“Couples choose unplugged weddings not just to ensure the quality of professional images. They also do it to keep guests engaged and focused on the ceremony itself.”
I recently read an interesting article from CNN entitled: “When snap-happy guests go too far” all about photo-bombing at weddings.This hits very close to home for me as it is a very real scenario at many weddings we photograph. One of the worst scenarios I have ever encountered in this regard, was a very small wedding of about 30 guests, 85% of them had a camera phone (including a sweet, but very busy 5 year old) pointed at the couple for the entire ceremony and during the signing of the wedding certificate. The guests were crowded around the signing table to the point that I was unable to get in front of them for this all-important photograph. Later, the bride actually apologized to me as she clearly understood what had just happened.A photographer within the CNN article quoted: “It’s not me that you’re hurting, it’s the bride and groom and those who have been invited,” she said. “You don’t want to be the person who blocks the first kiss not just from me, but from other guests, or whose flash ruins the shot when the bride’s father is crying as he walks down the aisle.”
As much as social media, selfies and status updates are a norm, we are finding that couples are drawn to the unplugged wedding. Some of our bridal couples have even requested a little blurb from us regarding “no photography moments” during their wedding.
The following paragraph was written by an anonymous author (I wish I knew who, so I could give credit to where it is due) but I have found it fundamental to photographing the natural gesture at weddings that we love to capture; i.e, not having to look past those cameras and camera phones!
Our couples put the below quote into their invitation package or to be read aloud by the officiant just before the ceremony takes place.
“We want you to feel truly present and in the moment with us throughout our wedding day. We’ve hired two amazing photojournalistic photographers who will capture everything about the wedding…including you! We invite you to sit back, relax, and just enjoy the wedding! We respectfully ask that everyone leave all cameras and cell phones off during the ceremony and the “ceremonial parts” of the reception, including the first dance, parent dances and cake cutting. We ask you to refrain so that we can see your faces and you can see ours, both now and forever in the photos that our photographers will capture. Of course we will be happy to share our wedding photos with you afterward!”
After having photographed hundreds of weddings, some of my work in post editing (cropping, etc.) may be decided based on – who got in the way, was there certain lighting from a camera flash that I did not account for, did someone step into the ceremony aisle or raise the camera phone right in front of me, etc. Sometimes, there is only so much a photographer can do; but the ‘only happens once’ scenario, like the first kiss, can be captured without mishaps, just by making this small request to guests.
That said, if the bridal couple decides the more photographs, the better, even if they are phone quality, we always find a way to work around it, but would it not be great to have your moments captured with everyone present and living in the moment?