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Wedding Guests Taking Photos Over Your Shoulder

September 10, 2012 - How To, Photography

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Dear Jasmine,
I have no problems with guest taking photos but some shots, like the portraits, I'd really like to be exclusive. The bridesmaids will sometime bring out cameras and iphones, how do I tell them basically to STOP LOL, you can take all the shots you want when I'm am done….without sounding like a “b@#$h”. Or should I, knowing my photos will be better anyway. Thanks!!
Love,
Ms. Exclusivity

Dear Ms. Exclusivity,
It's a commonly held belief that the glass is either half empty or half full. However, I recently read that the glass is, simply, filled half way. Empty or full, it's beside the point. So what does this have to do with guests leaning over your shoulder to snag your photo? I think it's best to view this situation the same way…as a statement of fact instead of determining how you feel about it.

Listen, we know family, friends, and wedding guests will take photos, so I suggest instead of feeling at odds with it, the important thing is to stay in front of it. For instance, at a recent wedding, X followed me as I stylized the bride's personal details (shoes, dress, jewelry, etc) and as the bride prepared taking photos every step of the way. Because I wasn't competing for anyone's attention, I remained silent. It wasn't until the bride and bridesmaids posed for pictures that I paused and said, Okay, ladies, everyone is going to look at X's camera for a photo and when X is finished, everyone will look directly at my camera!

What I just did was: 1. announce a set moment for X to photograph the group and; 2. announce there will be a moment that I will be the only person shooting (and, no, the photo above wasn't from the wedding I'm referencing). Essentially, I stayed in front of that awkward moment when the bride/bridesmaids don't know which camera to look. This same announcement may be made at a later point in the day during family portraits, when grandmas, aunties, and cousins want to document the moment on their own. The important thing is to publicly grant permission, then take charge and take the photo you know will likely be better than everyone else's. But that's not the point. Sure, your photo may be technically better than Grandma Jo's, but to Grandma Jo, her photo has more sentimental value because she saw the moment, and she captured it. If you tell Grandma Jo (or X or anyone else for that matter) not to take a photo (though your reasons may have the best intent), what you're really telling her is that her photo doesn't matter as much as yours. And that couldn't be further from the truth. Friends and family need to feel like the cherished guests they are, not like a hurdle to what you do.

Your glass–and every wedding photographer's glass–is filled half way, so stay in front of the situation so you can later look back and see the situation as full. Always half full.

Stay Fabulous,
j*

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