Since weddings have been on my mind lately, I’ve been following the new great debate over “unplugged” weddings. Photographers seem in strong support of asking guests to refrain from taking photos, but I haven’t heard much from those who disagree.
It never crossed my mind to have an “unplugged” wedding. Our photographer never mentioned anything to us, and maybe that was because our venue was outside and our wedding was in the late morning. We didn’t have to worry about lighting or camera flashes being a problem.
I smile when I look through our pictures and spot guests taking photos. One of my favorite pictures is of my niece and nephew walking down the aisle as our flower girl and ring bearer. You can see the delight on guests’ faces, and one even has her phone out to snap a photo. I love that. Another picture where guests are spotted taking photos is during our exit after the ceremony.
Photo by Jessica Sofranko, loverofweddings.com
Guests wanted to help capture our special day. Every single one of their photos came from a different perspective than our photographer’s, and it gave us an idea of how guests perceived the wedding. I loved being able to see photos later that day that friends posted after the wedding. We enjoyed looking at their photos and reading their comments together as part of the excitement of our wedding day. Once it was all over, I was excited about getting our wedding photos, but I was far more excited about being married.
Josh and I went to an “unplugged” wedding the month before ours. Guests were more than welcome to take photos during the reception, but the bride and groom asked that cameras and phones were turned off for the ceremony. It was the first wedding I’d attended like that, and it was nice. Instead of worrying about trying to capture the perfect photo, I was able to focus and fully enjoy the ceremony. I didn’t miss anything by looking down at my phone to edit and post photos. And the photographer got to do his job.
I asked my friend why she decided to have an “unplugged” wedding, and she said it was their photographer’s recommendation. My friend was married in our church, and she didn’t want any special moments, like their first kiss, to be ruined by a guest’s camera flash. She wanted quality photos of her special day, and she liked knowing that guests could appreciate the ceremony without being distracted.
Should you allow guests to take photos at your wedding? If you can’t decide, here are three things to consider about photography at weddings:
1. Know your guests. If you’re planning a wedding, consider your guests. Do you think they will do everything possible to get the best picture, including invading the aisle, or do you think they’ll calmly remain in their seats? For guests, keep in mind some people don’t like to share their lives on social media. Be respectful if the bride and groom don’t want a photo shared unless they see it first or not at all.
2. Consider the venue. It doesn’t seem to matter as much for afternoon weddings outside, but if a wedding is inside, be mindful of the photographer trying to do his or her job. Turn off your flash so it doesn’t ruin the professional photos. I know from looking at venues that some places, like traditional churches, don’t allow or appreciate flash photography inside. In that case, the photographer may have gotten special permission to be the only one taking photos.
3. Talk to the photographer and set some ground rules. If you’re getting married, ask the photographer about his preferences. He is the only person you’re paying to take professional quality photos, not your friends using cell phones. If you want to encourage them to take pictures, consider asking guests to do so without using the flash.
What are your thoughts on photography etiquette at weddings?