No Cameras, Please
This topic may seem like a no-brainer. Of course you respect your photographer— that’s why you hired him or her! However, respecting your photographer goes further than maintaining clear communication, attributing their work, and understanding their turnaround time (more on this topic in another post). Here, I’ll chat a little bit about unplugged ceremonies but also the issues with guests bringing DSLRs (digital single-lens reflex AKA full-blown cameras).
I feel very strongly about infringing on the rights of a wedding photographer because I think it’s a somewhat frequent problem but also one that goes unnoticed or unaddressed. We’ve all heard about unplugged ceremonies, which I personally love! Obviously, I don’t want to ban your girlfriends from taking cute pics and Snapchats while getting ready or busting out some moves on the dance floor. However, I do believe the ceremony should remain unplugged in consideration of the couple and the photographer.
Firstly, for the couple. They’re exchanging wedding vows and sealing a covenant more special than any other relationship. To honor them and the sanctity of what’s being performed, I think all guests should give their undivided attention to the bride and groom. Secondly, the photographer. The bride and groom has hired their photographer to uniquely capture their wedding day. The photographer is covering all the best angles, but those angles are definitely diminished a little bit when an iPhone is jutting out of the pew. Believe it or not, the bride might not actually want your floral Rifle Paper phone case (as cute as it may be) forever stationed in their first kiss picture.
Another way to respect your photographer is to be firm with their no DSLR policy in their contract. DSLR. The big, clunky camera photographers carry around all day, getting in an arm workout every time they raise their arms to take pictures. Occasionally, guests think their cameras are necessary in addition to a photographer’s. While Uncle Bobby may be a decent photographer, he’s probably not as good as the one you hired (otherwise, you would’ve hired Uncle Bobby, right?). Personally, I’ve shot weddings before where a guest’s camera flash has gone off in the background of my pictures, making for a random explosion of light during the first dance.
I do nottttt love confrontation. The last thing I want to be is rude, and I doubt any photographer revels in having to tell a guest to chill. A photographer is not wanting to get on your guests’ bad side and overall doesn’t want to appear as selfish or rude. HOWEVER. These are YOUR wedding pictures, and this is a day where you can just about have everything your way. Are you really wanting a random wedding guest pushing your photographer out of the way to capture a picture that they (no offense) might not even be capable of taking in the first place? I know your friends and family are absolutely ecstatic for you and may feel like they need to be in on the action, but just wait a few weeks, and you’ll see an entire wedding gallery filled with beautiful, priceless moments your photographer is exceptionally skilled at capturing.
As a recap, please don’t think I’m the one to ban cellphones or family pictures outside of what your photographer covers. A photographer is merely prioritizing the best interest of his or her couple in giving them the flawless, quality photos they deserve. Additionally, the photographer, bride, and groom all desire for the guests to have a splendid time, not glued to their cameras, feeling like they’re the only one who will see that sweet hug between the weepy, but proud mothers of the bride and groom.
The solution? If you’re wanting an unplugged ceremony, you’ve already seen those cute sign ideas on Pinterest. You should either hone your calligraphy skills or find someone to knock it out for you! To emphasize no DSLRs, you can also put the clause on a cute sign, add a small note on your wedding website, or include it on the back of the invitation. Avoid the problem altogether by addressing it so your photographer doesn’t have to!