I’m not going to lash out or show a slideshow of a thousand images that illustrate my point. It’s sad but it’s completely unnecessary. It’s so much sadder that it is unnecessary because almost anyone I have talked to knows exactly what I mean when I ask about guests over-shooting at weddings. You see, ask any Photographer or Cinematographer/videographer and the front will be united and trust me when I say that the front between photo/video is generally not a united one. There is one thing that us photo/video guys and gals struggle with more than settings, lighting, timing and each other etc… And that is the sheer number of guests these days that refuse to simply be in the moment!
As a bride and a groom and family of brides and grooms, you all spend countless and sometimes thankless hours planning the perfect day up to and including who you choose to document your day via images, motion and audio. We love the trust you place in us. It is the singular driving force behind my studio. I pride myself on holding this trust carefully and delivering to you a finished collection of images that we MADE! Yes, we Made that image and all of the others included in that collection. We didn’t just pick up a camera and push a button, attach a flash and push a button, hit record and walk away…. No, dammit, it’s a MADE image. Meaning that the lens used was carefully selected for the scene, there is a why as to what aperture or shutter speed was set. The ISO rating and exposure comp set to ensure exacting results, light added or subtracted where needed, image framed with storytelling in mind, waiting for either the moment to unfold or posing you for a portrait. Either way, an image or film is Made in the the eyes of a professional.
I’m not going to post the hundreds of examples that could potentially embarrass my clients because that is not what this post is about. You can google unplugged wedding images and get plenty of samples to understand why this issue has become rampant. I’m finishing culling and editing a wedding today and my blood boils every time I hit the delete button or use the crop function to eliminate a guest who felt that his position should have been directly opposite of mine. Meaning now Mr wanna be photog, you are in all of my shots. I have parted ways with at least one second shooter for committing this crime. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever and when I say ever I mean EVER place yourself in the direct line of sight of the primary photographer or cinematographer shooting that day. It’s a rule that enables us to work as a team, shoot with MAKING images in mind based on content rather than precariously framing each other out of images that would have otherwise been great. These guests at your wedding didn’t get the memo… They think they are doing you a great favor by shooting your wedding and giving you the images. They don’t understand that what they are doing is hindering the people that you have paid THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of dollars to actually shoot your wedding.
I’m not saying that this is a new problem with guests taking pics at weddings. The guest taking pics with phones, ipads, point and shoots etc… have been around and will continue to be around shooting at weddings and although they can sometimes interfere they usually aren’t a problem. It’s the guests that feel the need to bring gear, SLR’s, lenses, flashes, handycams, flipcams, camcorders etc… and these particular guests are now jockeying for position to get the shot. So, this post is a plea. Please, please, please, please, please with sugar on top…. To all our current and future clients. I beg of you, please look into having an UNPLUGGED wedding. Your collection of images will benefit from it, you will benefit from it, we will benefit from it and believe it or not the guests who you have so thoughtfully invited to be a part of your memories that day will benefit from being forced to BE IN THE MOMENT…
What is an Unplugged Wedding you say? It’s a wedding that is planned the same way as what you are already doing except for one small personal request from you to your guests. You invite them to be fully present during the witnessing of your ceremony, vows, kiss, exit, reception, toasts, first dance etc… You invite your guests to experience the day without their cell phone, camera,video device. You invite them to allow the professionals the courtesy, respect and freedom to make the kinds of images and films that you are paying for. You invite your wedding planner if you have one to properly communicate this to the guests via signage, a small note in the invitation and countless other ways that only they can so brilliantly convey. So let’s embrace this please. Say we can =) I will love you forever and a day! I’m serious, I really will.