Do you ban guests from bringing cameras to a wedding?

In the last few years Ive noticed more and more photographers that I’ve worked with are asking couples to not allow guests to bring cameras or other devices. Seriously, holding a regular sized iPad to take pictures or video just looks silly.

Recently at my daughter’s play, a mom was in the front row holding her iPad up and blocking the view of those sitting behind her. She was so happy and proud seeing her child on stage, it was cute yet the people behind her had to adjust so they could see.

Anyways, I never really fully pondered the thought or worried about potential issue until my last wedding when an over zealous guest jumped in front of me and ruined many shots of the couple coming down the isle. There wasn’t anything I could do but hope my assistant got the shot. I’ve seen articles where guest’s have ruined shots because of on camera flashes. Thank goodness, I didn’t have that issue and hope I can avoid that in the future.

This experience left me frustrated and truthfully after seeing the actually image from the family member on Facebook, I just had to shake my head. They are probably super proud of those images and getting it onto social media within hours.

Im glad they are happy but the couple was paying me to get those shots. Heres a side by side of her jumping in and me unable to get the shot I needed:

Unfortunately the space I was in was so tiny I had no leverage to move leading to a ruined shot.

Is this is lesson learned or just expect this in general at weddings? Im still pondering.

Im torn, I think its great people can take bring cameras and cell phones and yes even iPad’s to capture whats dear to their hearts but how can you avoid an issue such as this while the guest is blissfully ignorant in what they did AND keep the bride and groom happy?

As of now, I won’t do a ban but I will let the couple choose what they would like to do and use this image an example. Unfortunately, you cannot teach people common sense or awareness but you can educate those paying for images. For now on, my wedding contracts will warn of such potentials and advice with options for the couple who want to make sure this doesn’t happen. And if it does happen, they were warned.

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