Although weddings have become so busy with cameras and camera phones these days, on the whole it doesn’t bother me as a photographer, I usually work with it and sometimes actively encourage it. Then, there are the odd occasions where guests with cameras/iPhones take the edge off things.

guest with iphone

This particular iPhone was in the middle of the aisle, filming the whole recession of the bride and groom. It’s times like this that I have to get the big elbows out and barge forward, sadly I don’t have time to be polite and explain what’s going on but hopefully I will be able to catch up with the guest later in the day and apologise and explain why he was in the way.

Off-Beat Bride recently posted an article about having an ‘unplugged wedding’  asking guests to put down cameras and phones for the important bits so that the guests could be present at the wedding and appreciate what’s going on. One bride says “Philosophically, I don’t like the way digital cameras and camera phones have encouraged the sense that we need to ‘capture’ everything in order for it feel complete. I’d rather people simply watched and clapped and smiled and cried — and really listened and remembered, not from the photos they downloaded onto their computers, but from their own memories.” Fair point. At a recent wedding I shot, the bride spent most of the morning asking people who had taken shots on their iPhones not to put them up on Facebook etc until after the ceremony, she didn’t want anyone showing pictures of her to her new groom before she walked down the aisle.

From my photographic perspective, if a guest is glued to their phone/camera, I’m only going to get one of two shots: the double-chin shot of the guest looking down at the back of their LCD screen (affectionately known as ‘chimping’ because when you look, you go ‘ooh ooh ooh ooh’ like a chimp!); or the lens shot where the face is covered by a camera. Neither a good look.

One other thing I’ve noticed myself doing subconsciously recently (and have tried to stop) is as soon as I see a guest with a big camera (usually a new Mum or Dad with all the gear or a recently retired Uncle) I know that there’s no point trying to photograph them enjoying the day mainly because they will be stalking the bride and groom – their smart wedding dresses or morning suits all twisted up by bright yellow Nikon camera straps or shocking red Canon logos and camera bags. Fellow photographer and good friend Ian Johnson posted a picture on his blog about guests and iPhones, sadly fairly standard these days. An unplugged wedding would be a great thing to be a part of, as a guest, as bride and groom and as a novelty these for the photographer!