These days, cell phones seem to have taken over as people’s primary tool for taking photos. Whether on vacation, at concerts, or just taking photos of our lunch, our pocket sized phones are a more feasible option compared to quality, and sometimes bulky, cameras. All of the photo editing and sharing apps that can be found on our smartphones make them all the more appealing to use.
However, it does beg the question: is using your camera phone at certain events, such as weddings, always appropriate?
I came across an article the other week about “Unplugged Weddings,” something I had heard a bit about but never really read into. The author was a professional wedding photographer and along with her opinions on the subject, she included her own photo examples of how some professional wedding photos can be ruined by the use of camera phones and flash photography by guests. The premise was essentially, guests at an unplugged wedding wouldn’t be permitted to use their phones or cameras during the ceremony and/or the reception in order to allow the professional to more easily and effectively do their job. Now at first, I was hesitant to agree with her, mostly because the thought of many different angles and views from those invited would provide more photos that may catch moments the photographer didn’t. I thought it was cute that some weddings would provide disposable or vintage cameras for the guests to use.
After thoroughly reading her argument and seeing some of the disaster photos she used as examples, I was actually inclined to agree. Even deciding that I wanted a fully unplugged ceremony and flash photography-free first dance for my own wedding.
Here’s a breakdown of what I thought to be the most convincing points of the article:
- Guests using flash for their photos can completely wash or white you out in the professional photos by accident. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m pretty pale as it is, so the thought of that is terrifying to me!
- Someone may inadvertently, or even purposely, block a shot the photographer is trying to get. First looks when the bride enters the aisle, the first kiss, or a tear shed by a parent are some of the sweetest photos that I want to see when my wedding is over. How awful it would be if they got ruined by a guest standing in front of the photographer or competing with them for the shot.
- When walking down the aisle, who wants to look at cameras, ipods, and phone backs instead of your friends and families faces? I sure don’t. Personally, I don’t even feel as “in the moment” when I’m trying to take photos, as opposed to just watching and really being there mentally without distractions or trying to get that perfect shot.
- Wandering eyes in group photos when multiple people are taking pictures at the same time. It looks particularly silly when everyone in your photo is looking towards a different camera, especially in professional photos. You’re paying quite a bit of money to get the highest quality memories from your photographer! Why chance ruining them?
These are a few of the many reasons I’ll be asking guests to lower the cameras and take everything in without a lens to look through. I encourage any and all engaged couples during their wedding planning, to do a little research into unplugged weddings or even just read the article I referenced over at the Huffington Post right here.
All photos shown in this post are by Corey Ann Photography.