One thing that has become a key topic during my client consultations is whether to have a "turned off" wedding or not. As a professional wedding photographer I am used to having people step in front of me, hold up cameras, cell phones etc and blocking views so they can get "the shot." Over 50% of my couples are now requesting that people turn off cell phones and cameras so that they do not have these show up in photos. You pay a lot of money for a professional to capture your day, so it only makes sense to not have Aunt Betty hindering these shots with her cell phone. There are always one or two, that insist on taking photos anyway. Uncle Joe with his new DSLR that thinks he can get a better picture than the professional. What these people are failing to understand is that they are actually being a rude guest. They are not focused on the couple but on themselves and THAT is what people remember. That you did not care enough about them to respect their wishes.
I am not the first photographer to bring this up, nor will I be the last but today was the last straw. It is not just weddings but any event. Today was my son's school pageant and I was a guest just like everyone else. I sat in a pew with my daughter anticipating a fun and wonderful performance. As my son and the rest of the children took the stage and I'm holding my daughter on my lap, out come the cameras. The school had just made an announcement about not blocking the aisles so the children could get down them, and suddenly there is a mad rush of people filling the aisles, getting as close as they can with their pop up strobe flashes on thier DSLR's.
As I continue to sit and shake my head and listen to the murmurs of frustrated parents around me, here come the cell phones. Held up to record the entire performance despite the fact there was a professional videographer there and you could purchase a dvd for the price of......a donation. A DONATION. One dollar, five dollars, ten dollars, whatever you had to give.
So your IPhone video was worth more than a donation and me being able to see my child perform live since you were blocking my view and the aisles were blocked by other parents who cared not a whit for the rules. THIS IS BEING A BAD GUEST. As I left, I listened to upset parents and I thought, this is what it is like to sit at a wedding and not be able to see the ceremony of a loved one because the person in front thinks they can capture a memory better than a paid professional.
I GET IT. I'm a mother, a daughter, a friend, a cousin. I KNOW what it is like to want to preserve each moment. I UNDERSTAND that not everyone has expensive equipment that allows them to sit in a pew and capture a moment without flash, without standing up and getting closer because I know how to use it. So I am patient. I just shake my head and move on...but other people don't have that capability and your choice to focus on your desire, and your child, friend, etc. is hindering everyone around you from enjoying that moment with thier child, loved one etc. We are living in such a self centered world, and there is no reason.
LIVE IN THE MOMENT. SHARE THE MOMENT and MAKE A MEMORY. Wait for the bride to share photos. Buy the professional DVD for the price of a donation. BE PRESENT at events and let people who are donating their time or being paid to be there, DO THEIR JOB! The bride, other parents, school, hosts, etc. will appreciate you so much more for it.
Your Photographer and Fellow Parent/Guest