Mobile phone use and particularly guest photography is something of a controversial topic amongst photographers. It is also something for the happy couple to consider in advance too. Having shot both plugged in and unplugged weddings, I can see both sides of the issue. There are pros and cons for both which I’ve explored here, and share with you my take on the issue.
Plugged In Weddings
Most of us spend a fair amount of time on our devices these days, thanks to the joy that is the digital age. This isn’t a bad thing. We are more connected than we have ever been. Social media offers a fabulous way to keep in touch with people locally and further afield, to share news, special events and more.
Guest Photography Offers a Unique View
One of the pro points for the use of camera phones is that the happy couple is able to see their special day through the eyes of their guests. A candid view that enables the couple to see their family and friends enjoying the day, warts and all. This is something that some couples may miss out on if they consider unplugged weddings only.
Collect Guest Photography Effectively
Social media can be a great way to capture or collect these pictures so that you and everyone else can see them. You wouldn’t have the option to do this at unplugged weddings. Setting up a Facebook group for people to upload their photos is one way to do this. Using Instagram hashtags is also a great way to ensure that you don’t miss out on any guest pictures. Make sure that if using a hashtag that you let your guests know what it is early enough. That way any hen/stag or other pre-wedding event pics may be stored in the same place.
The biggest benefit of unplugged weddings is that your guests are there and they are present. They see the first married kiss, don’t miss a word of the vows and see the cheeky grin and wink the page boy will no doubt give the guests when walking down the aisle. Your guests are able to be fully immersed in the magic of your day, the day that so much time and planning has gone into.
The absence of ill-time notifications and a jaunty ringtone can make all the difference to the ambience of the day too.
Unplugged Weddings: In Conclusion
My opinion on whether guests should be using their mobile phones or other devices to capture the day is that it is down to the happy couple. There are, as above, pros and cons to both and I genuinely believe that for your special day to be perfect that it should be exactly what you want it to be.
As a photographer, I understand and sometimes share some frustrations with other wedding photographers who have had magical moment pictures lost due to guests jumping in front of the couple to take their own shots. Part of the work I do with couples before an event is to discuss how they want the day to go and plugged/unplugged is part of this conversation.
It’s easy enough to integrate digital time/guest photography into the day if needed or wanted. This can be done so as to restrict photography or filming at key times. Similarly, the happy couple can easily incorporate no digital “rules” into their day if that is what they prefer. What I find tends to work best in weddings where the day is not completely unplugged is a balance between the two. This means mobile use via “downtimes”, during mingling and so on but everything away or shut off during key moments, i.e. the ceremony, speeches and so on.
Each to their own is how I look at this issue. I am happy to advise and then work with couples to make sure that whatever they decide on the unplugged weddings issue is incorporated into my own way of working. At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying the most magical wedding day in the very best way.