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    « When Moms Behave Badly | Main | Real Simple or Really Rude? »

    Photographer Blues and How it Affects You

    As a wedding planner and a part-time photographer, it always amazes me how completely inconsiderate and rude wedding guests can be. I understand that the guests might not know how rude and obnoxious they are, so that’s why I am writing this blogpost. On average the bride and groom might spend anywhere between $2000 and $4000 for their photographer (and depending on where you are in the country, even more). And even when a photographer makes it very clear to the bride and groom when it is “okay” and “not okay” for guest photography, they never really seem to get the message.

    Let me explain in more detail. When a couple hires me for their wedding photography, I make it very clear to them when guest photography is not permitted. Perhaps they don’t properly relay the message to their guests, because perhaps they feel that it is rude. But no matter what, it’s rude to the photographer NOT to pass this message along. I usually ask that there is no flash photography during the ceremony, and I don’t mind if guests take photos of the processional and recessional, but I prefer to have the ceremony left to the professionals. Not only is this beneficial to the photographer, but also to the couple and the officiant. Flash photography is not only distracting, but can seriously affect the quality and lighting of certain shots.

    Another thing that guests do that ruins photos, is get in the way. I cannot count the number of times oblivious guests step into my view, and completely block me from taking photos! On multiple occasions I’ve had guests step directly in front of me, while the bride is walking down the aisle! Not only have they possibly ruined that photo – but they might have completely prevented me from capturing that moment at all! I would love for that guest to trade places with me, when it comes to telling the couple why I didn’t get any photos of the bride walking down the aisle. I understand that the guests and family want great pictures too, but I am the one that the couple is paying to photograph their wedding. So quit wasting their money!

    And lastly the formal photography session after the ceremony is FOR US! NOT YOU! You know those two hours that are scheduled in between the ceremony and the reception. Those two hours are FOR US! NOT YOU! Please guests, do not follow us around, do not take pictures behind me, do not tell me how to take pictures, or “what would be awesome”.

    On numerous occasions, I’ve had multiple family members follow us into the park, and take pictures during the scheduled formal photography time. What’s most frustrating is when these guests start to direct the bridal party on how to stand, when to smile etc. Also, when you have a large bridal party and there are multiple camera’s taking photo’s, everyone’s eye’s look everywhere, instead of at me. This equals countless hours of editing, so that I can have one shot where’s everyone is looking at me. Bride/groom please tell your guests/family “NO!”. They can get copies – I promise!

    So please, be a good guest. Don’t be intrusive, or rude. And if you really want some of those photos that the professional photographer took, then wait until after the wedding, and ask the bride for a copy. This way you won’t run the risk of ruining the photos of the photographer and you can have a professional photo! It will probably look better than the photo you took with your little point-n-shoot camera anyways!

    Thanks, in advance.

    Your Disgruntled Photographer

    Reader Comments (4)

    My photographer was VERY clear about her no photo policy. I had it (nicely) printed in our programs + I had the officiant start the whole ceremony off with a politely worded remainder to "please be in the moment and put down your cameras and phones". I also asked my planner to quietly speak to guests who were trying to take photos. It worked great - only one person ignored it all (but at least didn't use flash and stayed in their seat).

    August 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCris of Kiss My Tulle

    Hey Cris,

    This is a great line, ""please be in the moment and put down your cameras and phones". Seriously! How many moments are we missing these days because we have to CHECK SOMETHING on our phones EVEN as our friends are walking down the aisle? Not to mention being much more important than the HIRED photographer as we use our camera or phone to snap photos while we step on the photographer to get the best shot!

    Thanks for your comment. I think it's great advice!


    August 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBitchless Bride

    I wish my most recent bride had read this article. She had an "open concept" wedding with no seating, which equaled no boundaries for the guests or their cellphones / cameras. I tried to be polite at first, but quickly realized I wasn't getting MY shots because of the iphone fence around the couple. I ended up pushing and shoving (at one point elbowing and pretended to trip) my way through the crowd during the ceremony, and had to literally step right in front of my own videographer to get the ring shot. For the "private session" I had literally had to yell "BRIDE AND GROOM ONLY!" about 10 times before I had 10 minutes alone with them; well, maybe 8 because we were interrupted twice. This was after a very long discussion about picture "helpers" staying outside of my professional space. Luckily, the shots I was able to get were good, although quantity definitely suffered a loss to quality. "I thought you said you were going to take 500 pictures?" Really? Check fb; before you were halfway down the asile 200 pictures were already posted as status updates. I recently read an article about requesting guests to check their camera's and cell phones at the door before an event.... I think it's going in my next contract, if for no other reason than to prevent any more pictures of my ass taking a picture on fb timelines everywhere. If I have to start wearing spanx to shoot a wedding, my prices are going up.

    What about all the "guests" using their Iphones, Ipads, Androids and even professional dslr cameras to shoot video at the wedding? We have shots of family members on church altars filming when they should be sitting (they often show up in the shot of the groom's face looking tenderly at the bride); family members (who forget to turn their video cams and anyway don't have an external mic to record in the middle of all the noise) cornering guests for lengthy interviews; family "videographers" standing up in the center aisle blocking our wide shot from the back; and friends who HAVE to shoot the kiss, first dance, or cake cutting right in front of our cameras!
    I've asked planners to let couples know that since they've hired photographers and videographers they should tell their guests to please leave their gear at home and I've been told that wasn't possible.
    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let guests know that their not doing you a favor by thinking they have to capture the day. Let guests learn how to be guests so that professionals can do the job they were hired to do.

    January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

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