The Wedding Guest’s Guide to Taking Photographs

Guide for Wedding Guests in Taking Photos
Photos by Mimi and Karl.

One of the great things about social media sites like Instagram, Facebook or other photo-sharing platforms is that they allow you to share your experience at a wedding through pictures. Most people these days have a fancy digital camera that they use for such occasions and if not, the cameras on smartphones have advanced in leaps and bounds. This means that there are many ways to take memorable pictures, no matter what level of photography skills you have. Even a total amateur can create warm and colorful shots from a smartphone.

There is some advice you should follow when taking photographs as a guest at a wedding. Of course you want to take lots of photographs so you can remember the lovely day you had but it is important to be a courteous guest. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when snapping away:

1. Do not get in the way of the professional photographer.

Couples pay a lot of money for the services of a professional photographer. While they appreciate the many wonderful photos that guests can share with them after the event, you really shouldn’t bother the professional photographer on the day. Often, they are only present for a little while to take a certain amount of photos in a particular style. Don’t take photos at the same time, from the same angle – you’ll get in the way and could ruin that one perfect picture. Look around you before taking a photo to ensure you don’t disrupt the professional’s carefully lined-up frame.

If you fancy yourself as being quite handy with a camera, now is not the time to discuss exposure levels and lens options with the professional photographer. Don’t distract them from their job, and don’t try to direct them when they’re taking pictures. Relax, step back and let the professional handle the portraits.

2. Don’t disrupt the main event.

Stay in your place during the ceremony and don’t stand up or move away from the other guests to take photos. For instance, if the professional photographer is capturing images of the ceremony, don’t lean out into the aisle to take your own photo. Make a note to turn the sound off on your camera or phone before the ceremony begins – can you imagine disturbing the reverent silence as the vows are read with the little ‘ding’ of a camera app? How embarrassing.

3. Use flash sparingly.

In a well-lit or outdoor environment, the bride and groom don’t need the flash of a dozen smartphone cameras destroying the romantic atmosphere. Besides this, photos taken from a distance in the dark with flash are rarely flattering. It’s fine to snap a few selfies during the evening with your friends up-close, but think about what you’re doing. You don’t want to blind the bride and groom as they have their first dance together! There’s a difference between capturing a moment, and ruining it.

Wedding Guests Etiquette: Taking Photographs

4. Capture spontaneous moments.

While the professional photographer’s task is to observe the wedding, you get to participate in it. This can lead to so many opportunities for interesting shots that a professional doesn’t come across. You might chance upon an adorable moment with the flower girl, or a sweet shot of the couple talking before they cut the cake. If you keep an eye out you can catch some truly special moments that will make for a wonderful collection of intimate photographs.

5. Be patient.

During the professional group shots you should not take your own – it can cause the wedding party to look at the wrong camera. Most couples will first take some professional photos and then repeat the poses and groupings for their friends and family. Don’t mess with the scheduled line-up by being impatient.

Instagram and Weddings

6. Take lots of pictures of yourself and the other guests having fun at the wedding.

This is the whole point of taking photos as a guest. The married couple will be eager to see how the day went from your perspective. They want you to enjoy the ceremony, the decorations, the meal and the entertainment. Show them just how much fun you and the other guests had and they will be delighted with any pictures you take.

P.S. If you’d like to turn your wedding photos on Facebook and Instagram into a digital and printed photobook, click here.

Turn Instagram photographs to an iPad photo album and a printed wedding photobook.

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