Gone are the days of wedding-themed disposable cameras being fixtures of the reception table place setting. Now that nearly everyone carries a far better camera in their pocket at all times, the number of photos taken at weddings has grown exponentially. From the wedding procession, to the ceremony, to the first kiss, there are likely to be guests capturing every moment, along with the professional photographer, of course. But should you really be pulling out your phone during the ceremony? Probably not.
Weddings are one of those still-formal occasions where it’s best to follow the wedding photo etiquette rules to a T. You’re wearing nice clothes, in a church, synagogue, or other house of worship, and you’re celebrating one of the most momentous occasions in a friend or family member’s life. You can put away your phone and your camera for the duration of the ceremony. That’s what the professional photographer and videographer are there for.
This holds true for most weddings. Some couples might actually want friends and family to share candid shots from the entire celebration. How do you tell? If they have invited everyone to use an app like Eversnap or have shared a wedding hashtag to be used on Instagram or Twitter, that’s a sign that they are more likely to be happy guests snapping photos. When in doubt, take your cues from the guests who are closest to the bride and groom. If they aren’t using their phones to take photos, keep yours securely stashed away.
For those weddings where you do have the green light to take photos during the ceremony follow these rules:
1. PUT YOUR PHONE IN AIRPLANE MODE
If your phone is out to take photos, only use it to take photos. Putting it in airplane mode or turning on the do not disturb function will prevent you from being distracted by email, Facebook, or text messages.
2. TURN OFF THE SOUND
Even if your phone is in airplane mode your camera shutter could still make noise, and has the potential to interrupt the ceremony.
3. TURN THE FLASH OFF
Your phone’s flash really isn’t that strong. If you’re more than 3 feet from the happy couple, it won’t make much of a difference, and will just startle your fellow guests.
4. LIMIT YOUR PICS TO THE PROCESSIONAL AND THE FIRST KISS
Otherwise. If you’re holding up your phone to try to get a good angle, you’re going to be disruptive to the people sitting around you.
Once the reception starts, you have the go-ahead to use your camera freely. During the party the wedding photographer can’t be everywhere at once, so you will likely get a few candids to share with the bride and groom later. And if they have set up a shared album in a wedding photo app, use it. What a gift for the couple to be able to see their wedding from their friends’ perspectives the next day.
One final word of advice: Think twice before posting photos of the bride. Yes, you’re eager to share the fun with friends who couldn’t make it, but you’re effectively revealing the bride’s dress in a candid photo before she’s had a chance to share one of her professional photos. Times are changing, and that probably won’t be a big deal for long, but keep in mind how socially savvy the bride is and whether or not she’ll care.