Why You Should Have an Unplugged Wedding – the real reason

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.

David Roddy - I used Photo Etiquette Cards for my wedding, and they worked perfectly. They kindly asked my guests to refrain from using their personal cameras during the event, in an elegant manor.

I bought them here

Josh Behan - I couldn’t agree more. I never understand people complaining about this, if anything it gives you the opportunity to make more interesting shots, not less.

Kara Laws - Thank you!!

I have been a professional wedding photographer for years and I love the photos of people taking photos. Plus, you are right a good photographer should be able to work around ANYTHING and ANYONE and if you think you should not know how to elbow your way through a crowd, stand on a chair to get the view around them, or drop to the floor to get underneath them you are just being lazy. Move your butt and get the shot. And honestly it is rare for my to catch a guest’s flash but even if I do and can’t figure out how to make it better I am shoot digital with 7fps I should have two of those images anyway and a flash lasts less than a second.

Stop whining and deal with life. Thank you for speaking up.