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When is it Appropriate to Use Your Phone at a Wedding

By now you've seen my friend Hannah Way Photography's viral post about her recent (and not the first) experience with cell phones during a wedding! If you haven't here is the link to the post so you can check it out below and click on the image to view the post.

Hannah Way Photography Image

Seeing this post get so much attention is amazing as a wedding photographer! If you're not in the industry you may not know how many times this happens at weddings!! It can leave the photographer panicked, frustrated and discouraged! And let's not begin to talk about the bride's view... These photos in the viral post were not the only two photos the photographer captured, she is a professional, she moved and captured the rest of the moment. These two photos in the post were shared to prove her point...and a very good one at that.

After this post began to go viral for both the GOOD and unfortunately for some of the bad (some people are jerks), you may find yourself a little hesitant with that upcoming wedding on your calendar to attend. As glamorous as it may seem now about going viral, when this is your arm sticking out with your phone...oops! So here I am, a wedding photographer here to offer you a few tips on when it's appropriate to use your cell phone at a wedding!

Tip 1: Respect The Sign

If you see that beautifully handwritten UNPLUGGED sign the bride either spent hours making or money purchasing, respect it! The couple has invited you to their wedding to enjoy yourself and celebrate with them. Respect their wishes and remain unplugged for the ceremony! (Bride's this sign is available to rent for your ceremony from MLP!)

Tip 2: Sit on the Outside Aisle

If you must use your cell phone to take pictures (or FaceTime) with your cell phone or point and shoot camera, the best, less distracting and most appropriate seat is the outside aisle. Wedding photographers typically stand smack dab down the middle of the aisle to capture the bride walking in with her father! Don't block that view with your phone, iPad or Uncle Joe's DSLR.

Tip 3: Silence Your Phones

I don't think there is much of an explanation here... the last thing someone wants to hear when their loved one is professing their love to another is your iPhone ringtone! Shhhh....

Tip 4: Ask to Jump In

Weddings are the number one reason families come together who haven't seen each other in years... it's exciting to see one another and to remember the moment so we take pictures!!! I do the SAME THING! If you want someone to take a picture of the group already posed ask the photographer if its ok to jump in after their shot is done! I LOVE this and actually think it's so cool they want that picture! But remember it's only a few snaps and then we got to move on... so be ready with your phone!! The picture below was taken when this man politely asked to take a picture for Grandma!

Tip 5: Don't Cut In on Portraits

Once the wedding is over and portraits have begun, know that the couple has trust in their photographer to find the best light, location and poses! Don't offer any unsolicited posing advice that the situation doesn't need it! Usually the majority of the portraits for weddings comes during the very short cocktail hour, meaning there is only ONE HOUR for the photographer to photograph the families, wedding party & the bride and groom... it goes by super quick so anything to slow down that process is super frustrating and time consuming!

Tip 6: Stay Behind the Photographer

I love when guests are excited about the couple and the wedding! So much that they want to take all the same pictures I am, on their cell phones... Most photographers don't mind you snapping pictures during portraits or family formals, just stay behind or to the side of the photographer!

Tip 7: Trust the Photographer

Normally by the time of the wedding, the bride and groom have had many extensive conversations, shoots and/or meetings with their wedding photographer. They've hired, paid and trust them to do a their job! Leave the job to the professional and enjoy yourself!

Tip 8: Share Those Pictures

If you are going to go to take the pictures at least share them, post them and don't let them die in the Cloud. No they won't be the quality of the photographers but it's the moments and memories captured that mean the most! The couple will most likely only receive a sneak peek and a blog post shortly after the wedding, but won't receive their full gallery for 4-6 weeks.... share with them while they wait! The image below on the right was taken on a cell phone and posted the same night, the bride had to wait for her gallery to get it... much higher quality and color but her friends shared this memory with her the same night! Remember to use the couples hashtag if they have one!

Low Resolution Upload

Tip 9: Reception Is Your Time to Shine!

The reception is a huge party, its time to hang out with your loved ones, friends and a beer!! Snap away with those snapchat filtered photos! As a wedding photographer I cannot be in all places at once, especially during the busy reception! Often times I notice a family or a group of old college friends gathering to take a selfie and I will take it on their cell phones for them and then one with my camera! I love when that happens... win-win!

Tip 10: Enjoy Yourself- Put Your Phone Down

You were invited to enjoy yourself! Take this moment to celebrate, be present and soak up the time unplugged! Trust me, I am preaching to myself when I write this! I mean I take pictures of everything and anything and work from my phone at times! A time to unplug would be something we all need.

I hope this gives you clarity as a guest or as a bride informing her guests, on how to appropriately use their phones during a wedding!

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