Another photographer has vented his spleen at wedding guests who bring their camera phones to weddings. This time it’s Thomas Stewart, a photographer based in the Southern Highlands, south of Sydney in Australia, on the industry blog Petapixel. He says all the usual stuff – guests with phones get in the way and ruin the wedding photographer’s photos, they take terrible photos anyway… he even suggests they can ruin the wedding itself.
I’ve no doubt the article was deliberately published to generate a little outrage-driven traffic, but having shot my share of weddings and events, I think it’s more telling of the photographer himself. I’m not saying he’s necessarily wrong, nor that I even know better. I checked out his photos of the exact wedding he wrote about and, if not for the Petapixel post, I wouldn’t have known he felt this way.
I am pretty sure, however, that his perspective on things is a little counter-productive. Here’s why:
1. Complaining about camera phones at weddings is like complaining about the rain. There’s always a chance it’ll happen, and there’s no telling how much of it there’ll be. You just have to be prepared.
2. The simple solution is to politely ask people to move. If you’re not sure how far you can go in respect of directing people on the floor, you should clarify that with your client before the wedding.
3. Taking photos of people taking photos can be fun, y’know.
4. In fact, deliberately incorporating obstacles into your photos is completely legitimate.
5. This is the photo that started it all. Thomas, I’m sorry to tell you this, but if it were me taking the photo, I’d be standing a few steps to the right.
Just for good measure, here’s another photo I took at a graduation ceremony that applies the same thinking…