Should wedding guests be photographing at weddings?

This is a modern debate in the digital era... and is NOT about the Wedding Photographer and Videographer trying to photograph and film past smartphones and tablets... this is about the couple getting married. 

I believe that every person has a right to document the special moments in their life and they should! I take my camera everywhere I go. It doesn't matter if it is your event, or one that you have been invited to. But... lately I have seen so many incidents of inconsideration... that I felt I had to say something.

20 Years ago, Wedding Guests arrived at a wedding, armed with their camera (with possibly only 1 roll of film) so they had about 24 photos available for the whole day and had to choose their moments wisely... It gave guests the chance to enjoy the wedding, witness the couple making the biggest promise of their lives to each other and they actually enjoyed the moment. A few guests later then printed photo's, placed it in their own photo album and enjoyed the memories. 

Today, almost everyone (adults and children) have digital cameras or phones on which they can literally take thousands of photo's. They don't have to consider which moments to capture as they can just photograph them all and look back later. Mostly... the photos never even get printed. 

So... What are you actually doing with the photo's you take a wedding? 

Please consider picking the moments you want to capture (and hopefully print) like 20 years ago). 

This past weekend, whilst photographing the Bride and Groom cutting their wedding cake, a young man of about 16 literally almost leaned on top of the wedding cake, filming the event with his smartphone. No matter how I balanced, I could not photograph the bride without him over her shoulder. 

Last year, I photographed a wedding in which the Father of the Groom were in NONE of the wedding photo's. He spent the whole wedding taking photo's and when the Bride and Groom walked down the isle, he stood in the middle of it. I didn't mind running up some steps to get a higher view so I could get the shot that the bride would use for her album, but the fact that her father in law was in none of the photo's (which didn't have a camera hiding his face)... I found sad for the couple. The day after the wedding, the Father of the Groom posted a few hundred photo's to FB (unedited, unflattering and uncensored by the bride). 

If you are due to be a guest at a wedding soon, please consider these 3 rules

1. BE RESPECTFUL

Be respectful of the wishes made by the Bride and Groom.

Have they asked for no photo's to be taken? This could be for any reason from sharing it on social media before they have the chance to share the photo's or because they want you to relax and enjoy the day. Whatever you do... don't be "THAT GUY" (please click on the link).

2. BE DISCREET

If you have reached a moment during the wedding which you would like to capture and save in the heart and mind of your phone forever (and can look back on at 1am in the morning during drunken nights out) then please be discreet...

Don't run out in front of the bride in the isle (it happens) or go and stand behind the minister (also happens) or try so hard to film the cake cutting that you almost push the bride on top of the cake (totally happened!!!). Stay in your seat and be discreet :)

3. BE IN THE PHOTO'S

This is almost the almost the most important rule of all.. Please be in the photo's! The Bride and Groom will be staring at their wedding photo's and remembering this moment forever... Don't work so hard to capture their whole day that you are in none of the photo's. They will wonder later where you were. Smile, clap, laugh, cry... whatever you do at their wedding to show your love will be treasured by them forever. But... if you are in none of the photo's... then it's like it never happened!!! (and smiling BEHIND your smartphone or table also doesn't count). 

So please... enjoy the day... notice all the little details that the Bride and Groom planned to make their day special and unique and smile for the camera... let me do the rest :)

I'm going to leave you with one of my most important and special memories of all... My parent's wedding day :) In this film, you can see the faces of all the guests and the excitement and joy is so wonderful to see. During the film you can see one guest in the background taking a photo and later, laughing along. You can see everyone :)

Sadly... my dad passed away a few years ago. He was wonderful man, an amazing dad, my best friend and a great husband (said my mother!!!). This is such a great memory to look back on: 

Gail and Rudi Wessels

Be considerate of your family and friends, allow them to have beautiful memories like this and most of all... enjoy this perfect, wonderful and special day with them :)