How Wedding Guests Can Destroy Your Pro Pics

posted 3 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
1248 posts
Bumble bee

oh that is such a sad article!! I’ve always been extremely annoyed by guests taking pics in the aisle. and to see how the flash ruins those great shots is def disappointing. I’m posting this article on FB! Thanks for sharing!

Post # 4
5935 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

I can’t count how many times I’ve seen this article posted by photographers on WeddingBee. While I’m sure it does happen, as you can clearly see from these photos, I don’t think it’s as often as someone might think. I had zero problems with this at my wedding and I know for a fact people were taking pictures…because they sent them to me afterwards. And guess what? I was so thankful for them because it took almost 2 months before I got to see a single pro picture.

A simple announcement at before the ceremony stating “The couple asks that anyone taking pictures please turn off their flash and avoid the aisle. Thanks” would fix these problems and still allow for guests to get the pictures they cherish…and the bride and groom will also.

Post # 5
172 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@PassionatePhotoLady:  I honestly thought unplugged weddings and photographers comments about guest issues might be overreacting a little, just because all of the weddings I had been to were totally fine (guests were appropriate, used their own phones and cameras but didn’t get up or ruin anything, etc). Then a few weeks ago, I went to a wedding where one of the guests was constantly trying to get good shots. She blocked my view of half the first dance, had a flash continually going off, and I’m sure was in the background of several of the important reception shots. She didn’t get in the way of the ceremony (that we noticed), but her flash did keep going off which impacted the photographer’s lighting.

FI and I decided to do an unplugged ceremony (and maybe reception) because we would hate to have those pictures. This article just made me more confident in that choice!

Post # 6
1287 posts
Bumble bee

As a pro photographer, yes, this happens a lot, but again, as a pro photographer that does tons of weddings a year, i know how to avoid the annoying guests 🙂


Post # 7
11588 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I get where you’re coming from, and I’ve seen this debate before (If you search, this exact article and exact discussion has already taken place, as the article was posted about six months ago).

HOWEVER, that’s not all weddings, and that’s not all guests.  I personally think unplugged weddings, and demanding that I not take photos are certain times, is a bit rude and goes too far.  Yes, this is the biggest day of the couple’s lives, but as an invited guest, this couple is either family or dear friends, and their day is a big moment in my life too.  I would like a few photos to memorialize it as well without paying the exorbitant fees to get the pro pictures later, or having a watermarked version.

I did not have an unplugged wedding.  My guests did not ruin a single photo.  Honestly, some of my favorite photos are candids shot by my guests that may not be professional quality, but show the love and happiness of the day so incredibly clearly.  It would be really unfortunate for me to have missed those photos.  Furthermore, the people I invited were very special to me, and I trusted them to act appropriately, to shut off their phones, and not get in the way of the photographer.  I didn’t hear a cell phone ring or text message beep, and my photos – both professional and personal – came out fantastic.

Post # 8
2637 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2006

Wow. I never really understood why photogs were so militant about NO FLASH but, like, obviously. Duh. Wow. 

Post # 9
1013 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@PassionatePhotoLady:  Bees are probably going to crucify you for posting this, because I think I once said the same thing on a photography thread, from my experience as a part time wedding photographer, and the response was generally either, “I’m a guest, don’t tell me what to do with me camera/phone/ipad, I want my own photos from YOUR wedding and it’s my right to use my electrionics however/whenever I want” or “photographers should be good enough to work around ‘Uncle Bob’, isn’t that why they get paid the big bucks?”


At my own wedding, I simply asked people not to take photos during out ceremony, and just to be in the moment with us. It was very challenging lighting conditions, and the guests would not have gotten any good shots anyway. I allowed them to take photos during the reception.


Our photographer did a fantastic job, and I got over 300 high quality images from her. I can share them and print them for family members. Even still, MIL recently mentioned that she didn’t like how I “told everyone they couldn’t take pictures” and now she doesn’t have a bunch of her own to choose from to make us an album. She doesn’t want to pay the photographer to print the images, which is my personal preference, even though it means I will get less prints… I would rather pay a professional for a valuable service, and enjoy the better quality.

Post # 10
2419 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’ve shot a fair few weddings and have yet to come across one where flash was ever permitted during the ceremony. And that includes the photographer! At civil ceremonies in the UK, the Registrar (Officiant) will always set out the rules regarding photography at the outset and in the main these will be no amateur photography until after the ceremony and after the marriage certificate is signed. We also have a slightly strange rule that does not permit even the official photographer to take a picture of the couple signing the actual certificate. Instead a blank one is used.

So you really don’t get grief from guests at the ceremony although there will always be someone who has confused the wedding with a paparazzi shoot. At receptions, anything goes, of course.

However, any decent photographer will have tried and true tactics so far as annoying guests are concerned. In the worst case scenario I have “accidentally” stepped backwards onto the toes of unrepentant snappers who insist on crowding my shot. I have also politely but firmly moved people out of my way! But mainly, I remain constantly pleasant and simply ask (if necessary) if I can set up my shots first and that nobody attempts to take flash pictures at the same moment as me. 

While I can see why the theory of unplugged weddings is an attractive one, I think it is a gesture of control that can easily be one step too far. Most couples love to see guest pictures and it is possible to achieve a happy medium without forbidding all photography other than that captured by the professional. 


Post # 11
965 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

I will ask for all cameras and phones to be turned off and put away before the ceremony by our officiant.

“Please take this moment before we begin to turn off and put away all phones and cameras.”

And even though a Bride may think there were no issues, I doubt the photographer showed you the amazing shots that were ruined by your guests. In the article they show the “father daughter dance hug” photo that was ruined, and I doubt when viewing the proofs, the photographer was like “I would have had this awesome shot if your BM didn’t ruin it!”

Post # 12
3989 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

While I agree with most of this article, I think the author has to learn one thing.  The guests aren’t paying her thousands of dollars, the couple is.  She needs to walk up to these people (especially if they’re hanging out in the middle of the aisle) and say, “Excuse me, you’re in my shot.”  Not that hard.

Post # 13
428 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

While everyone at our ceremony was REALLY good about not using phones (besides DH’s family who was live-Skyping it to the international relatives who couldn’t attend) we had a guest who, without EVER mentioning it to us, showed up the day of decided that he was going to be our “Unofficial Photographer”. I didn’t know anything about it until I was walking in with my dad.

He had set up a tripod diagonally behind our ceremony site, and you can see it in some of the pro pics blurring into the background. He was also constantly crashing about in the bushes behind our officient and in general being very distracting (with his red shirt on, too.) 

Our photographer only got ONE shot of our first kiss without him in it. 

I was in such a good mood that I just laughed the entire thing off, but I can easily see how disastrous it could have been. He almost fell in the pond once after tripping over his own tripod.

And guess what? Haven’t gotten a single picture from him of the day.

Post # 14
1013 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013


@rickhurst35:  You have to admit, though, that sometimes a person does suddenly, without warning step into what would have been an amazing shot and ruin it. Even if you get lots of other great images, you still lost that moment, which could have been avoided if “uncle bob” wasn’t trying to tail you and steal your shots.


You would think that people would leave a respectful distance in front of the professional photographer, but alas, that is often not true! I’ve have people push in front of me, try to kneel on the floor behind in front of me, and even flat out ask me to move out of the way so they can get my shot! A lot of times it is children with cell phones or their parent’s cameras… mommy sent junior over with the camera to weave through other guests and take photos. Sure, you can tell people to keep out of the way, to let you get your shots first, etc.,  but perhaps they already ruined a good image.


@abbie017:  If you had a professional/designated photographer, you wouldn’t know if your guest ruined certain images…. because your photographer would not have shown them to you.


I find the bad attitude about someone asking you to put away the camera for an hour or less (most only ask for unplugged ceremonies) to enjoy a meticulously designed and meaningful ceremony, is frankly, incredibly selfish. I get that people don’t value a photographer’s skills as much as they used to, since anyone can buy a decent camera now, but wow, the idea that paying the photographer for a print or two is “exorbitant” is off putting to me as a creative professional. Why do people need a million poorly lit/composed shots of the couple dancing for themselves? You can get nice candid shots with the couple, your family and friends, at the reception. All the couple really wants is for you not to get in the photographer’s way, not to tell you that you can’t take a snapshot with your best friend or with the couple once the main events are out of the way (cake cutting, etc.)


Post # 15
292 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2014


Thank you for this article!  I did not even think of this situation until reading the article – and looking back on previous weddings I’ve been to, I can relate to the author’s point of view.

My wedding is very small, 47-50 guests, all close friends and family, but FI and I hired two photographers so we can have many candid/photojournalistic photos.

I will definitely go for an unplugged wedding (at least for the ceremony, if not the entire wedding), since two professional photographers are more than necessary for such small wedding. 🙂

Post # 16
1287 posts
Bumble bee

@MsBlackberry:  The worst people i’ve encountered are the amateurs..with their wannabe professional cameras following me around all day. I’ve had that happen many, many, many times.  And yell at them.  I’ve put them in their place and told them that if the bride and groom isn’t paying them, to get out of my way and stay out of my way, and if the bride and groom is paying them, i’d be glad to let them take over and I’ll leave (per my contract).  

I’ve also had videographers that follow too close and jump in our way to get their shots.  So it’s not always the guests LOL

We do have a lot of issues at the church for formals. We make an announcement when we start NOT TO TAKE photos while we are shooting because it messes up with our flash, that we will give them a chance to take their shot after we get our “3 shots of the group” in first.   That usually helps. My assistant is always yelling at family members to at least turn off their flashes during this time.  It gets frustrating.


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