This post on Unplugged Weddings will be the first in a series of commentaries on controversial photography issues.
I know, it’s an abrasive title, but trust me, I will explain it momentarily. And hopefully, I can put your concerns to rest. First, let me start by explaining what an unplugged wedding is. Simply put, it is a wedding free of electronic devices. This could be limited to a ceremony where guests are not expected to used cameras and/or phones. But it can extend to the the Hollywood ceremonies where guests must place their phones into a locker when they arrive and retrieve them when they leave.
There are a few reasons to have an unplugged wedding. Some couples want their guests to be more “present” in the moment. Sometimes it is a concern over phone screens being visible in photos. For the celebrity weddings, it is usually to have exclusive content to sell to magazines. For example, People Magazine paid Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries $1 Million for exclusive coverage of their wedding. Preventing guests from photographing ensured exclusivity. However, most guests don’t fall into that category and it falls into being in the moment or phone screens in photos.
This summer, a photographer suggested that a guest with an iPad ruined their photo actually made national news. She even made it onto some talk shows. Feel free to look at the original post on unplugged weddings to get her side of things.
So here is my controversial opinion on unplugged weddings: For starters, I don’t think it is right for a photographer to publicly call out a wedding guest for something like this. I am sure that guest feels a little embarrassed now considering the public attention it has gotten. Secondly, the issue of the phone in front of the couple could be easily avoided by the photographer just moving a few inches to the left. And lastly, if it was completely unavoidable, this is the kind of thing that could get fixed in post without the client even knowing about it.
Now to get back to my thesis about why I don’t care about unplugged weddings. Really, I don’t think any photographer should care about unplugged weddings. Here is the heart of the issue for me. The photographer from this summer stated that a guest’s phone ruined the creation of a memory. That simply isn’t true. That photo of the guest with the iPad isn’t a ruined memory. It is an accurate recording of what actually happened. Just because the photographer had envisioned something different doesn’t mean it’s ruined.
The fact is that every couple knows that if they allow guests to have cameras and phone at the ceremony, that there is going to be cameras and phones in the photos from the ceremony. It doesn’t ruin the photos. It just changes them. And the reason I don’t care about unplugged weddings, is because it is entirely up to the couple. It makes as much difference to me as the wedding colors or the cake a couple wants. Because for me, what the couple wants is the only thing that really matters. Whether your guests bring cameras or not isn’t going to impact my ability to provide you with photos you are going to love.
Now enjoy some photos of wedding guests taking photos.
Timothy Faust is an award winning wedding photographer from Breckenridge, Colorado. He specializes in destination wedding photography in Colorado and all across the world.