Wedding Photog Begs Guests To Put Their Damn Phones Away During Ceremony

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
Hannah Mbalenhle Stanley/Facebook

A wedding photographer’s plea for guests to stop taking phone photos goes viral

Just about any important or exciting life event has the potential to be ruined by inconsiderate folks and their obsessive need to document the action on their phones. How many times has the view at your kid’s orchestra concert, soccer game, or kindergarten graduation been obstructed by another spectator with their arm in the air, phone camera rolling? It’s beyond obnoxious even on a smallish scale.

Imagine it during a wedding — particularly when you’re the actual photographer being paid to document it.

That’s why Texas wedding and lifestyle photographer Hannah Mbalenhle Stanley took to Facebook recently to show people exactly why those iPhone photogs ruin it for everyone. Stanley was going about her business of capturing the most memorable moments at a client’s wedding — when an iPhone artist stepped right into her shot. A shot that, very sadly, can’t be recreated.

“To the girl with the iPhone… Not only did you ruin my shot, but you took this moment away from the groom, father of the bride, and the bride,” she writes.

According to Stanley’s post, the shot in question was a big one — the bride and her father walking down the aisle. My eyes are getting misty and I don’t even know this woman, so I can only imagine what this photo would’ve meant to her and her family. However, it was marred by a pair of arms and a phone, all eager to snap the very shot Stanley was trying to get.

“What exactly do you plan on doing with that photo? Honestly. Are you going to print it out? Save it? Look at it everyday?” she writes. “No. You’re not. But my bride would have printed this photo, looked at it often and reminisced over this moment as her dad walked her down the aisle on her wedding day.”

Wow. How very true are these words? And while a wedding is arguably one of the most important photographed events of a person’s life, there are so many situations where Stanley’s wise words can apply. How often do we actually print out and look back on the photos we scramble to get during occasions both big and small? Have we ever stopped to think about how much better these special moments would be if we weren’t trying so hard to meticulously commemorate them? Or how annoying we might be to those around us with our phone in the air blocking the view?

Which brings us to Stanley’s next point.

“But instead, you wanted to take a photo with your phone, blocking my view, and taking a photo that you will not use. Guests, please stop viewing weddings you attend through a screen but instead turn OFF your phone, and enjoy the ceremony,” she writes.


I sometimes find myself at important family events or celebrations/games/concerts involving my kids where I almost feel a panic when it comes to grabbing some great photos and video to look back on later. But if I stopped to really think, I would realize that simply being there in that moment instead of worrying that I’m going to miss the big moment might be preferable to watching it through the screen of my phone. How often do we actually look back on the pictures we feel are so important to take? Sometimes, sure. But usually, not so much. Especially at weddings, leave the photos to the pros. The happy couple will probably share the highlights on the ‘Gram and Facebook soon anyway, so there’s really no need to become an unwanted second shooter for the person hired to do the job.

Stanley closes out with a few words of advice. “You are important to the bride and groom, you would not be attending the wedding otherwise,” she says. “So please, let me do my job, and you just sit back, relax and enjoy this once in a lifetime moment.”

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