Remember in the old days (before everyone had a cell phone attached to their hand) when you would go to a special occasion like a wedding or a prom or a birthday party, and the only people taking pictures were the hired photographers and the odd guest who had their own, nice camera. Remember how you would just enjoy the day and look forward to seeing the professional pictures a few days or weeks later, once they were developed? Well those days are certainly gone now that we all have a camera in our smartphones that we carry around with us daily, ready to snap that amazing picture of our child or spouse or even special occasion we’re invited to.
But are our cell phones ruining special occasions? This one professional photographer has definitely had enough, and he’s posted about his frustrations to facebook. Thomas Stewart of Thomas Stewart Photography posted a picture to his facebook page along with a lengthy rant about why he wishes all brides and grooms would have an unplugged wedding. He posts ‘Look at this photo. This groom had to lean out past the aisle just to see his bride approaching. Why? Because guests with their phones were in the aisle and in his way.’
He then writes that wedding guests taking pictures on their phones don’t take quality pictures anyway and end up being so immersed in their phone they’re not actually paying any attention to the ceremony!
‘Imagine you’re in the middle of your wedding ceremony. You’re elated. You decide to take a quick glance towards your guests as you’re sure they’re sharing these happy moments with you, possibly even shedding a tear of their own. What do you see? NO FACES AT ALL AS THEY ARE ALL HIDDEN BEHIND PHONES AND CAMERAS! I highly doubt this is the way you want to remember your wedding ceremony.’
Thomas definitely has a point. I know a few photographers and they’ve expressed their frustration at having to manoeuver around wedding guests and their cell phones to try and get the shots they were paid to get. After all, they’re there to do a job – the bride and groom don’t want to blow up one of your cell phone pictures to hang on their wall – they want a professional shot! I’ve always found it a bit tacky too when a guest posts the first picture of a bride and groom to social media before the bride and groom get the chance to do it – like they’re trying to be the first to post up a picture. But I also understand that people get excited at weddings and they just naturally want to take some pictures, and many brides and grooms enjoy seeing pictures immediately versus having to wait a few weeks for the professional shots.
You can read Thomas’s full rant below and let me know how you feel about cell phones at special occasions such as weddings and parties etc. Should we need to impose an ‘unplugged’ rule or are people simply forgetting their manners and should know better?
Right, I’ve had enough. I want to talk to you all about guests using mobile phones / cameras at weddings. I want to plead with you, and I’m going to make this very simple: brides and grooms, please have a completely unplugged wedding ceremony.
Look at this photo. This groom had to lean out past the aisle just to see his bride approaching. Why? Because guests with their phones were in the aisle and in his way.
This sucks. And i’m not blaming these guests in particular; I actually take a large amount of responsibility for this occurring. In the past I should have been more specific with my clients in explaining to them why guests should be told no photos. Well, from now on, I’m going to make a pretty big deal about it.
If you’re planning a wedding, please consider these points:
1. Guests with phones, iPads and cameras get right in your photographer’s way. They have no idea how to stay out of our way. They often ruin many of our shots. They will make our photos worse. You’re paying a photographer quite a bit of money; that means you want great photos. We cannot do our best work with people getting in our way.
2. These same guests will get in YOUR way. You will miss moments of your own wedding day because there’ll be an iPad in the way. You will miss seeing your partner’s face in the aisle.
3. The guests’ photos are usually crap. I’m sorry, but it is true. You can’t take great photos with your camera phone by leaning into the aisle of a dark church to photograph a moving subject. Hell, even lots of professionals have trouble with this.
And finally, the most important point:
4. Imagine you’re in the middle of your wedding ceremony. You’re elated. You decide to take a quick glance towards your guests as you’re sure they’re sharing these happy moments with you, possibly even shedding a tear of their own. What do you see? NO FACES AT ALL AS THEY ARE ALL HIDDEN BEHIND PHONES AND CAMERAS! I highly doubt this is the way you want to remember your wedding ceremony.
In your invites, tell everyone you’re having an unplugged ceremony: no technology, please, Write it on a chalkboard which guests can see as they arrive on the day. Tell your celebrant / minister / priest to tell the guests at the start of the ceremony. HIRE A PLANE TO WRITE IT IN THE SKY!
And guests, you’ve been invited to this wedding to share and celebrate the love that two people feel for each other. They didn’t invite you along to take photographs that they probably won’t really look at anyway. They want you there with them in heart and soul, and they want to see your tear-filled eyes as you form part of their wedding ceremony. You are witnesses to their marriage, so for goodness sake, watch them with your eyes and your minds, not your phones.
So guests please, for my sake, and for sake of the two people getting married, leave your cameras at home and put your phones / ipads away.