Just be a guest! Put your cell phones and iPads away!

I posted this about a year ago and pulled it as I was told by some it came off too harsh and may seem I no longer enjoy shooting weddings. Which really couldn’t be further from the truth.

But sadly, this epidemic has gotten worse…

In the wake of Thomas Stewart’s article, I’m jumping back on the bandwagon and letting my couples know, you may want to think again about allowing your guests to bring their device’s to your wedding…



Ahem…is this thing on???

This week  has me editing tons of weddings! Here’s what I am seeing. Great pictures.

Great pictures that have been ruined by guests with cell phones and cameras of all kinds. Moments gone, stolen, ruined of it’s moment and lost beyond anything Photoshop can resurrect with it’s magical powers. And it’s not just these 5 weddings mind you, it’s been all year and previous years. And it’s only getting worse.

It’s guests blocking the shot or sticking out like a sore thumb in an effort to be discreet. Blocking the face of the mother of the bride while she sees her daughter enter the ballroom. Mom is clapping and smiling but her face is blocked by a purple iPhone5 case and a hand.

It’s flashes firing when the photographers are choosing not use ours or are simply not allowed to.

It’s pro gear on someone’s lap during a ceremony. It’s people taking selfies while the bride is walking down the isle.

It’s that infrared focus beam on the groom during the dance with his mom. And then the beam is on mom’s face, and then the dad’s face with his daughter.

It’s guests in a church with a loud shutter. Pros have super quiet, almost silent shutters for a reason. So when a prosumer one goes clunking down during a ceremony, it’s pretty distracting for everyone in the church. Guests with an auto focus beep set to ON.

It’s guests with cameras that were so concerned with positioning themselves to take a great photo that they didn’t read the church program which had the most polite request from the Bride & Groom, “Please, no photos during our ceremony. We would like to see the joyful sight of all your smiles!” Other receptions: “Please be nice and turn off your device!” In the meantime, I have photographed guests and wedding party texting through first dance and toasts and even ceremonies!

It’s made the last five or so years frustrating, challenging and disheartening.
 Guests don’t get it. Or maybe they don’t care to get it.

A few things to all you future guests. Yes, you can absolutely take photos but think long and hard about where, when and how. Please don’t during the key moments of the day. PLEASE stop standing behind us at any point in time. If we are there right then and there, it’s a key moment. Please stop distracting us, breathing on us, and bumping into us.

Also, if you ever say to a photographer, “Just let me know I am in your way and I’ll move.” 1. You already in our way. 2. It’s not our job to let you know when have had a lapse in good judgement.

A GREAT time to take photos is when we are not. Mostly during the reception. Get all the guest candids, you with the bride and groom. You have 5 hours for that. We can’t be everywhere at every second. Go for it during the party. Just not those key moments. Put them down during the parent dances and cake cutting, please.

Here’s something that may help you think twice. I think most people don’t realize how much couples invest in a professional, full time wedding photographer. It’s thousands. Plus thousands. The Boston market average is about $4000. with additional service and product purchases after that. So couples can and do easily spend up to $6000. on all they would like from engagement session to final wedding album.

Photographers building a business, professional photographers, enthusiasts, you are guests. If you don’t know better, hopefully today you will. Unless the Bride and Groom also sent you a signed contract with your invitation, put it away. This is not for your website either. It’s such a bummer when we have to contact a guest that posts images from one of our weddings as one of their own. They just put their Bride & Groom in breach of contract because they wanted to use their wedding for their own advances.

Every time a guest interferes, blocks, bumps, breathes on us, asks, tries to be stealth, brings their pro gear, uses their flash, texts during toasts, and all the other countless things we have seen people be so bold to do, they are taking money away from the bride and groom’s well sought out, worked hard for investment of a wedding photographer that is able to technically capture all the images and the emotion of the day. Kinda hard to do with all the device and SLR nonsense.

When was the last time you PRINTED anything you took on your iPhone? Was it in focus? Were those red/white flash eyes in the picture?
This is a completely off the top off my head rant. It’s just been bumming me out. I love my couples and want the best possible images from their wedding day. Smiling faces trumps the hell out of the back of a cell phone any day!

Remember, when you are invited to a wedding as a guest, it’s an honor. They chose you out of so many others they could have asked. They want you to watch, listen, drink, eat, dance and laugh out loud. Just be a guest and let us photographers do the rest. Your Bride and Groom will be so glad you did!