Let’s think back a minute to a time before digital photography…a time when the only photos taken were in film. Remember attending weddings then? How many people were snapping photos? Generally the professional and then maybe one other family member who just LOVED photography. What about today—how many people are snapping pictures at weddings today? There is the professional—maybe even two professionals if there is a second photographer and then there could be a video team. That is potentially four professionals photographing the wedding. Not only do those professionals have to try and avoid each other in photos they have to try and avoid the sea literally of digital devices before them—the largest of which is the iPad. The iPad is the modern day sea monster. There is no avoiding it these days wedding photos with more people holding up devices than actually smiling and greeting the bride on her way down the isle—and the bride and groom on their way out of the ceremony. The only way to actually have people present and device free is to have an “unplugged wedding”.
I don’t know about you but I welcome the few opportunities where I have put my phone down for a few hours. Its so wonderful to be photographing a wedding, to be volunteering at the soup kitchen, or coaching field hockey when I literally do not use or check my phone. I do not get to attend that many weddings as a guest as I am generally working but I know that when I do attend I try to leave my camera at home and the only pic I might snap with my iPhone would be a photo of Adam and I at the reception. Call me a dinosaur for actually thanking the couple for letting me be present. How many of you have cell phone free dinner time? It is the best! It is wonderful to actually sit and have a conversation, to enjoy the silence, and to take in the moment. Let me talk from the professional photographer point of view for a minute about why it is so wonderful when you encourage everyone to have an unplugged wedding with you.
I mentioned this already but having iPads, phones, and cameras held out into the isle and above all the guests trying to get the photo of the bride walking down the isle, the kiss, the first dance, the now I present to you Mr. and Mrs. unplugged moment. What are they going to do with that photo? My camera is seeing each and every one of those devices instead of faces and many times they are sticking into the isle next to you.
All the other flashes firing in the room—often I am not even using flash but the everyday phones and cameras are and it really can ruin my photo to the point of no recovery. Not to mention often these devices throw a red focusing beam onto you and that is going to show up in my picture. Wandering eyes during group photos—family pics, bridal party pics, group pictures at the reception….in the essence of time I take 3 if people are not looking at my camera because they are looking at uncle bob’s it is ruining the professional picture which I am sure will come out better than uncle bob’s.
Maybe my greatest pet peeve is the people who interrupt the first dance. They get right in there or insist the couple look at their camera. I have 2 minutes to capture the moments that are happening between the bride and groom or father daughter or mother son and they are ruining that moment instead of just watching and enjoying it.
Picture this—the groom is awaiting his bride anxiously with 15 minutes to kill before the first look and he jumps on Facebook to see how many people have commented on his wedding day status….there it is a picture of his bride. Now he knows what he hair and makeup look like—or her dress and he wasn’t suppose to. I try to keep everyone who isn’t bridal party or immediate family out of the room for getting ready. They are not welcome to come in before the first look or ceremony. While I am taking timeless bridal photos there is always someone asking for her to look at them—it is messing with my mojo and taking up valuable time. Usually when someone does ask the bride for the photo six more cameras seem to materialize. Let us do our job 🙂 I promise it will be worth it!
This might sound silly but a professional is there to capture the moments and make you look the very best they can. All of these unfiltered photos are not only blurry and dark but they can often be very unflattering. Who wants to see those pictures before they see the professional ones or at all for that matter…I don’t want you to tag me if I look weird?!
The church has a no flash rule for a reason—yet there they go the sea of flashes firing while you kiss for the first time…we set our cameras to work within the best lighting available and now everything is completely messed up and we have a split second to adjust it before the kiss is over.
Most importantly of all—you can not live in the moment through the lens. Trust me! When I am photographing I am thinking differently than when I am just spectating. When I am itching to post that picture online I am not paying attention to what is going on. Encourage your friends and family members to actually enjoy the moment. Challenge them to sit through dinner with a few people they might not know and make conversation instead of burying their heads into their devices. Bring back romance—intimacy—and looking into people eyes for a wonderful wedding evening.
So if you are interested in an “unplugged wedding” here are some ways to ask your guests to enjoy your wedding with you. You can politely ask your guests ahead of time in the invitation. You can remind them again on the program at the ceremony. You can have the officiant announce it to the guests before the ceremony or right as it begins. You can put up a sign for people to see when they walk into the ceremony and you can Include it in the wedding website before hand. All in all it is your wedding and I do not think people will mind an hour or so without the internet.