Two weddings, two signs that got me thinking
We live in a digital world, I use digital cameras all the time and the vast majority of wedding guests are carrying a device with a camera on it 24/7
So it's pretty likely that the digital world is going to have an impact on your wedding in one way or another unless of course you decide that's not what you want and you want to go 'unplugged' and ask your guests not to take photographs and/or to not post anything online
Back to these two signs and here we have one wedding where the Bride & Groom are positively embracing the digital world and social media by having their own hashtag. On the flip side of that we've got a wedding where the newlyweds have asked their guests to maintain 'radio silence' albeit for a portion of the day. They had more guests arriving later on and they wanted to keep the surprise of their day until the evening guests had actually arrived
But of course, the impact on the day is not simply whether your guests are sharing their photos online or not, it's also the act of them taking photographs that becomes a part of the day
Before the ceremony the Vicar, Priest or Registrant will often ask people to put their phones away so during the arrival of the bride it tends to be phone free. But afterwards, when the fake register has been set up, guests are invited up to take photographs and it's smart phone city!!
Does this impact on my ability to do my job? Not at all! I embrace it and just see it as another element of the day to document
We also shouldn't forget the ubiquitous 'selfie' (what did we call it before that word was invented?!)
I see myself as an observer at a wedding and try to be as inconspicuous as possible (easier said than done when you're 6' 3"!!) so everyone feels relaxed and behaves more naturally. Which of course means that selfie lovers are going to take selfies! Rather than seeing this as any sort of interruption to me being able to do my job I actually see it as a photo opportunity in itself.
Where observation and experience comes into play though is that sometimes it's not just them taking the selfie which makes for a photo opportunity, it's also their reaction afterwards, when they look at what they've just taken
Other people taking photos during the wedding has also given me some of my favourites photographs like this one prior to the arrival of the Bride. It took fast reaction on my part to get this shot of the Groom and Best Man photobombing the group selfie that some of their guests were taking. I love how it really captures a moment and I know it's a shot that the couple love!
Here we have another one where there is so much going on, it's a truly multi-layered photograph
At the time, the Bride & Groom were having a bit of time away from their guests for me to get some couple shots. The wedding reception was in the Bride's parents back garden and although we'd gone down to the bottom of the garden we were still pretty close to their guests
With the Bride & Groom sitting, enjoying each others company, we have three guests on the right, having a drink and taking it all in under the gazebo.
To the left is the videographer, who had followed us down the garden but then turned his camera towards the four guests in the centre, lined up with their phones in hand, all eager to get their snapshot of the happy couple
I think that at that moment, the couple only had eyes for each other and were unaware of the spectators. But for me, it created a wonderful example of how technology and weddings become intertwined, the photographer photographing the videographer who is filming the guests who are photographing the Bride & Groom!
Someone asked me the other day if I'd prefer to photograph an unplugged wedding rather than one where lots of the guests are taking photographs. Well, at the risk of sitting on the fence, I really don't mind.
I'm there to photograph the wedding day, and everything that happens. So if a couple ask their guests to put their phones away and leave me to take all of the photographs, great, I'll crack on with what I do best
If they have their own hashtag and positively embrace the digital world, well that just gives me even more moments to photograph of all their guests creating their Facebook and Instagram posts!
I hope that you've enjoyed reading this blog, it would be lovely to read your own thoughts about the hashtag vs unplugged debate in the comments section at the bottom
You can also read more about ideas for your big day in the hints and tips section