Complaining about camera phones at a wedding is like complaining about the rain

People with camera phones aren't really hindering weddings, are they?

People with camera phones aren’t really hindering weddings, are they?

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.

It's a moment they'll treasure – including the guy behind the camera.

It’s a moment they’ll treasure – including the guy behind the camera.

4. In fact, deliberately incorporating obstacles into your photos is completely legitimate.

I always thought this was a nice photo to have on the side. I mean, they did give a lot of attention to the decorations…

I always thought this was a nice photo to have on the side. I mean, they did give a lot of attention to the decorations…

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.

Source: Petapixel

Source: Petapixel

Just for good measure, here’s another photo I took at a graduation ceremony that applies the same thinking…

I'm not going to defend what this lady is doing with the camera phone, but camera phones CAN be used to take decent photos, y'know…

I’m not going to defend what this lady is doing with the camera phone, but camera phones CAN be used to take decent photos, y’know…

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