There has been quite a bit of discussion lately about unplugged weddings, that is asking the guests at the wedding to put down their iPhone / iPad / cameras and leave the photography to the professional hired for the job. The general consensus is that it’s a bad habit or that it ruins priceless photos which the professional would have taken. Update: as of my original writing of this article, the New York Times picked up on this issue as well.
As a professional wedding photographer myself, I have to deal with this issue on a weekly basis, and I still think the argument is wrong.
Guests, I honestly don’t care what you do. However, keep in mind that I also did not invite you to the wedding. It was the bride and groom who asked you to share their most intimate moment with them. By bringing a camera and using it, you are not only excluding yourself from THE moment in the hopes that you’ll take one good picture, but you create an emotional void where you (as a friend or relative) should have been as part of the wedding. You are absent from the very mission that was trusted on you: to be part of the collective celebration of the love of two people. If that’s OK with you, it certainly is OK with me – but maybe it’s not that OK with the bride and groom. Think about it.
Photographers, I can only say it this loud: GET OVER IT ! A good photographer is good in ANY environment, good or bad. We perform the same come rain or shine. And we always smile. So learn to be a professional. Get creative! I work routinely with other photographers and videographers; I don’t end up in their footage, they don’t ruin my shots, so it is definitely possible. In fact, I love guests with a camera as they make shots like this possible:
And if there is someone with a flash ruining your shots – please learn to use it artistically:
For full disclosure, the flash in the last shot belonged to the DJ and not to a guest, which is that much worse as he was hired to do something different and not to take pictures.