Handling Guest Photographers: Four Tips for Brides

Let’s be honest, you are a celebrity on your wedding day (and rightfully so). Flawless hair and makeup, a flowing dress, and a brilliant smile . Everyone from your childhood best friend to your Great Aunt Nancy is snapping pics of you, hoping to preserve that moment of shared joy forever. Although this is all part of the magic of your special day, what might this mean for the wedding photographer you’ve spent thousands of dollars on? How are they supposed to capture you in all of your glory when the rest of your world is vying for that same perfect photo?

We asked our photographers, and they came up with some suggestions for making sure that they get the incredible photos you’ve paid them to take while allowing your fan base to catch a few snaps of their own.

“When we got married last Summer, I remember how much I loved seeing the different perspectives our guests’ photos showed of our wedding.  But, communicating with your guests about your expectations is one of the best ways to make sure you have multiple perspectives without hurting your professional photographer’s images.”

– Rachel Anne’s Photography

Handling Guest Photographers | Jerome Pollos PhotographyFour Tips for Handling Guest Photographers:

1. Create a hashtag for your wedding

Use your wedding name date, and encourage guests to use it when tagging wedding day photos.

Example: #samrachel071412 

This way, people can share photos versus feeling as though they have to take as many of their own. A similar suggestions is to have your guests download a photo sharing app, such as WedPics.

2. Add a note in the ceremony programs

Rachel of Rachel Anne’s Photography suggests something along the lines of the following:

“When sharing any exciting photos you take today on Facebook & Instagram, please use #samrachel071412. Then all of our guests photos will be together in one place for us to see! But remember, when you are lining up that perfect shot, please do not interfere with the professional photographer. We can’t wait to see the photos that you, our loved ones, capture today!”

This ensures a celebratory environment for all those involved; like a team effort between guests and the professionals.

Handling Guest Photographers | Blume Photography3. Ask the members of your wedding party to look at your photographer vs. other cameras

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to shoot 15 or 20 frames of one group because people are looking at all the various cameras around me. You try to make sure everyone knows to look at the wedding photographer who was paid to be there. But even then, there are still those eyes that wander to their friend or relative who’s trying to get their attention.”

Jerome Pollos Photography

4. Have your formals away from the rest of the wedding guests. 

The best tip Jerome has is for the family and wedding party session to be held in a secluded area if possible. That way there are no distractions of other cameras.

Handling Guest Photographers | Blume PhotographyAnother route to consider is having an unplugged wedding. In this case, guests are asked to turn off their phones, cameras, and electrical devices in order to be more present at the ceremony. If you like the idea of a more intimate event, this option may be good for you. However, don’t choose this route simply because you think that it’s better for your photographer.

Benjamin Chernivsky explains that professionals should anticipate challenges such as minor distractions, and simply think more actively about how to deliver something to the bride that their guests cannot. He shares his suggestion with brides:

“I am a wedding photographer that cares about you and your wedding guests.  Whenever I see guests with cameras or cell phones or iPads trying to take photographs at weddings, I simply embrace it as a part of the day.  These guests are wanting to lift up their photographic devices because they really do care about what is happening:  they’re witnessing someone close to them go through an incredible ceremony of commitment!  The simple fact of them raising their camera to share these photographs and capture these moments of beauty and commitment is a positive thing!”


Handling Guest Photographers | Blume PhotographyOne last note: If you have a wedding guest who is an aspiring pro photographer, have the courtesy to mention that fact to your photographer.

“Before you tell ‘Best Friend Ben’ it’s OK to photograph right along side your photographer for the day so he can build his portfolio, please have a conversation with your photographer to see if they mind.” 

Jennifer Togal Photography

Photo cred: Jerome Pollos PhotographyBlume Photography.

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