How cell phone cameras can take away special moments

We are huge supporters of Social Media and the use of what our nifty cell-phone cameras can do these days! Instagram and Facebook has changed the way we share our lives with the public as well as our businesses. It has allowed us to engage with our clients, follow-up with them, and their families like never before and we LOVE that! The personal relationships it allows go beyond social media, and we are grateful for this. Until recently it seems we have noticed the unfavorable outcome of the use of new technologies.

Let me begin by saying that we don’t mean to make-fun or call-out anyone by this post, ONLY to inform future brides by a few suggestions… We are aware that there are many facets to a wedding, and professional wedding photography is just one of those. As Professional Wedding Photographers for your wedding, we are hired to capture the raw emotions & create ART that is one of a kind for your wedding day that represents you as a couple. There are numerous aspects to Wedding Photography that goes into play on a wedding day… Lighting, location, timeline, weather, personalities, emotions, composition, camera gear, logistics, and the list goes on. It is one of the most precious tasks that we do NOT take lightly.

To put it plainly, cell phone usage can take away raw moments/emotions, and even be a distraction on a wedding day.

We have seen time and time again throughout a wedding where the guests are distracted from a sweet moment due to the usage of their cell phones. On occasion, we have a guest get in middle of the aisle as the Bride and Groom are seeing each other for the first time with their “camera,” during the ceremony various cell phones are flashing off and the screens are illuminated as they reach arms out on the aisle or up in the air, the going away shot occasionally has to be re-done because people are in the walkway directly in front of the couple…

We understand wholeheartedly that the guests are excited and want a picture of their own to share on social media, but this breaks my heart to no end! What should have been a moment the guests can freely enjoy ‘in the moment,’ we have not captured as hired Professional Wedding Photographers due to obstruction, cell phone cameras are the main focus in the imagery, or we have to completely re-do the shot & not capture the raw emotional expression of AND for the couple.

What can be done to help out with this unique Wedding Cell Phone Camera phenomenon?

1. Ask your guests in your Wedding Program to please turn off ALL usage of cell phones all-together.

2. Have signs at the ceremony AND reception, and ask guests to please limit Cell Phone pictures and/or usage.

3. Ask guests to please limit Cell Phone pictures and/or usage during the wedding in the Wedding Program, in conjunction with a sign in the Ceremony AND Reception.

As photographers, we are here to capture the essence of your wedding day. Create imagery that you will cherish for years to come.  Our heart is for you to cherish ART that you can show your family today, and your children and grandchildren tomorrow. We hope to make guests more aware by this post.

We are guilty of being ‘Instagram artists’ too  😉 And want to share special moments on social media with everyone just like the next person! However, next time you hold your camera up at a wedding, during the ceremony, while the bride is walking down the aisle to see her husband-to-be, dancing with her daddy at the reception, or walking away to head to the honey-moon, please be mindful of the months, days, and HOURS  of planning they did to go into the wedding day to make it special. The money they invested to hire a professional wedding photographer to capture the moments they will pass down to their children and great-grandchildren. Do you really want to be THAT guy in the picture with the cell-phone held up blocking the couple?

Please trust us as professionals and take the time to BE IN THE MOMENT with the couple. Take-in moment-in-time that seem to rush by all too quickly.

Warmly, Jan

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  • Opul Albums - October 8, 2013 - 3:08 pm

    Just posted this onto our FB page! Great blog post!!!ReplyCancel

  • Alyson Church - October 8, 2013 - 4:10 pm

    The last wedding I shot , numerous people got in the way with their phones. Very frustrating, time consuming and shot ruining in addition to longer post editing. They need to be told that’s why the photographer is there. As a gift to the bride and groom, get out of the way is what I say :O) and the balls to stand right in front of the photographer who staged the shot.. O M G!! ReplyCancel

  • Deborah Parisher Templin - October 8, 2013 - 5:36 pm

    i agree to a point, but the problem for the guests is that the photo albums are created and meant for the bride and groom and are expensive enough for the bride’s remembrance of the day…..however, not all the guests will get copies of some much less all the pictures or even be able to see them. Find a solution for that and you can solve your problem….Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Dave Eicher - October 8, 2013 - 9:03 pm

    Sorry but this went on wayyyy before cell phones showed up. Cell phones that take photos have just increased in numbers and make it too easy. You can try and ask the Bride to curtail it, but I wish you much luck. ReplyCancel

  • Rocky Chan - October 9, 2013 - 8:23 am

    It’s not that i don’t agree with the sentiment of the article, but I also believe that it’s the challenge of the photographer to overcome the obstacles of his environment. I’ve actually seen quite a number of photos that used the repeating pattern of people holding up their devices as a wonderful, if a little quirky, compositional tool. No offense to the photographer, but the shots shown above could have been avoided if the photographer took a few steps closer to the subject. Or at least do a crop if he had the resolution overhead to do so.

    Weddings tell a wonderful story of not just the couple about to be wed, but of all the guests who became witnesses to their union, albeit to a lesser extent. If these people are holding up their phones, well, that’s a reality of the world we’re living in and our kids and grandkids will look back at those photos and go, “Oh wow, they actually had to hold up stuff to take pictures??!?!” and the photos then serve their secondary purpose of preserving the time they were taken. ReplyCancel

  • David Sabino D. Orendain - October 9, 2013 - 9:53 am


  • Denisse (Lotus Eyes Photography) - October 9, 2013 - 4:40 pm

    Never had this problem personally. I’m not afraid to ask someone to step back a bit if they are in the way of the photograph (since the couple paid thousands of dollars for me to be there to photograph the wedding. They usually understand.

    Always bring some good lenses just in case you are confined to the back of the church etc (which has only happened once- and my clients and I both loved the pictures thanks to my awesome camera gear).

    Be prepared.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Carpenter Julian - October 9, 2013 - 11:27 pm

    I used to shoot weddings and this is most certainly one of THE most challenging and annoying issues that I dealt with. Once I was photographing a cake cutting, and I had a guest stand just a couple of feet with her cheap little camera in front of the cake and would NOT move. She had the audacity to be insulted when I hurriedly asked her to move so I could get at least one decent shot without her backside in it. I think these people actually think they’re doing the bride and groom a favor by taking these photos in case the pro misses it. And I don’t care how great of a photographer you are, you could be doing everything right and some arrogant, ballsy guest could step in front of you at just the right time and steal the moment. ReplyCancel

  • Christian Collado - October 10, 2013 - 3:40 am

    this sucks monkey balls…ReplyCancel

  • Mark O'Connor - October 10, 2013 - 4:05 am

    How about a two thousand dollar.( Fine)..fee..up front….Payable when anyone stops the Pro Photographer from doing the job they are being there for.using any other flash equipment or getting in the way of the Photographer ie Blocking a setup shot.ReplyCancel

  • Evelyn Oconnor - October 11, 2013 - 6:42 am

    Thank God we capture every moment on our special day as we planned. Our guest did sensibly in taking picture for their keepsake . It is all fun though what does it matter? Abstract shots is greatReplyCancel

  • Theresa Sutera Cook - October 16, 2013 - 1:43 pm

    I actually have it in my contract that the bride and groom are responsible for the behavior of their guests and that I am not responsible for any photos that were ruined due to guests. I always have in the contract and tell the couple that during the ceremony and private photos that cameras are not permitted as they have hired me to do the job and the guests need to just sit back and enjoy. I hate it when they stand over my shoulder and take photos. I am very ballsy myself and will tell people to leave if they are not suppose to be in the photos or hired by the couple to take photos. I also have it stated that if guests continue to keep me from doing the job I was hired to do and the couple fails to control guests, I am permitted to leave and not obligated to refund the couple and they get what they get. I will not play these games. Luckily, since they know I can leave. . . I haven’t had to much trouble. ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - October 24, 2013 - 10:41 am

    What sucks is I don’t even know the man who is ruining that photo of Daniel to take a picture of me on his phone…ReplyCancel

  • Mickey - March 31, 2017 - 7:14 am

    Brilliant, Father. You are showing your generation! (We are the same age!)The hesmeistrdas of the school which provided the children (Islington Green) got into almighty trouble, for allowing this without checking what it was all about! So some things don't change.ReplyCancel

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