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How to Handle Wedding Guests as a Photographer

Weddings can sometimes be events where official event photographers and guests of the event get into each other’s hair. The availability and affordability of DSLRs, mobile phones, and tablets give people the urge to take photos at any given moment. Whether it is in the form of daily selfies or trying to capture every single personally memorable moment, nothing is sacred anymore – including the wedding day itself.

Some guests are not aware of the ethics of photographing during an important event. You probably will meet a few who don’t care and will insist on taking photos regardless of what you say. If you’re the wedding photographer, what can you do in such situations without appearing rude?

Let an experienced location photographer share a few options you can use for your next wedding photography project.

Talk to your client

Wedding photo and video packages require a significant investment. Your clients expect you to deliver the products worth the price they pay for. As early as possible, let your client know about your concerns about guests taking photos with DSLRs, camera phones, or both.

Clients can be just as oblivious as their guests. By informing your clients of potential issues ahead of time, you could come up with a strategy on how to handle them. One of the more common methods is going for an unplugged wedding.

Opting to go unplugged

As the name implies, an unplugged wedding involves asking all guests to turn off all digital devices from the moment when the ceremony starts until after the reception. With no other individuals carrying a camera phone, tablet, or camera, the official event photographers are free to roam around and do their work. There is no need to worry about devices triggering the photographer’s flashes, missing key shots, or having devices obstruct the frame.

The unplugged option can be a win-win situation and not just for the photographers but also the clients themselves. By specifying that family, friends, and guests to not use their devices during the event, people can focus their attention on the couple. With everyone focusing their attention at the front (where they should), this also makes it easier for the photographer to take photographs of the crowd.

Weddings are for inviting the people most important in the couple’s life. By going device-less for a few hours, they can be in the moment and spend more time with the people around them. Letting the rest of the world know about the event can wait until all the festivities are over.

Allowing guests to take photos

There are also couples who enjoy taking photos or having their pictures taken. As such, they may want to encourage their family, friends, or guests to take as many pictures as they want. However, there are some caveats to this situation.

For one, having no restrictions on when and where guests can take pictures means they might always be behind their devices. The official photographer may not be able to get good candid photos of them.

It is also possible that they may take pictures at inopportune moments. Such cases typically happen when the bride walks down the aisle and hands holding tablets or phones can be seen in the shot. As previously mentioned, their devices may also trigger the official photographer’s flash, making it more challenging to take good photos.

Find a middle ground

Some couples may want pictures of the event taken by their loved ones, and it is not a question of the quality of the photos. Given it is a social event, they want people to have fun as well.

Perhaps grandma wants a few photos of her granddaughter walking down the aisle. It could be the groom’s closest cousin who enjoys taking photos. Or an uncle who’s just testing out his new DSLR.

There are ways of getting around this predicament. Maybe the couple would be willing to restrict device use during the ceremony and for the group shots. Guests would be free to take their own photos during the reception.

Work with the client

Photographers need the couple’s approval and assistance in implementing a plan during the event. The same is true whether the couple wants to go unplugged, allow photos during the reception, or make it a free-for-all.

By discussing concerns early on, the couple can find ways of implementing their plans. For instance, they could include notes in the invitations if or when photographs can be taken during the wedding day. Chalkboards can also be strategically placed by the venue entrance to remind people about whether or not photos are allowed.

Some couples allow their guests to take and post photos of the wedding under certain situations. There are couples who ask guests to hold off posting until after the official main photographer or the couple has released the official photos. In some situations, guests are instructed to only post flattering photos of people or by using hashtags.

Wedding photographers don’t have to pull their hair out when dealing with guests armed with mobile devices. With these options, you can get better shots while keeping your clients happy at the same time.

AUTHOR BIO :- Stefanie Descheemaecker is the Studio Manager at Stu Williamson Photography at The Palm Jumeirah – Fairmont Hotel in Dubai. She has been with the company for almost 3 years and is the driving force behind the success of the business. A keen amateur photographer, Stef combines her natural creative eye with a strong business acumen to help Stu Williamson Photography become the most trusted and successful photography business in the UAE.

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