iPhones at Weddings – Should We or Shouldn’t We?

Camera phones / iPhones at weddings. We’ve all seen guests use them. But do they really need to?

cell phone at wedding ceremony

We’ve all seen this Microsoft commercial. You know the one where all the wedding guests have their camera phones out during the ceremony, and everyone ends up in a big brawl.

Sure, it seems funny, but in reality, this is becoming a big headache for the wedding industry – and it’s not a make-more-money scheme to prevent anyone else but the hired photographer from taking pictures so guests have to shell out money to purchase photos either.

No one wants to prevent Aunt Sally or your BFFs from taking pictures at your wedding. But . . . very real issues can crop up when other people decide to take pictures at someone’s wedding.

Handling wedding guests with camera phones so that the privacy and security of the wedding events is preserved, not to mention preserving the sanctity of the wedding ceremony, and provide non-interference for the professional photographer to whom you’ve paid a lot of money for your wedding pictures, is a growing challenge.

Unfortunately with the increase of better technology which is supposed to make our lives better and easier – the problem has gotten worse! The proliferation of camera phones and other devices has made taking – and sharing – pictures so much quicker and easier that people don’t stop and think if they should be taking a picture right now.

I asked Jennifer Gilman with Mark Garber Photography for her thoughts on camera phones / iphones at weddings. Here are her comments:

1. Underneath it all, what bothers us the most is the fact that the vast majority of people never print or even download the photos taken on their phones. While an official study or poll hasn’t been conducted yet, it’s been estimated that fewer than 30% of people print their cell phone photos. In this digital era, cell photos get uploaded to instagram, Facebook, etc. where they get instant gratification, but then disappear into cyberspace forever. Good stats on those numbers: http://www.buzzfeed.com/hunterschwarz/how-many-photos-have-been-taken-ever-6zgv

Our thoughts are this: As professionals who are there to ‘document’ and ‘archive’ an event to be cherished and viewed by generations of family members, it’s extremely annoying and detrimental to get once-in-a-lifetime moments ruined by a wedding guest who just wants to just update their Facebook status. Isn’t that like saying to the bride, “I know this is a big day and all, but my instant gratification on social media is far more important.’

Technology and Your Wedding Day

2. From a professional photographer’s view it can ultimately hurt your creativity and what you deliver to the client. Two common issues that occur are slowing down the day’s timeline and reducing creativity. First, guests with cameras/phones are always slow. They never have their camera turned on, set in the right mode, flash turned on, etc. and therefore say “I want this photo, but I need to stop everything while I get my camera figured out.’ They then take minutes to take the photo. Most count to 3, snap, look at the photo, and then try to take another. This takes minutes, while a pro would take seconds. Repeat this process with a hundred guests and it gets tedious and slows down the day. Second, every so often we get the ‘stalker’ guest. The one that feels compelled to follow us everywhere and photograph over our shoulders all day. This has to be the equivalent of a heckler to a comedian…basically someone there to just give you grief all day. These pesky stalkers instantly change our moods, which in turn effects our creativity, patience and ultimately our end product. While we have things in our contract to help prevent this, it still happens and can make for an awkward and annoying situation on the wedding day for both us and the bride and groom.

3. People have a ‘flash or smile limit.’ Brides and grooms don’t know this because most have never done an 8-10 hour photo shoot before their wedding day, but everyone reaches a “I’m tired of looking and smiling at the camera’ moment. By the time the reception hits, I can see the weary look on brides and grooms’ faces as they are stopped for the millionth time for a photo op by a guest. You do get very tired of having a camera in your face all day and it’s only gotten worse with the increased use of cell phones. And again, what’s the point if they are ultimately going to fade away into digital dust.

4. There is a time and place for everything. Turn the phone off. Unplug from the world and enjoy the presence of the people in front of you. Relish in the moment and enjoy what is around you. Be involved in what is happening and not be partially present as you try to figure out your phone/camera and then upload to the Internet.

Thanks Jennifer for your insight!

If you feel that cell phones or other electronic devices will be a problem, I suggest putting a notice in your wedding program that states that the ceremony is an “unplugged” event. Reinforce this request by asking your officiant to remind the guests to silence their electronics. Also post signs at the entrance to the ceremony or by the guest book asking people to refrain from using electronics.

Be sure to visit Mark Garber Photography for your wedding photography needs!

Hearts, Joy, Love!

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If you have questions, or are looking for ideas, contact me at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

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