Yes you read the title correctly. I don't take photos at weddings and you shouldn't either!
Allow me to explain. This past weekend I was invited to attend the wedding of some very dear friends of ours. I was invited to be a guest! I cannot recall the last time I was a guest and not the photographer. It was a nice break from the regular run around and work hard to ensure every detail was captured. I was able to relax and enjoy the wedding. It was a lot of fun getting dressed up too. I love this times as an excuse to get the hubby dressed up. He is not quite as thrilled but he goes along with it.
Any how, we were guests of this wedding. When we got the invitation I was so happy for the person they hired to be the photographer. In the invitation the couple stated: We respectfully ask all guests to refrain from excessively using cell phones or other mobile devices at the event.
This is really two folds WOW. The first being, you are at a wedding, get off your cell phone, mingle with people around you and enjoy the party. You can play on FaceBook later. The second part that get's me really excited is that they are kindly pointing out that they HIRED a (get this) PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER to take their photos! They are simply asking that you allow the photographer the chance to get the BEST photos without distractions from other flashes, eyes looking the wrong way or best yet someone in the photographers way.
After the ceremony, this is the time that should be really focused on getting those photos that you hired your photographer for. They usually involve immediate family, the bridal party and the bride and groom. (bride make sure you plan enough time between the ceremony and the reception for this). Nothing is more distracting for a photographer then trying to get everyone together for this, getting everyone who doesn't belong away and having zero distractions from other cameras. Many photographers have an online gallery where you can buy their images (hint hint) so you don't have to take your own. Not to mention the longer it takes for the photographer to get these images- the ones the bride really wants and is paying for- the longer it takes for the reception to begin and the food to be served!
Once you are in the reception and the party has began this is your time if you want to grab a picture, go for it. There are not many posed shots going on and the photographer is capture the moment as it happens. However, I just want to add that during any special moments- first dance, cake cutting, and toasts- that the photographer should not be fighting for the best view of the bridge and groom. Respect the bride and groom and the photographer and allow for room.
Many times during the reception the bride and groom walk around and say hi to everyone. You will get your chance to take a photo then. Also some photographers do the same. They go table to table to get pictures of each guest. If you are at a wedding, don't by shy when the photographer does this. In fact, go up and ask them to take your picture. It makes their job a little easier.
My whole point is that when I attend a wedding as a guest I don't take pictures. The ones you see here are the ones we took. We did this long after the ceremony and we didn't distract anyone. Everyone wants to have beautiful photos from their wedding, that's why they hire photographers. If we can just control ourselves during the event, then our bride and grooms will get that without their photographer having to work twice as hard to get around all the other guest.
Weddings are such a special time and you can't ever get this time back. I love photographing weddings because it gives the couple such a wonderful memory of their special day. Those a memories they will get to cherish forever. So next time you attend a wedding, kindly refrain from taking photos. The bride and groom will be extremely grateful!