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Why You Need An Unplugged Wedding

October 25, 2017

Unplugged weddings have become a hotly debated topics. At the very least, an unplugged wedding ceremony.

Photographers have generally voiced their unwavering support of unplugged weddings for many reasons, but it probably goes without saying that the main reason we’re so adamant about having an unplugged wedding, is for your photos. Duh! You’ve likely spent a nice chunk of change on hiring a professional, and that’s because we want to deliver you the very best memories of your day. Nobody wants to look back at their first dance with a bunch of cell phones in the background because your guests glued to their screens instead of smiling at you and your new spouse.

This was one of my first weddings (maybe the third wedding I’d ever shot) and we had talked about unplugged ceremony and I think they even had a sign. I remember this couple telling me how sad they were when they saw this image with everyone’s phones. Imagine this shot instead focused on the new Mr. & Mrs. walking out as man and wife for the first time and their guests happily clapping and cheering, instead of trying to take photos.

I’m not trying to be rude, but let’s call a spade a spade – your iPhone, $135 point and shoot or brand new iPad will not take a photo the way my camera will. I could number drop how much I’ve spent on equipment, but I won’t. Trust me when I say I have made a HUGE investment in YOU.

Typically, my wedding clients spend $2500+ on their photos, and as a guest, you should be a guest and be present. As a guest photographer, you’re ruining the value of that investment for the bride & groom.

Live in the moment!!

Don’t throw that investment away by having cell phone quality memories. I cannot stress that enough guys. Enjoy the wedding day with the couple who has invited you to share their special day. They’ve hired a photographer and PAID THEM to take photos, so that you, their guest, can be invested fully in their wedding celebration and not have to worry about documenting their memories. Leave that to the professionals. And trust me, I’ve got this under control!

The cell phones will inevitably ruin a few photos.

I always love getting the grooms first look if my couple chooses to wait until the ceremony to see each other. And I am also all for grandma and grandpa being super excited to see their grand kids get married…seriously weddings are my favorite! But here are two guest “photographers” – one with a point and shoot and another with a DSLR.

There is nothing more heartbreaking for me than when guest photographers cut in front of me and my shooters trying to capture a shot with their iPad

Guests who jump in front of a shot will get picked up immediately by my cameras auto-focus and ruin the shot

My camera is set to track my subjects through the frame so when kids run around (because all you parents out there know kids don’t sit still), your sweet child is in focus and you have a crisp, beautiful image of the moment. So when Aunt Jan decides during the first kiss as man and wife that she needs a photo with her iPhone, my camera will pick her up and I’ll miss the first kiss.

And I know that isn’t my fault, but I still feel terrible when I have to show my couple their gallery and instead of a kiss it’s Aunt Jan’s back instead. It breaks my heart for my couples, seriously. I die a little inside when that happens.

Eyes will wander during formal portraits, especially kids and grandparents.

Let’s preface this shot by first stating that this wedding date was the end of August and the temp was around 105 most of the day. So the bride and groom (and photographers) were DYING of heat stroke. And my couple wanted nothing more than to finish their photos to join the reception and drink all the water (and beer).

So as we’re taking photos for the formal portraits, the light was PERFECT for this shot. Just look at how the sunlight is coming through the trees and bushes – is that dreamy or what? But nobody wants a bunch of photos with wandering eyes not looking at the camera. So for this, we let the guests take their photos and then politely asked them to go to the reception while we finished portraits. But that took up ALOT of time.

Photographers are pressed for time. We are constantly expected to deliver more images in less time, and I am more than up for the challenge and I know I’ll deliver. But there’s not much I can do when guest photographers hijack our formal portraits putting me 20 minutes behind schedule and then the sun has set. So again, these moments are when I’ll politely ask guests to join the party while we wrap up the portraits.

guest photographers do more than interrupt a shot

I have my own wedding coming up this December, so I completely understand wanting your guests to share in the celebration, but that’s just the point. I want my guests to SHARE in the celebration, not try and be a photographer – I’ve hired a professional for that. And paid her – so put your phone away and party with me please.

As a photographer, I have to tip toe around guest photographers ALL THE TIME. I have to get just the right angle so I don’t get them in the photo. It’s not only a huge hassle, but the moments happen really fast, and so sometimes moments are missed because guests flash goes off or they cut in front of a photo. And with flash from cell phones and cameras, I cannot save that photo. My camera was set up to achieve good lighting without flash, and more than likely, the guest flash completely washes out the image. There’s no saving it.

Avoid social media until after the ceremony

The most heart breaking thing is when the groom is trying to kill time on social media, and a guest has Snapchatted or Instagramed a photo of the bride BEFORE the ceremony. I would think that would be common sense because of the whole “bad juju” that is often associated with seeing the bride before the wedding, but in case you weren’t 100% sure, just don’t. Stay off social media. Stay off Instagram. Stay off Snapchat. Just put down the phone please. Live in the moment and enjoy everything the wedding day has to offer.

So I’ll leave you with this final thought…

Enjoy the moment.

I strive to capture moments in their natural, authentically beautiful nature. Live in the moment, not behind it.

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