Welcome to my latest blog of Photography Bluff.
This time I have a slightly different topic. I am writing this after I read about some discussion on Facebook by fellow wedding photographer, Thomas Steward, in Sydney about ‘Unplugged’ weddings and a subsequent video on BBC. Here’s my take on the whole thing. This is not just a blog to fellow photographers but also to all my treasured and loved clients and future couples.
We are in a totally different era now. We all live in a connected world whereby many wants to share their happiness to friends and family almost immediately through their smart devices. It’s pretty easy, just a click of a button to snap that photos or video, then click ‘share’ and it’s done. I have no objection to that at all as I do that myself sometimes. I guess that at weddings, being the happiest day for the couple and their friends and family, who would oppose to share these moments out? Not me, I don’t mind, but…
But I do think that friends and family should RESPECT the couple. They carefully sent out invitation to their friends and family to be the witnesses of their marriage. This is important on its own. While I don’t oppose to any using their smartphones or tablet to record the moments, in front of me, they simply missing the whole wedding ceremony as they are concentrating on snapping and recording, worse, reviewing them afterwards. This is by far the most disrespectful thing ever. As a professional photographer, I ‘document’ what’s happening on the day so I don’t really want to control the situation to that extend. I will control the guests only at photo sessions but other than that, I simply record the day as it happens. So if the bride and groom don’t mind, they will end up with a lot of photos of them at the registry office with tons of bright screens surround them at the most important moments. It’s up to them to decide what’s best.
Though I don’t oppose or control the use of smart devices at the ceremony, I do announce before the procedure starts by saying that I have a paid job to do and if you want your dearest couple to get some nice photos, please do not obstruct me.
Even that, sometimes I still get some very difficult guests nudging me out of my position because he/she wanted to use my angle, even though I am the official photographer of the day. I don’t argue with guests so I just move to another angle as I see fit. But this highlights what modern photographers have to go through. In the golden days when there will only be one photographer at weddings. The guests would properly sit down and witness the wedding procedures, it was elegant. Now, it has become a little bit of a war zone as every enthusiastic guest will want to have that important moment photo on his or her device, even though they may only going to share it then forget about it after.
So I also have no objection to ‘Unplugged’ wedding either as it will only revert back to the golden days and guest have more respect to the couple’s biggest moments. Having said that, there are some registrars in the UK that are still very traditional. They will simply ban the use of smart devices or cameras during ceremony apart from professionals. But they are becoming more rare these days.
Unplug or not, as a documentary photographer, I don’t mind either. Of course, from the aesthetic point of view and for the sake of respect to the couple, I would ‘PREFER‘ an unplugged wedding. Yet, it’s totally up to the couple and their friends and family to decide what sort of wedding ceremony they want to remember in years to come. You’ve been warned!
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