Should Photographers Request an Unplugged Wedding from Brides?

Dear Jasmine,

I have a question about ‘unplugged weddings'.  Personally, I'm all for it–nothing makes me happier than the thought of brides putting the kibosh on Uncle Bob's DSLRs, or every single person on their phone in the background of a first dance, or someone stepping into the aisle with a tablet…

Have you ever thought about asking your brides to consider having an unplugged wedding?  I'm not sure if that makes me look unprofessional?  I've been reading about some photographers requiring there to be no other cameras present during the day, and that sounds a little like heaven to me.

But again, I'm not sure if it's right. What are your thoughts on this?


Kibosh the Kameras


Dear Kibosh the Kameras,

When I shot my first wedding 10 years ago, there were–maybe–two guests with cameras.  At the most recent wedding I shot, every guest had a camera.  Take a moment and soak that in.  Every. Single. Guest.

These guests were personally invited by the bride and groom, all treasured people in their lives.  Guests traveled across the world to be there, grandma's lower lip quivered when she saw her granddaughter walk down the aisle, and the groom's brother flew in from serving in Iraq.  At one point or another throughout the wedding day, guests wanted to capture the moment on their camera.  It was their memory, their vantage point, they wanted to keep as their own.

No matter how superior my technical skills or artistic impression may be, guests want to capture the moment…for themselves.

As a result, I wouldn't ask my clients for an unplugged wedding.  Ever.  My request would mean that my photo is more important than grandma's photo.  And it's not.  Both photos are equally as important, albeit for different reasons.  Would I prefer to shoot an unplugged wedding?  YES.  Guests are present, there are less distractions, and it's much prettier to photograph without all the clutter of guests' cameras.  But it's not my decision to make.  I follow my clients' lead to ensure they're happy and get the day of their dreams.

It's Not About Us,