A wedding photographer posted a photo to Facebook last week that shows exactly why it’s so frustrating when people won’t put their camera phones away at weddings: they’re in the way.
Photographer Thomas Stewart posted a rant to his Facebook page, after missing one of the most important moments for a photographer to catch at a wedding ceremony. The wedding guests were essentially forming a visual barrier between the bride and groom as she was walking down the aisle. So instead of getting an photogenic, unobstructed view of a bride walking toward her groom — he got this:
Here is the moment where the bride and groom are supposed to be lovingly gazing at each other, anticipating the momentous, life-changing vows they are about to take. It’s the moment when most people in the audience shed a tear – it’s filled with emotion, anticipation, and love. What’s wrong with this picture?
The freaking wedding guest are blocking the groom’s view, that’s what. Because they just had to capture this amazing moment on their camera phones.
In his rant, Stewart urges couples to have an “unplugged wedding” — one where hand-held devices are not welcome: “In your invites, tell everyone you’re having an unplugged ceremony: no technology, please, Write it on a chalkboard which guests can see as they arrive on the day. Tell your celebrant / minister / priest to tell the guests at the start of the ceremony. HIRE A PLANE TO WRITE IT IN THE SKY!”
Wedding photographers are not cheap. They have a specific skill set: it’s one that allows them to anticipate and capture the moments that most people won’t see. A wedding is filled with those moments, and a photographer needs to be able to navigate a crowd without obstacles, so the bride and groom can have those beautiful moments recorded. It’s nearly impossible to do when the photographer is surrounded by a roomful of people who also think they’re photographers because they happen to have a phone with a 10 megapixel camera and some fancy filters.
I was a professional photographer for years, and a wedding photographer for a very short time. I honestly just couldn’t handle the stress of it all. It’s a job full of expectation — there is no room for error. People expect their wedding photo album to be perfect: it’s essentially an heirloom. It will be in their family, gazed at by future generations. It’s why wedding photos are so expensive, and also why the guests need to get out of the f**king way.
Stewart reminds guests, “you’ve been invited to this wedding to share and celebrate the love that two people feel for each other. They didn’t invite you along to take photographs that they probably won’t really look at anyway.” This would also eliminate the completely oblivious act that some guests engage in: posting photos of the wedding to social media before the bride and groom do. This is akin to posting a photo of someone’s new baby before they’ve had the chance to. Don’t do it. It’s beyond rude.
If you’ve been invited to a wedding, unless the bride and groom have specifically requested you to snap some photos – put your phone away and enjoy the moment. At the very least put it away during the actual ceremony. As Stewart says,
“You are witnesses to their marriage, so for goodness sake, watch them with your eyes and your minds, not your phones.”