Don’t bring a camera to a wedding

Unless you are the photographer, of course.

I have worked with wedding photographers for years who have preached this. Your “job” as a wedding guest is to – be a guest. I fully understand why people ignore this – they want their own pictures, they don’t want to have to purchase them from a photographer because they can be rather expensive, etc. I get it. However, think of it this way: the bride and groom have hired the services of a photographer to capture the very best pictures of the big day. If the photographer can’t do his or her best work because you had to bring your camera, then who are you disservicing? Yep, you got it.

Now, before I go walking around here on a high horse, I’ll tell you: I typically have brought cameras to weddings in the past. After working with photographers I thought I knew all the tricks: Don’t steal the flash, don’t get in the shot.

After shooting Amanda’s wedding last month, I know that you can’t possibly know where the photographers will be. After  being in a photographer’s shoes, I know I will probably not ever bring a camera to a wedding again. Leave it in the car, break it out only if necessary (like at Michelle’s wedding, when her photographer decided to leave halfway through, and she came to me in tears to see if I had my camera. Yes, I did, thank goodness.)

A blog about wedding photos wouldn’t be good at all without examples, so let me show you what I’m talking about.

Exhibit A: Stealing Flash.

Photographers have their light sources all figured out to get the perfect shot. When you randomly take a picture at the same time, your flash gets in the way of all that planning. Here’s a photo I took of the groom waiting for his bride to come down the aisle:


Here’s the next shot, in which a flash went off at the same time as mine (in full disclosure, I’m pretty sure it was Jeff’s flash, not a guest’s, so not pointing fingers here. Just showing an example of what could happen.)


Ack! Looks like an angel is coming for those boys. Don’t go into the light! Either that or Amanda’s dress was really, really, really bright.

Exhibit B: Composition.

If you are too busy taking pictures, you are not fully enjoying the events. And you are getting in the photographer’s way, and lessoning his or her photos. Take this photo that Jeff took right before Amanda and Jason smashed cake in each others’ faces.

Cake pre-smashing

I love the pause in their hands and mouths, the threatening looks in their eyes, the “don’t you dare or I will too” body language … And then there’s the lady in salmon (whose face I blurred out; not trying to call anybody out.) I’m not saying she ruined the shot, but she certainly didn’t add too it. She’s very distracting. Imagine if she hadn’t had the camera: Same composition, but now she’s enjoying the moment, laughing. Could have been a damn good shot if that had been the case! One of my favorite pictures from my wedding shows a bridesmaid in the background, doubled over, laughing. It’s those candid moments that make photos so great.

Oh, ok, I’ll show you that one too 🙂

Laughing bridesmaid

See Susan in the background wearing black and laughing? Imagine if instead she had a camera and was just taking pictures. It would have lessened the shot. This photo was taken by Tracy Kimball Photography. Check out her site; my sister’s boobs are on the home page! (no, I’m not kidding.)

And now that I’m talking about my sister’s boobs I think I’ll stop while I’m ahead. And I’ll likely never bring a camera to a wedding again.

Edit: Some of these photos are unedited. Just wanted to say that. I’m cringing as I’m looking at the shadows on the wall of the cake photo and the first groom photo. They will be removed!