I absolutely LOVE being a full-time professional photographer and I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do than photograph people’s weddings and their milestone moments. But at the same time, I think one of the most difficult jobs out there nowadays is to be a professional wedding photographer. What with the onslaught of consumer point-and-shoot cameras, mobile phones, tablets, digital capture devices, personal video recording devices and more, it’s an extremely difficult task to get a really great image of the bride and groom throughout the day. Why is it so tough? Because lately, more and more guests at a wedding are not being very considerate of the bride and groom.
While I don’t usually mind the many guests at a wedding taking multiple photographs during the ceremony and reception, it’s particularly stressful and also a pet peeve of mine when I’m trying to get a really awesome and memorable shot of the bride and her dad coming down the aisle, (such as this one posted here) only for it to be ruined by somebody’s digital device being stuck out into the aisle right in front of my camera view, ruining both the moment and the photograph.
A wedding is one of those milestone events that you only have one chance to get right. There are no do overs! When the moment is gone, it’s lost forever. That’s why this is a source of great stress for the professional photographer (me) trying to capture that magical moment that my clients invested very good money for! I’m in position, I’m ready, here comes the moment…and there goes someone ruining it. I feel sad for the wedding couple, because they won’t get to enjoy and cherish these photos now.
The shots shown here are by no means an isolated incident. A quick search online to news sites like the Huffington Post and CNN, will confirm that more and more wedding memories are being lost due to others interfering with the professional photographers shots. There are hundreds more photographs, just like these here that end up in my computer’s recycling bin instead of as part of the bride and grooms most memorable and treasured collection.
With the myriad of digital devices getting bigger and bigger screens, this problem is getting even worse! So, what can we do to put a stop to this? I do understand that the guests of the wedding are anxious and excited to take photos of the bride and groom, but is it so important that they need to ruin the bride’s memories of her special day? There’s got to be another way! Do we return to the old ways and put it into our photography contracts that no one else is allowed to take photographs?
In the past, professional photographers such as myself had it written into our contracts that no other people were allowed to take photos during the Ceremony or the Formals. Over the years, this became frowned upon due to the fact that most of the guests carried with them point and shoot cameras, mobile phones with cameras and nowadays, tablets with cameras. But these old-day rules were put into the contract for good reason. We photographers work incredibly hard to try to capture every special moment and lots of those moments are ruined either by some other camera’s flash, or by someone jerking out their device in front, just to get a shot. These bigger screen digital devices truly are disruptive to the wedding and ruin many photos throughout the day as you see from these shots. It’s gotten to be so bad that even the wedding party is pulling out phones or devices, just to get a “live” shot to upload to social media. Do you suffer from Facebook Interruptus?
I find it hard to believe that guests of a wedding cannot see how wrong this is. Think of all the shots that we professionals have to throw away because of this. There isn’t just one person at the wedding doing this either, there are many, many people doing this all at the same time. You may even wonder sometimes how the professional gets any good shots at all. There has to be a happy medium somewhere that will please both the guests and not ruin the professional’s images. Personally, I feel it is up to the married couple to set the ground rules on this one. Don’t let your guests ruin your wedding photos! Tell them that you are having an “Unplugged Wedding”. What’s an unplugged wedding? Simply put, no digital capture devices. Invite your guests to enjoy the wedding, hear the beautiful words that are being shared and feel the love in the room during the ceremony. Most professional photographers will post the wedding images online and all of your guests will have the chance to see all the amazing photos taken throughout the day. They are even available for purchase, if guests want to have a keepsake of your wedding day.
I chose to blog about this today, after having this happen to me at some recent weddings and after reading several online news stories about this happening at other weddings too. My goal is only to bring some awareness to any of my future wedding clients who are reading this. As the married couple, you have every right to make special requests on your wedding day. The simplest way to take control of the situation and avoid this happening during your wedding would be to include a note to your invited guests within your wedding invitation, stating the you do not wish your guests to use their digital cameras, tablets, or otherwise during the ceremony, formals, or otherwise interfere with the professional photographers photos.
You see, this information coming directly from your professional photographer to your guests, would be received in a very negative way, thereby making him or her out to be a bad/mean person. But merely all we are trying to do is ensure that you get the very best value and amazing, memorable images throughout your day, which is what you paid me top dollar to do. We work extremely hard and are 100% invested into your wedding, trying to make it the experience of your lifetime. It is very, very sad when an amazing and heart-warming image that would take your breath away, is ruined by someone with a mobile device and long arms, or someone Photo-Bombing during a milestone occasion, such as the Cake Cutting.
So, if you agree with me and if your wedding photography is very important to you, you may consider sending a note to your guests, along with the invitation stating that your wedding be an “Unplugged” occasion. This means asking them to refrain from using electronic devices and thereby placing them in the photographer’s way during the ceremony and formal photos. They will have plenty of opportunities to photograph the bride and groom during the reception. Unplugged weddings are gaining popularity and are the best way to get to most out of your wedding images.
If you don’t agree with me and if photography is not that important, then please be forewarned that although we will do our very best to get all the great moments and images we can, some of your once-in-a-lifetime, heart-stopping, most memorable, unable to be done over, moments may be lost forever, because someone’s pad is showing, someone is photo-bombing or someone otherwise ruined the photos.
(Stepping off my soapbox)
Off I go to my next wedding, with fingers crossed and hoping no one photo bombs it!
Thanks for reading!