Unplugged weddings… Guests with Cell Phones and Cameras? To be or not to be?

The idea of an “unplugged wedding” isn’t new for 2014 but lately we’re getting more and more questions about it and are being asked for our opinion….so, here goes.


Last year an article was published on Huffington Post by Corey Ann and it went viral.  It’s a great read and an even better compilation of professional images ruined by ‘guest photographers.’  (you can find her post here…)


I’ll keep my opinions short and sweet…

Surprisingly, I will admit that the additional coverage from guest photographers might be of some value to the bride and groom.  It’s almost impossible for a professional team of two or three to be in all places at once.  The fact that everyone has a device that can capture an image is a slight relief to me in a case where we’re off with a bride and groom during a cocktail hour.  I can almost always count on a handful of guests to have cameras and to be capturing SOMETHING.  Not to mention all the selfies…


But now this is Lake Geneva and most cocktail hours are outside at a beautiful resort…in near perfect lighting conditions.  If you look at Corey’s post closely, you’ll see that all of her disgraced images are either from the church or during the reception.  There couldn’t be any two places MORE horribly lit during the day of your wedding.   So what this means is, it takes a professional with expertise and the right gear.  This is a case where it is almost physically impossible for your iPhone, point and shoot camera or even your DSLR with a kit lens (and without a professional quality flash), to take a good picture.


There’s the other side of it…wanting your guests to enjoy themselves.  We’re in a day and age where we document everything; we Instagram our meals, Facebook who we are with and Check-In where we are at.  We share just about anything and everything.   I always question whether or not anyone is in the present?   There is a huge benefit to ditch the device and watch the events unfold in front of your own eyes vs. through a screen.


There’s another side too that’s often not considered; the BRIDE wants to post to HER Facebook her official wedding photos.  Think about it….she’s worked for months planning her dream wedding and the first online announcements and updates are crappy cell phone pics.  Let the bride post the professional images first and then it’s fair game.


It’s clear I don’t share too strong of an opinion one way or another.  Yes, there is a risk that someone will ruin that perfect shot for me.  Yes, I want the first shots online of my bride to be from my camera.  But it’s also not a fight I’m willing to tackle.  I find most brides have either considered the unplugged movement or haven’t heard of it.  The companionship of additional photographers is exciting given they are properly equipped with professional gear.  If you are using some other device though…do yourself a favor and download the image I take from the website.  It’s free and it’ll be light years better…I guarantee it.


And don’t you want the first images the world sees of your wedding to look this good?!


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