Posted by starseedphotography on July 22, 2012
I wanted to share my thoughts on something that, even as a fairly new wedding photographer, I quickly am seeing as something worth bringing to the table: The idea of the “unplugged” wedding. A great article was published a while back in offbeat bride, You can find that article HERE, I strongly suggest having a read, it’s a very insightful article. It seems there is a lot of talk of this issue everywhere lately, no big surprise considering the accessibility of both cameras, cameras phones, and the vast amounts of ‘hobbyist’ photographers out there.
I thought I would share some of my own thoughts in response, as right now I have the unique position of being both a wedding photographer, and a bride-to-be, so both sides of the spectrum are very visible right now, and I will never have the chance to get this perspective again.
The obvious points are that as a wedding photographer, too many guests with cameras just flat out ruin my shot. I’ve had several “epic” moments thwarted by a random head/camera popping into my shot, thereby ruining the image. Why does this matter? Well, the bride and groom have carefully selected their photographer out of the vast selection available, as the person who is going to capture their most important day to date. They’ve also likely invested a large amount of money to do so. This person also has only ONE CHANCE to get the shot required at that millisecond when it happens. It’s understandably a fair bit of pressure to be under. So, when a random guests all of a sudden jumps into your photo at the last second, that’s it, there is no getting it back. I’ll tell you also, that when I do get to go to a wedding as a guest, my camera never makes an appearance during the ceremony (or the first dance, or the cake cutting, etc. etc). For one, I know all too well the anguish it would cause the paid photographer to have me trying to capture “the shot” and in their way. And two, I want to enjoy the moment; if I am attending the wedding as a guest, it means this couple is obviously very special to me. I want to savor every second of them exchange their vows, and be present emotionally as well as physically. You simply cannot do that while staring down at the back of your camera. I’ve told my very close girlfriends that I simply will not shoot their weddings, because I would not be able to fully enjoy and be “present” if I am working. I encourage you to ask the same of your guests. Ask them to put down their cameras/Iphones/DLSR’s and just BE THERE. Your photographer will catch those fleeting moments so everyone can look back on them, and I assure you those moments will be twice as precious, and twice as stunning when all your guests’ attention is focused soley on the two of you. It is for this reason that all of my wedding packages include the digital collection - you really can share every single photo with every single loved one if you wish. If you decide to commit to cutting of the cameras during the ceremony, just be sure that you share those precious images with everyone, so they have the memories to keep too.
Now, as a bride-to-be myself, I have a few more reasons why I too will be asking for a no-camera’s ceremony. As mentioned before, I truly want my guests full attention. My ceremony will last but 15 short minutes, and in that time I want the full attention and emotional presence of everyone in attendance. I’ve hired a flat-out amazing photographer, and I don’t worry for a second that she will not catch what matters most. She is the best, I have confidence in her and her skills, end of story. When she does pan the crowd of our closest friends and family, I want to see their FACES, not their CAMERAS. Those are the moments that will last a lifetime for me - the look on someone’s face, not an device stuck in front of their heads, those are the moments that as a bride I cannot see during the ceremony and want to be able to look back on. The other big reason (and yes, call it being vain, but it is what it is): With the onslaught of social media outlets (which I love and am so thankful for, don’t get me wrong), your photo is likely to be posted in twelve places online before you’ve even signed your wedding decree. Which photos would you rather be plastered all over the internet for people who couldn’t make it to see? The one that is blurry, poorly lit with you blinking in it, or the image with dreamy light that is a crystal clear and has been carefully selected to ensure that you are looking fabulous in it? Does this mean guests cannot bring their cameras out EVER? No, not at all - I absolutely want everyone to bust out their cameras during the reception, take those party photos and take photos of everyone having fun, I’d love to see the different perspectives of the dance. But during the “ceremonial” parts of the day, I’d prefer that my loved ones be present with us and let my fabulously talented photographer do what she does best!
Ben and I were at a City and Colour concert back in the fall, and at a certain point in the evening, Dallas Green announced that for his next song he wanted everyone in the building to put their phones down. I imagine he was looking out into a crowd of little rectangular specs of light up until then in his set. He said “we are always so busy documenting every second of our lives to show off to everyone else that we forget to actually be there for those moments. For the next song I want everone to put down their phones and just listen, be here.” I couldn’t agree more, and I’m just as guilty of it too sometimes. I think that there are sometimes in life when attention must be paid and we really do need to just stop and BE THERE. No phones, no video, no cameras. Just your eyes - the camera of your soul.
I hope that gives some insight, and perhaps some food for thought!