The ‘guest photographer’. The ‘amateur. The granny with an ‘ipad’.
Some of THE very things that photographers DREAD to find at their bride and grooms wedding…

I was a guest last weekend for a very good family friend’s wedding. I haven’t been a guest in a couple of years and a lot has changed and progressed with my photography business since then… So being a guest… was weird! AMAZING of course, but so very odd! I of course, couldn’t bring my kit with me, so I opted for just a single camera and one lens 😉 As a photographer, you spot moments and detail all around you ALL the time. I had to really reign myself in because my friends had hired the most wonderful and extremely talented photographer. I almost felt more wary of getting in the way than actually taking photographs.

I did take photos, respectfully and from my position. No leaning. No moving to get the perfect angle. I took photos as I would have a few years ago, when I was a guest at 8 weddings and before I had photographed many of my own weddings under my business name. It’s easy as a guest to forget about the photographer, and most will ‘ninja’ around you so that they are as inconspicuous as possible, but I don’t think I have ever been more aware about ‘not being in the way’.

More than anything, I didn’t want to be THAT guest with the blinking massive camera, or to be spotted and have the hired professionals ‘note’ me to keep an eye out for me IN CASE I got in the way. I completely get it. I do it ALL the time at a wedding (looking out for ‘those’ guests) because as a photographer, you want to do the best job possible for your couple with as little complications as possible.
Granny standing in the aisle with her ipad over her face as the bride and groom walk down is exactly one of the complications I’m talking about!
So how can you be a GOOD guest photographer? Of course, many people take photos on their phones nowadays which are certainly less likely to get in the way (albeit photographs of you walking down the aisle with your guests watching you through their phones don’t make the best sort of photos!). However, there are those guests who come to a wedding with some sort of SLR who like photography, or those who just want a good camera, which they can point, shoot, and get some better quality photos. I get it. I was and still AM one of these types of people! I don’t think I’ve ever not taken a camera with me, ANYWHERE… even before I became a photographer. So I DO understand believe me, however, at a wedding there are some boundaries that should be respected.

Everyone wants a good photo of the bride walking in, but jumping out of your seat, leaning into the aisle, or worse (and this happens) STANDING in the aisle is not going to do it. You may get a good head on photo, but the photographer now won’t and the poor bride and groom will never get that moment captured again. As a guest, you are not being paid for your photographic hobby, but to enjoy and celebrate their wedding with them. It is a guest’s duty to watch, listen, laugh and enjoy. Take photos from your perspective of course, but being there to support your family/friends on their wedding day also means respecting and protecting their photographic memories of the day that are being captured.

So, in a nutshell, my top tips for those of you who love a good photo, love a good selfie, are interested in photography, or simply want to practice at a wedding:
Stay seated during the service – no leaning or standing in the aisle.Try to get angles of the wedding that are different from the photographer. Couples always love guest photographs and it will mean you are likely to not get in the middle of a photographers shot.No flash – especially during the service and speeches.Enjoy yourself and make sure to put that camera away at some point :)During group photographs, take your photo of the group and then when politely asked allow the photographer to take their photo. Large groups struggle to know where to look when the paparazzi is in front of them!Your iPad is not a camera…
P xx