Should Wedding Guests have their Cameras Banned from your Wedding?

3rd January 2017

Well, no, that’s a bit rash!  However, what do you want from your guests and their iPad, iPhones and other assorted cameras etiquette on your big day?

This has recently become a rather heated discussion point. On the surface of it, there may not seem to be an obvious issue, but scratch that deceptively calm surface a little and you will begin to understand that it may be an point worth discussing.

First and foremost, have you considered how the proliferation of cameras and screens at recent weddings impacts on your connection to your cherished guests?

matt-light-photography-kyle_hannah-wedding_11 copyWedding guests have become incredibly intense and competitive in the last few years. Many  jostle for the best possible position to get a snap and then endeavour get it online first! Others are mad keen to get a shot at any cost… that will probably never be printed or shared in any meaningful way anyway. Some guests tend to feel a tad awkward at weddings and feel a little sense of purpose with a camera in their hands. All of this means that there is less chat, less banter and less appreciation of the actual wedding unfolding before their very eyes/screens. People become less connected with you, your wedding and each other and more connected to their screens and followers. Is this behaviour necessary?

Surely it would be best if guests put down their devices and talked, made the effort to meet new friends, old acquaintances and ensured your day had the best possible atmosphere!

No couple wants to be completely despotic and ban guests from producing their cameras and getting some photos at any point, but maybe some balance should be restored to your wedding! There’s always going to be an appropriate time for your friends and family to get a few shots with you, or of some of the big moments. It might be up to you to designate certain times or places where and when guests are asked to refrain, please, from concentrating on their cameras and simply to enjoy what’s happening in front or around them.

From the photographer and videographer’s perspective, there is a range of views from actively encouraging brides and grooms to consider this ban on tech to others who insist it’s just part of modern life and it must simply be worked around. But therein lies the big issue for us as professionals. There is a high standard of photographic art expected of us on the big day and quite frequently guests on an obsessive hunt for photos will crowd the aisle during the brides big entrance, compete with the photographer for attention during group shots and even [honestly] jostle with your paid professional to get the better shot. Whether this sort of behaviour is irritating or rude is hardly the point, we’re the professional, we have to deal with it. The primary point is that it does, very often impinge on the quality of your final photography product. For example, an increasingly common occurrence…we love capturing beautiful images of brides walking down the aisle with their Dad’s, but unfortunately, all too often now, we can hardly see one or the other because of all the guests stepping out into the aisle to see around other guests who’re doing the same thing, all brandishing big white iPads! If this sort of behaviour goes on all day it’s impossible for it not to have an impact on your final photos.

Hopefully, however it makes more sense now why some switched on couples are asking their guests, in advance, to make all or part of their wedding technology free…to encourage the best possible wedding experience for all.

Maybe you’re more than happy for people to shoot away and not at all concerned about the effect that might have on the final product, or possibly, you’re starting to recognise this as an issue. Either way, at least you can now see the issues involved and can make up your own mind on the photographic protocol on the day.