With wedding season in full swing I have been seeing a lot of blogs pop up about “unplugged weddings”. Here is one from the Off Beat Bride and another popular post from Ohio photographer Corey Ann (who I know through social media and mutual friends and is a great photographer and we generally agree on everything industry related – except this.) Corey’s post was picked up by the Huffington Post and many others and has been making the rounds in the photographer circles for a while now. A great article and worth a read, however, I disagree with it 100%. Every time I see a post about how great it would be to be at an “unplugged wedding” I cringe. Great for who?! The photographer? I guess. Certainly not the guest that wishes they could be instagramming your big day!
This is 2013. Technology is everywhere. It makes things easier, we can’t live without it and we all love to take photos and share them. The thing that irks me the most about most of these articles, is that it makes it sound like the professional photographer (such as myself) cannot function or capture images from your wedding, or the images will not be as good, if guests are allowed to use cameras and cell phones. Some photographers even put in clauses in their contracts saying “guest may not take photos” or something to that effect. Whenever I do anything for my business, I first look at it from a consumer point of view. How is the customer experience, how would I feel if this happened to me, etc. When talking unplugged weddings, as a client, I’d be annoyed if anyone tried to tell me I couldn’t snap some photos on my phone at a friend or family members wedding. Even more so if the photographer – who as much as we like to think we are so very important, the fact is we are simply a vendor at the event – told me to move out of the way or to stop taking photos. I could NEVER imagine telling someone to do that. Ever.
It is our job as photographers to get the image no matter what. Someone steps in our way? Move. Flash from a camera messing up your photo, well, that’s why my camera shoots 8 frames a second. I’ll have 7 other images to choose from and chances are, my flashes will screw up their images more than the other way around. I feel bad about that! During the ceremony, for the most part, the guests can’t move. I can. I can find another angle, I can move to the right or left I can kneel down or stand high, I have many options at my disposal to capture the images I am being paid (a lot of money) to capture. That is my job. It is my job as a photojournalist to read body language and know when someone is going to step in front of me. It is my job to know where the “action” is. It is my job to capture every moment as it happens and I don’t mind one bit if 100 other people are doing the same.
The guests are there to have fun and to celebrate the couple. They are there to live in the moment. In this day in age, living in the moment includes capturing every second with images and video clips with smart phones and ipads. I have zero problem with this. In fact, I encourage it. Embrace it. It’s not changing. Be creative with it! I have seen couples lately instead of asking guests to put the phones away, annoucing to everyone to please take photos and use hashtags on Instagram to share throughout the day. I LOVED it. I even shot a bunch of instagrams of the bride and groom with my iphone to add to the feed. Many ended up in the album. As a photographer, it even challenges me to be more creative. Heck now 100 people are using camera phones to capture every minute of the day, I better be able to make better iphone and regular images than they do. I’m the pro! Sometimes they give me great ideas or things to try or things I’d never even think of doing. Sometimes the guest images are better than mine and that’s ok! I love that they are getting people involved in creative ways and that everyone is having a great time doing it. I have seen cell phone charging stations setup at weddings. What a great idea so people don’t run out of juice! The list goes on and on.
Another thing I saw this week, that I absolutely love, is a company called Switchcam. They have a free app which allows your guests to upload video clips they have shot at your wedding and it creates an edited video clip of your day. Now, this in no way replaces a professional videographer, but is a very innovative way to see your wedding from the eyes of your guests. Check them out. Yet another great way to get your guests involved in your day. So I say, plug in your wedding and don’t worry about people watching you through a little LCD screen. They are having just as much fun (and probably more) documenting the memory as they would if they didn’t have a phone in hand.Email This Post