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iPhone Documentarians

Carolyn Monastra

iPhones, Samsungs, Androids. They all have cameras. Really good cameras that are only getting better with each hardware upgrade and software update. The luxury, ease and accessibility of camera phones today combined with the collective desire to share everything on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat is a lethal combination for a photographer, especially when it comes to weddings.

I understand guests’ desires to take their own pictures at a wedding, as you’ve put significant time and energy into creating a picturesque space and the event itself is very newsworthy and shareable. It makes sense, too: we take pictures of pretty white buildings in Santorini so why not snap a few of the Rainbow Room designed by David Beahm or the bride walking down the aisle in her couture Oscar de la Renta gown? The answer is simple. Quite frankly, guests’ personal picture taking has the potential to ruin the wedding.

When you hire me to shoot your wedding, I do everything in my power to get the pictures you want and capture the critical moments that hold the most meaning and emotion. That being said, it’s a tough reality for me to get exactly what you want when I am competing with 15 of your closest friends and family waving their camera phones down the aisle for that can’t-miss alter shot. That’s my shot. That’s why I am here.

Apps, filters, and detachable lenses are all meant to enhance smartphone picture taking capabilities, but let’s be real- these enhancements can only do so much for the average, camera-unsavvy regular person who just bought a phone that happens to have a great lens on the back. Your guests’ iPhone photography will not be as good as mine, no matter how hard they try or what photo app they use. But their attempts will get in my way and ruin my shots.

Moreover, when the crowd bends over backwards to compete for the best Instagram of you walking down the aisle, the energy is shifted away from you and into cyber space before you can even say “I do.”

And consider this: it’s outright hideous. Your wedding album will no doubt be littered with microscreens that ruin the image and worse, tarnish the actual ceremony. Instead of enjoying the moment, appreciating the intimacy and being present in the grandeur of what is happening, your guests will undoubtedly raise their phones and then proceed to tinker with filters.

Unless of course, you ask them not to. A simple “no cellphones” is increasingly mentioned at the start of ceremonies today. Even a note in the program helps curb this unsightly behavior. At celebrity weddings, you don’t see any iPhones at all and the reason is simple: the message has been clearly communicated beforehand. I’ve even attended weddings where the restrictions on iPhones were so strict, there was security with scanners at the entrance. And it makes sense. In an iPhone-free zone, your guests will be “in the wedding” instead of recording it. If everyone is the documentarian, there will be nothing to record.

Politely remind your guests of your No iPhone policy and assure everyone that you will proudly share your professional pictures when the time is right. After all, there is a photographer in the room.


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