I read this article on WantThatWedding.co.uk last week, and thought I’d drop a few thoughts on the blog about it, because I found the topic – about banning all wedding guests from taking photos on your day – to be, in a word (well, two words) quite ludicrous.
You may want to check out the article above to see what they originally said, and then pop back over here. But, basically, it is a piece about how there is a growing trend to have ‘unplugged’ weddings: letting your wedding guests know beforehand that you do not want them to take photos on your day – and we’re not talking about just the ceremony, but actually banning them outright from taking pics throughout the entire wedding, actually including this ‘photography ban’ on the wedding invites!
The reasons for this, as stated in the article, are because guests with cameras can get in the way of the professional photographers’ shots, that the guests themselves are probably not really ‘present’ if they’re continually taking shots (and looking at the LCD screens), and that perhaps ‘less than flattering’ images of your wedding day may be posted on social media sites straight after…
In my opinion, though, guests taking photographs is part of the wedding day; the act of them using their cameras to capture various moments is actually a moment in itself – and thus deserves to be captured. Take the photo at the top of this post as an example, it’s a shot I took from a recent wedding, and captures the guests’ excitement and happiness as they all aim to get a shot of the cake cutting. You wouldn’t get this type of shot at all if you invoked a ban. You wouldn’t get shots like the one below, either, which all help tell the story of a wedding:
Talking of the cake-cutting as an example, although the professional’s shots are bound to be great, they will probably be from the one angle – whereas your guests will take shots from all over the place, and you’ll thus be missing out on all those different viewpoints if you don’t allow them to take any photos. Also, even though the pro will be with you all day, he/she still can’t possibly be in all places at all times; wouldn’t you look forward to seeing all the photos – and thus, moments – that your guests captured,as well asthe professional’s photos?
Of course, we don’t want guests with cameras to be in every shot with the bride and groom, and there are times when they can accidentally get in the way – but it is the professional photographer’s duty to let them know when this is happening, asking them to politely move out of the way – just for a moment or two – and therefore there just isn’t a problem of shots being ruined.
Anyway, photos of the bride and groom with other guests’ cameras included in the shot can sometimes be even better than without! Take, for example, the two shots below I took at a recent wedding: the top shot is a nice bride and groom candid, without any distractions, and it’s a nice photo. The bottom shot, however, includes more of the ‘scene’, including a guest’s camera on the right, and I think it’s even better than the top shot because of this. Not only does the included camera help to naturally frame the couple, but the shot tells more of a story because of it – and, after all, the excitement of your guests all wanting their own recorded memories of your day is an important part of your wedding, surely?
Registrars and vicars already make it clear to your guests hat no photographs should be taken during the cermony (apart from the pro, of course), so there shouldn’t be a chance of your actual vow photographs being ruined by a raised compact or iPhone – and so banning guests from using cameras the whole day, in my opinion, is not only totally unjustified, but I’d also say is rather obsessively controlling, and even a breach of basic human rights. OK, that last one may be going a little overboard, but could you really see yourself asking your second cousin not to take photos of her son enjoying the wedding breakfast, or asking your brother not to take shots of his new girlfriend, just because it was your wedding day…?
Anyway, it’s an interesting discussion, and I guess I’ve made my opinion on the matter pretty clear! So, I’ll leave you with another example of a photograph I like to take at weddings, which you wouldn’t get if you were ‘unplugged’, and which is still a part of your wedding day story: a shot of a guest taking a shot of me…