Photography at Your Wedding – Unplugging the tech.
I went to a friend’s wedding recently. We’d discussed the chances of me being their wedding photographer and talked about the logistics and what they wanted to get out of their wedding photography. We’ve known each other for years, and I’m a Surrey Wedding Photographer so it seemed like the natural way to do things, but in fact we both decided early on in the process that me coming to the wedding as a guest was actually the thing that we both wanted. I said something like Even if I’m not going to do the photography at your wedding, I’ll probably still take some pictures, and we left it there, and I was relieved and liberated!
Sure I would have loved to photograph them, but I really just wanted to hang out and watch the proceedings without having my work head on. (I did realise on the day that I was taking notes with a mind to understanding a wedding more from a guest’s perspective, so I’ll admit that I never completely managed to switch off!). To be fair, I did have a great time, and enjoyed a few glasses of something pink, though I’m not exactly sure what it was ;)
As it turned out, I didn’t take any of my cameras other than my iPhone, and even then I only took a few pictures.
They had, of course, hired a professional photographer who seemed to have everything under control, so I really thought I’d leave her to it and eventually get to see the professional wedding photographs when the summer fizz dies down.
And this reminded me of a couple of things.
I’ve been a Surrey wedding photographer for a while now. When I started out I was still shooting film, then converted to digital proclaiming “Film is Dead“, then back to incorporating film into my workflow and settling on shooting both side by side. (Now, again, I exclusively shoot Digital. I’ve got film out of my system, at least for wedding photography. FWIW it’s Fuji X cameras all the way). The technology has changed and matured over the last 10 years, and now everyone can get their hands on awesome cameras that produce professional looking results. Cameras on your phone!
It’s amazing and I love the fact that people are engaging in visual media and pushing creativity forward.
Your guests will bring their cameras to your wedding. It doesn’t any more, but it really used to wind me up when I’d see someone with a DSLR at a wedding that I was booked for. That still happens by the way, though it has died down perhaps due to the fact that your iPhone will fit into your pocket or your girlfriend’s clutch bag, so why take anything else?
Well it’s all fine by me, but it can still cause a few little problems on your wedding day, and there are a couple of things that you can do about it:
1. You’re Booking a Professional Wedding Photographer for Photography at your Wedding.
He’ll capture your most amazing day in the best possible light. You trust him and you’ve resolved not to worry about the photography being intrusive or a struggle. It’s all under control, and pre-wedding plans and meetings have happened so that timings and logistics don’t need to be discussed on the day.
Your guests, and family however, don’t know your photographer so well. It’s very common for me to find myself politely explaining to the mother of the bride (for example) that we have a shoot plan that has been discussed and I’m not just making it up by guesswork and blind hope! Once people know that it’s all under way they can relax more and in turn not stress you out. Talk to your family, especially, before the wedding, just to let them know that we’ve got it covered and that they can sit back and enjoy the ride.
2. Tell all your friends!
They’re all really excited about your wedding. Some of them are making a weekend out of it and having their own mini break. They want to take some pictures of you – everybody’s proud and there to support you. But they might not know what to expect, or what surprises you have in store. They might not know just how organised you are and how much energy you’ve put into finding the right photographer for your wedding. They might not know how prepared we are and how we’ve already done our pre-wedding ‘Together’ shoot and got to know each other over that last year.
You can easily suggest to your guests that you want them to relax without sounding like you’re a bit nuts. Maybe a post on Facebook, or even a round robin email saying “Hey everybody – just to say we’re going to great lengths to make it easy for you to leave your camera at home. Our photographer is Awesome(!) (uh….thangewVeryMuch) and you’re gonna get to see a whole load of pics from our wedding soon after the day. We can’t wait to show you!’ – you get the idea.
People will still bring cameras, but they just might not break their ankle trying to get ‘the shot’ that I’ve already got. Or my favourite, they might say to themselves “I think I’ll leave it to the professional photographer to get a great picture of the bride walking down the aisle with her dad” rather than standing up in front of me trying to snap that particular special moment!
I loved it when a groom announced just before his speech that he and his lovely new wife were respectfully asking that no pictures at all from the wedding were to be posted Facebook. They’d supplied everyone with a CD in a stamped addressed (to them) envelope so that people could send a more considered set of pictures. Done.
It might not be for you, and their guests may not have liked it, but it’s what they wanted, and once he’d said that everyone had to respect it. Can you imagine being the ONLY person to post all of those slightly quirky pictures to Facebook after being told not to?
I’m not expecting people to not take their cameras or phones or whatever to your wedding. I think people should.
But having experienced it from both sides I can really see the benefits of taking control of the culture of taking pictures before the wedding kicks off.
As your photographer, I get you less distracted, more relaxed and simply more natural. You can enjoy the wedding reception even more, and ultimately your guests get to spend more quality time with you.