Wedding Photography Etiquette for Guests

Posted by Azure on December 15th, 2011

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  • With the explosion of digital photography and social media, more and more guests are taking photos at weddings. They have camera phones and DSLRs and they really, really want to take pictures. And there's nothing wrong with that, as long as they follow some very simple rules:
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  • 1. Do NOT Tweet, Facebook, or share in any way pictures of the bride before the ceremony!
  • You would think this would be pretty obvious, but this year alone, I’ve heard nearly a dozen people tell me that the groom saw a picture of the bride posted somewhere. As a recent groom and a wedding photographer, I can tell you that guys generally have a bit of downtime before the ceremony and it is not unusual for them to check their phone. “Oh look, my fiancé was tagged in a photo...” 
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  • I know you want to be the first person to post a photo of the bride in her wedding dress, but just hold off until after the ceremony – because, even if the groom HAS seen the dress, all the other guests haven't and it is kind of an important moment.
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  • 2. Don't stand (or jump) in front of the professional photographer
  • I know you want to get a shot of the first kiss at the ceremony, or the bride and groom cutting the wedding cake. But remember, the couple paid the photographer to be there and perform a service, so don't waste their money by infringing on the pro’s ability to capture the perfect shot. This also holds true for the “I'm just going to stick my arm out into the aisle and take a photo” move. I can't tell you how many great shots this move has spoiled over the years.
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  • There's plenty of room for all of us to take pictures, and I personally don't mind if someone stands right next to me. Just don't block the shot – this isn't the NBA!
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  • 3. Don't engage the photographer in a long discussion about photography
  • I love talking to people about cameras, lenses, photography, etc. - just ask my wife. Most wedding photographers probably won't mind talking to you quickly if they have some down time. However, we don't want to come off as impolite trying to get out of that conversation because we need to get back to doing our job. So take their business card, and continue the discussion via email, Facebook or Twitter.
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  • 4. Don't mess with the camera in the photo booth
  • If the couple or photographer has set up an unmanned photo booth, it’s best not to touch the camera. Please resist the urge to check out that awesome photo you just took or to change the settings on the camera. You might mess things up for everyone after you. And if you think there’s a problem, let the person who set it up know about it.
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  • 5. Put the camera down and have a good time!
  • This is advice I need to take myself, because I am totally guilty of it on occasion. Unless the couple did not hire a photographer, or the photographer is not around or left because their contracted time was up – you do not need to be taking tons of pictures. Get out from behind the camera and enjoy yourself! It is a celebration.
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