Or How to be a Great Wedding Guest.
Alright – disclaimer, I am only looking at this from a wedding photographer perspective, so I’m not going into things like getting intoxicated, getting into a fight, showing up late, complaining about everything, wearing white, answering photo calls, texting during the ceremony, etc. I’m only going to talk about the things that make it difficult for me to provide my clients the best service and images possible.
This first one has gotten much worse in recent years.
We’ve all seen them; the wedding guests who seem to think the only reason for the wedding is for them to get good images with their cell phone or whatever small camera they happen to bring. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with guests taking pictures with their cell phones (though there is a growing trend for couples to have electronics free weddings where they requests the guests leave all electronics at home). What I have a problem with are the people who will jump right in front of me to take pictures.
It’s reached the point where you can count on at least one or two people jumping in the aisle to shoot images of the bride. Now so far I have not had a single couple tell me they wanted your backside in the images of the special moment of the bride coming up the aisle.
Image from a wedding in Bedford Ohio.
Next is the Uncle, Aunt, sibling, friend, etc who thinks they are a wedding photographer. This one will not only shoot over the pro’s shoulder as they set up and shoot their signature images, they will watch you set up the image and them jump right in front of your camera to snap a few shots themselves. Even worse, they will photobomb and put themselves in the image the pro is trying to shoot.
Trust me on this one, the couple wants you there as a guest, not a photographer.
Image from a wedding at Notre Dame College in South Euclid Ohio with the reception at the Radisson Hotel & Suites in Eastlake Ohio.
Third are the people who want to tell the pro what images to shoot, how to pose the subjects, etc. Before a wedding I typically meet with the couple (or just the bride) a few times to work out what kinds of posed images we are going to shoot to supplement the photojournalistic, capturing the day images that we do. And I also have an assistant there to help with posing, lighting, seeing hair that is out of place, etc. I also have a person designated by the couple to be my go to person for getting the right people in the images (and to help check hair, clothing, etc).
While I appreciate your interest in helping, sometimes it can start getting into the “too many cooks in the kitchen” problem.
Again, I really don’t mind people taking pictures at weddings. It’s only when they start to interfere with my ability to deliver the high quality images that my clients expect that I have a problem.
So now a word to the wedding couple, you can help limit this at your wedding. Here are some things you can do:
Put a notice in your wedding program that you would appreciate no photography during your ceremony. And instruct ushers to remind guests that the couple has requested no flash photography at the ceremony and for them to please stay out of the aisle during the ceremony.
You can also ask your DJ to not invite everyone up to take pictures of the cake cutting, etc. People will do it anyway, but it may cut down on the numbers.