Another day, another wedding photographer having to grapple with the scourge of phone-toting guests filming, snapping and Instagramming everything they’d been hired to do. However Thomas Stewart of Australia has found himself in this situation too many times and as the photograph he took below demonstrates quite clearly, enough is enough.
That’s the groom having to peer around the the guests with phones to see his bride to be walking down the aisle.
Thomas spent some time yesterday writing a heartfelt rant on his social media page urging guests to leave their phones and cameras at home and advising soon to be newlyweds to hold their ceremonies unplugged. The post which has since attracted some viral attention has been shared by over 40,000 people with thousands of comments in support of his words. Here’s what he said in full:
Right, I've had enough. I want to talk to you all about guests using mobile phones / cameras at weddings. I want to plead with you, and I'm going to make this very simple: brides and grooms, please have a completely unplugged wedding ceremony. Look at this photo. This groom had to lean out past the aisle just to see his bride approaching. Why? Because guests with their phones were in the aisle and in his way. This sucks. And i'm not blaming these guests in particular; I actually take a large amount of responsibility for this occurring. In the past I should have been more specific with my clients in explaining to them why guests should be told no photos. Well, from now on, I'm going to make a pretty big deal about it. If you're planning a wedding, please consider these points: 1. Guests with phones, iPads and cameras get right in your photographer's way. They have no idea how to stay out of our way. They often ruin many of our shots. They will make our photos worse. You're paying a photographer quite a bit of money; that means you want great photos. We cannot do our best work with people getting in our way. 2. These same guests will get in YOUR way. You will miss moments of your own wedding day because there'll be an iPad in the way. You will miss seeing your partner's face in the aisle. 3. The guests' photos are usually crap. I'm sorry, but it is true. You can't take great photos with your camera phone by leaning into the aisle of a dark church to photograph a moving subject. Hell, even lots of professionals have trouble with this. And finally, the most important point: 4. Imagine you're in the middle of your wedding ceremony. You're elated. You decide to take a quick glance towards your guests as you're sure they're sharing these happy moments with you, possibly even shedding a tear of their own. What do you see? NO FACES AT ALL AS THEY ARE ALL HIDDEN BEHIND PHONES AND CAMERAS! I highly doubt this is the way you want to remember your wedding ceremony. In your invites, tell everyone you're having an unplugged ceremony: no technology, please, Write it on a chalkboard which guests can see as they arrive on the day. Tell your celebrant / minister / priest to tell the guests at the start of the ceremony. HIRE A PLANE TO WRITE IT IN THE SKY! And guests, you've been invited to this wedding to share and celebrate the love that two people feel for each other. They didn't invite you along to take photographs that they probably won't really look at anyway. They want you there with them in heart and soul, and they want to see your tear-filled eyes as you form part of their wedding ceremony. You are witnesses to their marriage, so for goodness sake, watch them with your eyes and your minds, not your phones. So guests please, for my sake, and for sake of the two people getting married, leave your cameras at home and put your phones / ipads away grin emoticon // end rant //
Perhaps the reason Thomas’ post has garnered the attention it has is not solely because of the message it contains, but his remarkable ability to capture the moment. The photograph depicted is just an outtake from the published wedding album but speaks as many words as any written plea.
Times have certainly changed with the advent of smartphones, but please don’t let that be to the detriment of other people’s special day. Don’t stop taking photographs but please, as Thom urges, use them wisely and with consideration for others.
With thanks to Thomas Stewart for giving Phogotraphy explicit permission to share his picture and words. We wish Caitlin & Tim the best of happiness in their marriage.