So what’s the etiquette for using a smartphone camera at a wedding?
A lots been said recently, both online and in the media, about the use of smartphone cameras at weddings. In fact, the BBC News Magazine recently asked, Are smartphones ruining weddings? I’ve seen and heard a number of professional wedding photographers complaining on social media how guests jumping up and getting in their to take photos on their smartphone cameras are ruining certain shots by the official wedding photographer.
Now, as always, there’s always an alternative view. There are those couples who want a candid and photojournalistic approach to wedding and big day and see photos of their guests jumping up to get shots as an integral part of the actual wedding story. As a documentary wedding photographer (also known as a Wedding Photojournalist or Wedding Reportage Photographer) myself, I definitely sit in the latter camp.
However, ultimately there is no right or wrong answer to this. It comes down to what you both want and your personal choices for what is your wedding day.
So here are 5 things to consider when it comes to smarphone camera use on your wedding day.
#1 What type of wedding photography do you want for your wedding?
It might seem obvious, but you really do need to know how you want your wedding being shot by a wedding – this will most probably then dictate the rest of your wedding smartphone etiquette. Without going in too much detail, do you want the more traditional posed and staged approach to wedding photography where you want everything picture perfect? Or do you want a more candid storytelling approach that documents the emotions and moments of the wedding day, as they happen and that retains the integrity of your wedding story.
If you want the more traditional approach, it’s likely you are going to want a stricter smartphone etiquette or if you prefer the wedding photojournalism, such as I offer, then a more relaxed etiquette would be more preferable. So be sure you know well in advance exactly how your wedding photographer will approach your wedding day…ideally before you book him or her.
#2 What is Your Bridal Preparations Smartphone Etiquette?
It’s likely your bridesmaids and the rest of your bridal party will be snapping away with their smartphone cameras during your bridal preparations, especially when it comes to getting into your wedding dress. It’s likely you’re not going to want your dress revealed to the world on Instagram or Facebook before you’ve even walked down the aisle – so you either need to decide to ban your bridal party from taking photos during the preparations or ensure they do not do any posting to social media until you decide when its appropriate to do so.
#3 What is Your Wedding Ceremony Smartphone Etiquette?
You also need to decide if you want your guests taking photos with their smartphones during your wedding ceremony – and the other important parts of your wedding day for that matter. If you don’t want them jumping up to grab a photo and getting in the way of your official photographer, then think about banning them from the parts of the day you don’t want them to use their smartphone cameras during. Couples are increasingly putting a basket at the entry to the ceremony so their wedding guests can place their phones in them to avoid any temptation to use them during the wedding service.
#4 Consider an Official Wedding Hashtag
If you’re happy for your wedding guests to snap away with their phones and post freely to social media during the wedding day, then do consider choosing a specific #hashtag for them to use so you can find all those photos easily. You’ll be amazed how many there can be and it’ll make it easier for you and your guests to find them. Of course, hashtag naming is an entirely separate subject altogether, but just make sure you choose something that is unique and won’t get mixed in with other photos using the same hashtag. For example, #OurWedding will most probably apply to thousands or even millions of other photos that have nothing to do with your wedding. Instead, go for something like #PeterJanesWeddingSurrey as an exmple.
#5 Communicate Your Preferences
Of course, there’s little pont in pulling together a wedding smartphone etiquette if no one else knows about it. So be sure to let everyone know your preferences in advance, including hastags, so come the day it’s not something that surprises or, god forbid, upsets your wedding guests. You can also have reminders on the day – arty little chalk boards are a great of conveying messages and hashtags, as well as looking great without spoiling the theme of your wedding. So communicate, communicate, communicate…
Like I said at the outset there’s no right or wrong way to going about a smartphone wedding etiquette. It should all be about what you both want as a couple for what is YOUR wedding day. You certainly shouldn’t be swayed by what your wedding photographer wants/says. By all means, have a chat with him and her to get an idea and understand – but you have to go with what you want in the end. Your wedding day has to be all about you – not someone elses choices.
That’s why I firmly believe a more natural, candid and unobtrusive wedding photojournalism is such a great fit for your wedding photography. I don’t get upset or irritated by your wedding guests jumping and capturing photos in front of me. I’ll make a feature of it instead of complaining. After all, I am documenting your wedding as it happens rather than creating my personal censored version of it.
If you are interested in my wedding photojournalism approach and are getting married, then give me a call on +44 (0)7920 422144 or send me a message via my contact page. I’d love to hear all about your wedding plans and chat with you about how my wedding reportage style would deliver the natural, beautiful and storytelling images for your authentic and unique wedding story.