By Jill Springer, Jill Christine Design & Photography
Living in a high-tech society has its benefits. We’re able to connect with people and be a part of their daily lives even when we are miles apart. And, we’re able to record and preserve moments to one day show our children and grandchildren. Most of the time, it can be pretty amazing.
But after recently photographing a wedding where the bride was seen in her wedding dress on Facebook before walking down the aisle, I have to wonder if in certain situations we should take a step back from technology.
What does that mean for a wedding? What does “unplugging your wedding” mean, and should you consider it?
Having an unplugged wedding means asking your guests to turn off their phones and put away their cameras. And it means asking them to sit back and relax. In doing so, you allow them to be fully present in the moments unfolding before them.
I believe that you and your guests will enjoy the day more if you follow this simple plan. I also believe that this will ultimately produce better wedding photos for the following reasons:
1. Guests will not distract you from important, once in a lifetime moments. Consider a guest who leans into the aisle with his/her iPad to photograph you walking toward your groom, thus obstructing your view of him and his reaction. Their intentions are good. They’re excited and want to preserve this moment, but often guests do not realize what is going on around them. Professional photographers have lots of experience with photographing moments like these discreetly so as not to become a part of the moment themselves.
2. Guests will not interfere in the photographs your wedding photographer is capturing. For example, you kiss your new husband for the first time and a guest stands up to photograph the moment, either blocking or becoming part of the professional photographer’s photograph. And it’s very likely that it would be a handful of guests all after the same photo. Again, their intentions are good, but they’re not always aware of how they’re affecting the larger scene.
3. This is the one I feel is most important. The candid photographs captured by your professional photographer will show more genuine emotion. It’s hard to show emotion in a photograph when the subject is busy texting or posting images to Facebook. They’re not making eye contact with anyone; they’re not laughing; they’re not crying. Photographers are looking for authentic interactions between wedding guests that simply don’t exist when they are buried in their phones and cameras. Whenever I photograph a first dance, I will also turn to photograph the guests watching the couple, but if they too are busy taking photographs, I can’t see the tears and smiles that this sweet moment would otherwise produce.
If you have hired a professional photographer, one who has not only talent, but a hard work ethic and experience with weddings, then you are in good hands. Trust that person to do their job and give them the most ideal circumstances to make it happen.
If you do this, your memory of your day won’t include a sea of cameras and phones snapping away at you like the paparazzi, but rather lots of laughter, tears, hugs and all of the wonderful emotions that occur when people simply let themselves be present in the moment.