In the right hands, most modern smart phones can take amazing photos in optimum conditions. Their ability, ease of use, and convenience has turn many of your friends and family and enthusiastic personal journalists. Eat a great meal, post a photo. See a concert, post a photo. Attend a wedding, post a photo. In the Summer of 2017, we observed up to 50% of wedding guests journaling the wedding — cocktail in one hand, phone in the other. 


The noticeable damage smart phones do to your wedding isn't at the ceremony, or the reception, it's during preparation before the wedding. During hair, make-up and formal dressing even the most carefully crafted timelines go astray and smart phones make it worse. Even if everyone's running late, we see many well-meaning bridesmaids, mothers, aunts, hair & make-up artist and others in your orbit delay momentum even more by taking photos. Professional cameras are fast and capture life on the fly, smart phones are slow and everyone has to stop what their doing to be in a photo. Now multiply that delay times 100. Also, the fear-of-missing-out urges take over and everyone whips out their phone so a simple fleeting moment turns into a huge (to use an old phrase) Kodak Moment—and it happens 30 times or more before a wedding. Couples who actually tell us in consultations they don't want a lot of posed photos from their professional photographer end up being a prisoner to the army of smart phones. Your well-meaning friends didn't hear about your request regarding posed photos. What's the result? The wedding party is behind schedule and the professional photography service you hired gets compromised. The moments we scheduled for fun group photos get cut short and everyone feels rushed. The great photos we wanted to capture of the flower girls are limited because 10 or more smart phones had the young ones corner inside in bad light. 


Make a gentle verbal request to everyone in your pre-wedding preparation party to minimize smart phone photography. Also, ask them to refrain from all smart phone photography while your hired professional photographer is in the room. Their role is to get dressed on time, be available to help you with instant requests, and look great in the background of your photos. Their job is not to photograph the wedding.


You should also tell your pre-wedding inner circle that your Love & Lens photos we be available for public viewing and anyone can download a photo we capture, so our camera is their camera, too. That's an important thing to convey to relatives. Often parents, aunts and uncles feel like they need to shoot the same thing we do because they'll never see the professional photos or we're going to charge a lot of money to see them. We won't hide the photos and they'll get full access. If an Auntie sees a photo she likes in your wedding gallery, she presses the Download button and she gets an electronic copy at far higher quality than her smart phone can capture. 


We don't recommend the "please put your smart phones away" signs common today at wedding ceremony. First, many guests will not obey your printed request and will use their device anyway. If it becomes a real problem (relatives with iPads blocking the aisle), your photographer or officiant will say something but that's very very rare. A casual guest taking a photo in their chair won't make anyone late, or delay them from getting a great professional photo capture in better light. 


We've watched this trend for a few seasons now, and few wedding guests actually contribute photos to a couples custom hashtag. One suggestion is to privately ask one or two of your better friends (not assigned another job at the wedding - important), who have a talent for documenting with a smart phone, to share their images from your day. Another suggestion? Trust your professional photographer and encourage your friends and family to celebrate, not document. After all, astronaut Neil Armstrong went to the moon and came back with 8 photos – Love & Lens will provide you with hundreds from your wedding.