The speeches, first dance, father-daughter dance, and cake cutting. Why? Because they all represent moments when there is one clear focus of attention – times when the photographer will be totally in their element, and capturing exactly what needs to be captured.

True, it’s difficult to get all your guests on the same page, but that’s what bridesmaids and groomsmen are for – and you’ll be glad you did it.

There’s no easy way to balance planning a wedding for yourselves with putting together an event that will keep your guests happy the entire time, but we’re sure there’s a happy, mutually-beneficial medium to be found between the cell phones raised high, and no candid guest shots whatsoever. Social media is great for weddings. From planning your wedding on Instagram to gathering up all those one-of-a-kind guest shots, making the most of it and getting the best of both worlds really is possible.


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