As we continue to move into a world filled with entitled attitudes and social media addicts, the wedding industry is seeing the full scale of boundaries being crossed and the simplest of etiquette and common courtesy evaporating not just from our youth, but from generations that should know better. The scope at which this affects our jobs is one of the most dominant reasons these poor characteristics stick out to us. Once upon a time, you were invited to a wedding, you attended, brought a gift, ate the free food, enjoyed the open bar, and that was it. Now, we (sometimes) have to worry more about the bad behavior of the guests and their lack of common sense than anything else. And that’s a damn shame.
I’ve written this blog before, but many years ago. I didn’t think this would come back around so soon, but as it turns out, there are so many guests practicing bad habits, this blog calls for multiple entries. This first one is dedicated to the photographers out there (and videographers) who work so hard at every event to get the perfect shot, to be there at just the right moment, and who pride themselves on catching the emotion when it happens so that these moments can be remembered forever.
When the clients hire these professionals and they commit to doing their best work and capturing said moments, they aren’t told that they will be dodging IPADs the size of televisions, IPhones from all 200 of your sorority sisters, the “professional” camera of your cousin who wants to use your wedding to see if this is what he wants to do with his life, and most recently, your brother who only takes photos with THE SELFIE STICK. What’s the harm in all 250 guests having one or more of these devises at your wedding and joining in on the photo fun? Where should I start?
Before each wedding, the bride and groom discuss a schedule with us. They give us a shot list for formal pictures and that shot list tells us who will be in the group photos, what time the photos will be taken, and where those photos will take place. Especially when I am involved, the scheduling, timing, and details being listed out are what make it possible for the bride and groom to have the day they want and deserve.
Nine times out of ten, brides and grooms will express to us their desire to keep the photo session short. They want to get to the reception and have a fun night, but they do want to make sure everything is captured and that they have time to experience the moments that they feel are important. When guests, even family members, are making the process longer by getting in our way for group shots, it only hurts the bride and groom.
Making us continuously ask the group we are photographing to only look at the professional photographer slows things down greatly. If we are taking pictures in the church after the ceremony, as a rule, we only have 15 minutes. As a guest, sticking around when you aren’t in any of the pictures isn’t necessary. As a matter of fact, it’s distracting to everyone involved because of your IPhone that’s in the photographer’s shot, or because you stuck around to chat with the people taking pictures (that’s part two of this blog.) Say your “hellos” at the reception. And for the bridal party, the photographer is catching the shot for you, I promise. You do not have to ask your significant other to stick around to take a shot with your phone. If you want a shot of whatever group they are photographing, I’m sure you can purchase it online when the photo gallery goes up. If you don’t want to spend the money, it couldn’t have been that important of a shot to waste 5 minutes of the bride and groom’s time on their wedding day.
My absolute favorite is when a guest not only interrupts group photos, but also then has the nerve to ask the photographer to take the picture for him/her and then hands the photographer his/her IPhone. This is more insulting than the guests can even understand. Some photographers are great sports and, especially if there’s down time during a reception, they don’t mind taking a pic or two with someone’s phone. But when they are in the middle of taking their own picture and someone hands them their IPhone, to me, it is beyond rude. Personally, I think for every shot they take on a guests’ phone, they should be paid for the image and the inconvenience of interrupting their job.
With all of that being said, by far, the biggest interruption the photographers (and videographers) have when it comes to bad guest behavior is the photo bomb guest. These are not the guests you think they are. They aren’t purposely in your shot. For some reason, they think they are invisible, but instead they have photo bombed the perfect shot of the bride coming down the aisle, or the bride and groom feeding each other cake, or the first kiss on the altar. You name it, they are there for it with their massively invasive “picture-taking” device and they have no idea that anyone else around them exists, let alone is trying to do a job.
This issue is about more than having an unplugged wedding. That in and of itself is a totally different topic. Enjoying the moment and making memories instead of always having to capture them immediately is a problem all it’s own. I am all too familiar with the reality that some couples do want their guests to post pictures on social media. Some create their own hash tags for that very reason. And there’s nothing wrong with that; when it is appropriate and not invasive to the vendors doing their jobs. That is the bigger issue concerning these guests and their quest to be involved in every photo-op of the wedding. Missing a shot, or veering off of the schedule because of an overzealous guest is something that we all know could come back on the vendors when the clients don’t get the shots they asked for or aren’t given what they were promised. But the clients have to have our backs and know their guests well enough to know what information they need from the start of the wedding day.
I realize that there are obstacles in every profession. And in the wedding industry, we have our fair share of things we cannot control (shout out to mother nature.) Having a guest photo bomb the bride coming down the aisle, or set us back a few minutes on the wedding day is certainly not the end of the world. But for that bride and groom, it might be that one shot that means the world to them.
I watch these brides and grooms agonize over who will make the invite list. So be the guest that does what they were invited to do; enjoy the moment with your friend or family member — laugh, cry, dance and drink! And remember that a lot of time, money, and planning went into this one day. Do not be the guest that makes it all about you. As vendors, it’s definitely not about us. It’s about doing what we are paid to do. Let us take care of the details, the pictures, and the video. You just make the memories, and we’ll capture them!