Hi! I plan to write blogs about the weddings I capture, but I also want to blog about issues that are relevant to brides and grooms, particularly with how they relate to photography.
A few weeks ago, an Australian wedding photographer called Thomas Stewart wrote a passionate rant, which went semi-viral, about guests using smartphones and iPads during weddings ceremonies to take photographs. He was angry, in that typically Australian way, that guests are often so eager to document the whole wedding that they get in the way of the professional photographer, each other, and even the ceremony itself in order to get their photos. The problem of course is that, if everyone is doing it, it can ruin the event for other guests, and even the couple themselves (he even mentions people standing in the aisle during the ceremony)!
Now, nobody is saying that weddings should be mobile photography free (that’s part of the fun, right?), but perhaps we all need to be reminded that it’s hard, as a guest, to properly enjoy, and take part in, a ceremony when you have a smartphone in front of your face.
Speaking from personal experience, it can be difficult when you’re trying to take a picture, and a guest leans in front of you to take their own picture, and ruins your shot. As a wedding photographer, you are being paid by the couple to document their day, and your work can often be disrupted by people whose pictures won’t look anywhere near as good, or be as valued by the couple.
I don’t want my first blog to be a rant, so I also want to describe the positive experiences they can bring! It’s interesting over the last few years just how much smartphone technology has changed weddings, and the way we interact and socialise with each other. Smartphones are here to stay, and they are a good way of interacting the world, describing our experiences, and communicating with our friends. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are a great way of making a sort of journal of our lives, and long may it continue.
I have found that the best way to deal with this as a photographer is to embrace it. As I use a photojournalistic approach, I find that when people are occupied with taking their pictures, they aren’t as aware of the photographer, so you can often get great shots, when they’re not feeling self-conscious. You can also catch moments where people are looking through the shot they’ve just taken, and their smiling or laughing is really beautiful to capture. Another thing I occasionally do is take a picture of someone’s phone screen as they take the shot, or of them as they take it. Adding another layer to the document of the day.
So, wedding photographers, let’s try not to get too upset about camera phones – they’re here to stay, so why don’t we embrace it as best we can? Brides and grooms, it might be a good idea to point out to guests that it’s best not to get in the professional photographer’s way, and that they should maybe avoid pictures during the ceremony – so that you get the best pictures you can. Ultimately, we all love photography and catching great images, so let’s try and do it together!