February 26, 2014

Guest Shaming & Photographer Etiquette

FILED IN: Wedding Tip

I attended a family member’s wedding the month I decided I wanted to be a wedding photographer. After asking the bride (and her wedding photographer) if it would be okay for me to snap a few pictures, I brought my entry level DSLR to the wedding to capture the reception. Although the photographer let the bride know it would be okay if I took some pictures ahead of time, she made it very apparent, during the reception, that she was mad I was taking pictures. As I was snapping a shot of the bride and groom sitting at their table at the reception, she pushed me to mess up my shot. I was so upset that I actually said, “I do not want to be in an industry that treats people like that.”  Steven, my husband and now business partner, encouraged me to pursue my dream. He gave me sound advice about being a positive force in the industry and told me that the industry needed people that sincerely loved photography and provide high quality work & customer care. Now, I’m happy to say that I have a lot of friends that are photographers who have the same mission, to be a positive force in the industry. Nothing could make me happier than knowing that I’m part of a growing movement to provide high quality service and to do it with kindness and love.

On the subject of photographers being upset about guests taking pictures, recently I’ve seen photographers shaming guests in blog posts & in forums for “taking pictures.” My brief thought on this is that, as a guest, unless the bride has asked you not to take pictures, you should be able to shoot as many pictures as you want.

You might have seen some talk about unplugged weddings. This is when the wedding couple asks their guests to turn off all technology so that they’re able to enjoy the wedding without any distractions, including cameras. Since it’s the talk of the industry right now, I thought I’d bring to attention somethings photographers should consider.

Don’t pressure your bride and groom into having an unplugged wedding. For that matter, don’t pressure your bride and groom into anything they don’t want to do. If it’s important to you, mention it to them. Leave it at that. Don’t be the vendor they regretted using.

Don’t shame guests. Don’t post pictures of them on social media. Don’t passive aggressively make comments about how terrible a guest was at one particular wedding. If a guest frustrates you at a wedding with their actions, don’t confront the guest. Just be the bigger person and let it go. They probably had no idea they were doing something that you consider to be “wrong”. It’s far better to let it go than possibly ruining a guest’s experience or your business reputation.

Be sure to communicate with your couples about their expectations for the ceremony. If they want an unplugged wedding, they might not want you to use flash or stand in front of any of their guests. On the other hand, since none of the other guests are taking pictures, they might want you up front the entire time regardless of where the guests are located.

Above all, remember that the wedding is not about the wedding pictures to the couple. It’s about a lifetime commitment to one another and a celebration of that commitment with friends and family. Please respect their commitment to one another, and respect their guests.

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