Well this could be controversial…….. everyone wants to take part in your big day and capturing special moments that they can look back on and also share with you is an important part of any wedding. I often get asked whether I have had photos ruined by a stray phone and of course that answer is yes. But having said that I don’t really mind guests taking photos during most of the day as 100 people can capture a lot more of the day then 1 or 2 professional photographers ever could.
When talking with couples I always run through the walking down the aisle scenario.
“Imagine it’s your wedding day and the bride is walking down the aisle with her father. As a photographer it’s super important we capture this moment and all the little moments within that 10 second walk. As the bride reaches the guests, as is common now, many of them get their phones out to capture their own little stories with images and In doing so the screen of a phone enters the photographers field of view. Now any photo that the photographer can capture will have that phone in view. Ruining a special image (one that in some cases are hung in frames) for the bride. It’s a moment that only normally happens once in a persons life.”
Now in this case the photographer only has a couple of options.
1. Continue shooting and hope that the guests will move the phone out of their field of view. This generally doesn’t happen and as the bride gets closer to them, the guests generally move closer and closer to get a better photo. That phone just keeps getting bigger and bigger in those precious photos.
2. The photographer will have to zoom and crop the photo. The most beautiful photos I’ve taken of brides walking down the aisle have been taken on a wide lens, showing the crowd up on their feet around her as she walks to her partner. A bit of magic is lost when you see guests looking at phones rather than at the beautiful bride.
3. The photographer will have to move either into the aisle quickly to capture the bride and her father or move into another aisle to get away from that phone. Taking precious time away from capturing those little moments like the grooms first look, the brides first look, the close up of the father, the close up of the bride etc.
And all of this just for a photo on a phone, yes they have come a long way and can take a really beautiful photo but they pale in comparison to the real thing. They are bad in low light, aren’t really all that great when the subject is moving and don’t capture fine details.
SO SHOULD YOU LET YOUR GUESTS TAKE PHOTOS AT YOUR WEDDING?
THE SHORT ANSWER
Jut kidding, It really does depend on how comfortable you are with your photographer and what photos you want. If you think they can capture those key moment’s then find a happy medium and ask for an semi-unplugged wedding. No phones and no photos at key times of the ceremony – the first walk, the kiss, the exit and any other moment you want captured.
THE LONG ANSWER
It all really does depend on what you want from your wedding photos and how confident you are in your photographer capturing them. Do you mind if there are phones and other cameras in your photos? They will be there if you don’t ask for them not to be. Some couples really don’t mind, some really do. Are you confident that your photographer will capture all the main moments or your big day?
In my opinion I would ask your guests not to take photos at key moments of your big day. Ask them to enjoy those moments with you and take part in them. Get them to get up out of their seats when you walk down the aisle, make eye contact with the people that you love as you walk down the aisle. Allow people to remember how magical your first kiss looked without looking at it through a screen.
I think it’s important to reach a happy medium, of course allow people to take photos at your wedding, but make sure they are aware of what you want from your photos as well. Ask them not to take photos at those big moments where they might get in the way. The first walk, the first look, the kiss, the first dance and any other moment that you want to be captured.
Let your celebrant know to tell the crowd to be aware that you have a photographer that you have trusted to capture these special moments for you and that they will be in amongst you for the ceremony.