I’ve read various wedding photographers discussing the positives and negatives of guests and family using iPads and mobile phones to take photographs at a wedding. I saw a great blog about this recently by one of my favourite wedding photographers, Samuel Docker, and thought I would add my own feelings to this debate.
It’s only natural that guests and family want to take their own images to share on social media and maybe print out themselves and in all honesty most of the time I am fine with this. I can’t think of too many images where a guest has ruined an image for me by getting in the way of what I am trying to do, after all it’s a wedding not a photoshoot. It’s my job to work around the guests – not the guests job to work around me!
Sometimes though you just need to put the phone down. Using the image below as an example I’ll try and explain why having a screen in front of your face just spoils the moment, not just for you, the taker, but more importantly the person being photographed and also the photographer.
First a bit of background to the image. Charlene, the bride, was getting ready upstairs and was being helped by her Mum. She didn’t want the bridesmaids helping her as she wanted it to be a surprise for them and her Dad when she was completely ready. So we are all waiting in the kitchen for the big reveal and instead of getting ready to take a photo of Charlene entering the kitchen I thought I would capture the reactions of her Dad and bridesmaids. At this point I turn to them and noticed that the bridesmaid on the left was holding a phone in front of her face. Now normally I wouldn’t say anything but this time I asked her if she wouldn’t mind putting her phone down and luckily she agreed. Just then Charlene entered the kitchen and I captured the wonderful image below.
So here’s why having a screen up to your face spoils the moment:
By having the screen up to your face and focusing on photographing your friend you’re not completely present in the moment, you’re not giving all your attention. This is one of your best friends, in a once in a lifetime moment, she wants to surprise, delight and dazzle you. She doesn’t want to see the back of a phone! She wants to see your reaction, see your face light up with wonder; she wants to see your mouth wide open in absolute raw unbridled astonishment!
Along with some of the reasons above it also spoils it for the bride (and other people present) because, let’s face it, most people don’t like being videoed or photographed, she’ll feel slightly uncomfortable, awkward, uneasy, she won’t be her natural self, she may keep her emotions slightly in check. This is the moment her father sees his little girl for the first time in her wedding dress. They are about to give each other one of the most meaningful hugs they have ever given, why do anything that could possibly spoil that.
Because if the bridesmaid had had a screen in front of her face I wouldn’t have caught probably my all-time favourite candid moment. BOOM.