I’ve got a confession. I have been that guy before.
You may have read facebook statuses or articles (if you're like me, you've read the articles) for and against guest photography at weddings, and in particular during wedding ceremonies. I encourage brides/grooms/guests (so, people in general) to educate themselves.
Where did I personally cross the line into faux-passery? I took photos at friends’ weddings once or twice and used a handful of those to beef up my online portfolio. There were lovely professionals hired that did lovely work, but I was a budding wedding photographer and wanted those pictures. In my defense, I did not get out of my seat during the ceremony, and I did not shadow the professional. In fact, I took some nice video on my DSLR, since I knew there was a pro photographer present but no videographer. There was a family member taking video at one wedding but it somehow ended up deleted or lost or corrupted (another point in favor of hiring a professional!). I didn’t get super great footage, but it’s better than nothing, for the couple.
I’ve learned that it’s a faux pas in the photography community to use pictures I wasn’t hired to take in my wedding portfolio. I had thought it was okay, since I didn’t bother the hired photographer during the wedding day, nor did I try to submit the photos to a blog or anything like that- I just put a few on my website since I hadn’t shot too many weddings yet. Let’s just accept that the wedding photography world is different than the civilian world, shall we, and that this is not a welcome practice.
If you’re going to take pictures as a guest, simply be respectful about it. Honor requests of non-photography made by the bride/groom. Remain in your seat during the ceremony. Turn off your flash and autofocus assist beam. Go enjoy cocktail hour instead of shadowing the hired professional during portrait time! And if you weren’t hired, then please don’t put the pictures in a ‘professional’ portfolio.
Brides, grooms, photographer hirers, and guests- communicate with each other. Brides/grooms: share the professional photos with your guests, and tell people before the wedding that you will do this. If you don’t want a myriad of cameras pointed at you while walking down the aisle, say so beforehand. Guests: share your photos with the bride/groom and other guests. Come up with a unique instagram hashtag, that’s always fun.
For photographers. I don’t have to say things like ‘be patient with people that get in your way.’ We’re professional photographers. 90% of our job is calmly just ‘making it work.’ But here’s something I’d like to see more. If you see that guy at your wedding, don’t look down on them. If you have time, maybe smile and introduce yourself, and feel out if they’re a hobbyist or want to be more than that. Educate them. Don’t give them an especially cold shoulder just because they’re taking pictures. Not saying this happened to me but I’ve heard rumblings of this general attitude (and I admit, I’m actually guilty of it too).
Oh, here’s an extra for guests. If you’re going to take pictures, pretty please, take some of the photographer, especially if there’s no second shooter present! No one ever photographs us. Just make sure you share. :) (Thanks to some bridal party members for the ones below)