Wedding Photo Ruined by Guest or Wedding Photographer?

Did the wedding photographer ruin this wedding photo or did the wedding guest ruin this wedding photo? Mid-July, 2019, a Facebook post went viral and hit a lot of the major news outlets. The post was an open letter from a wedding photographer to wedding guests who use their phones to capture photos at weddings. Who was right and who was wrong? Who ruined the photo and was the photographer right to post it?

Transcription was done by’s automated transcription service which means it’s an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar, and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video.

There’s a Facebook post going viral right now. Definitely in the photo industry. It made Fox News. It’s made up a bunch of different news channels and I’m curious on your take on it, especially if you’re a wedding photographer. Hey, this is Scott Wyden Kivowitz, a storyteller with a camera talking about all the things photographers like you and I are thinking about in this video. I want to talk about a wedding photographer who’s kind of pissed at wedding guests. Now, this went viral on July 11th when this photographer posted on Facebook on July 11th I’m going to share a screenshot of this. I did not take the photos. I did not post the post on Facebook. I am just sharing this and I’m curious on your thoughts on this topic. I’m going to share my thoughts after I read this to you, posted to the girl with the iPhone. Not only did you ruin my shot, use the word photo, not the word shot please, but you took this moment away from the groom, father of the bride and the bride.

What exactly do you plan on doing with that photo? Honestly, are you going to print it out, save it, look at it every day? No, you’re not. But my bride would have printed this photo, looked at it often and reminisced over this moment as her dad walked her down the aisle on her wedding day. But instead you wanted to take a photo with your phone and blocking my view and taking a photo that you will not use. Guests. Please stop viewing weddings. You attend their screen, but instead turn off your phone and enjoy the ceremony. You are important to the bride and groom. You would not be attending the wedding otherwise. So please let me do my job and just sit back, relax and enjoy this once in a lifetime moment. Sincerely, wedding photographers and then she signed Hanaway photography. Now here’s the thing. First and foremost, she should not have signed it.

Wedding photographers and [inaudible] be speaking for other wedding photographers because not all wedding photographers feel the way that she feels. Trust me, many do, but not all wedding photographers do. Now me personally, when I am at a wedding, first and foremost, I’m looking at what the wedding photographers are doing because it’s in my nature to be interested in what the photographer is doing at an event. I am not a wedding photographer, but I love seeing what they do and if I am attending a wedding, I am not, they’re taking pictures of the bride and groom more of the family and stuff like that. If I am attending a wedding, the only time that my phone would be out taking a picture would be is if my wife is actually in the wedding party, like a bridesmaid, and I would want to take a picture of her because yes, the wedding photographer might be getting a picture of her at some point, but the wedding photographers can be focused on the couple.

Majority of the time you won’t see me getting into photographers way at a wedding. My phone will be in my pocket majority of the time. Now, of course it is in each person’s right to take pictures at a wedding, especially if they’re, you know, if they’re part of the family, they’re gonna want to have pictures for themselves. Like Hannah said, what are they going to do with it? She’s right. Most likely nothing but shared on Facebook. So I, in a way, I agree with Hannah because why should the guests share the photo on Facebook when the photographer is going to be supplying a whole ton of photos to the couple for them to share on Facebook. And it’ll be much better quality photos, hopefully if you hired a good wedding photographer, much better quality wedding photos than what you could do with your phone. But what irks mean is that she’s trying to speak for other wedding photographers.

I don’t like when people do that. So I encourage Hannah and others to not speak for other wedding photographers. Yes, you shared your opinion. Uh, I may not have done that in a Facebook post. Yes, it did go viral. Uh, it’s not, that’s not going to help your brand cause well, I wrote an article on Linkedin and description below about how going viral could do absolutely nothing for you. And this is one of those cases where it’s not going to get you more wedding photography business by writing this post. It might actually scare people away. Uh, but it, unless you’re marketing yourself as a, as a a unplugged wedding photographer where you require your clients that are your clients and their guests to not have phones out. If that’s the case, then this is the perfect video for, to go a perfect article rather to go viral.

Normally in most situations, this is something that will not help you in any way. So, um, you might get some SEO juice from it. If people are linking to your website, most likely they’re linking to the Facebook posts. So if theirs is on your website, that probably would’ve done a little bit better. But anyway, I would not have done this in public. I would have contacted your bride and groom and said, look, this photo was ruined because of a guest. I just wanted to point this out to you. This is why I recommended you having an unplugged wedding right now. Um, that would have been in private. The other thing is Hannah pointed out that that the photo was ruined. The photo was ruined, that the bride and groom can’t have that photo. Well, it good wedding photographer would have probably a dozen or two dozen photos like that in a moment of a specific par, especially the father of the bride walking the bride down the aisle as a photographer, move, adjust your angle, adjust your height.

Let’s say somebody is like this and you’re walking and you’re trying to get this photo and the phone’s in the way and move them out of the way. Get them out of your way. You are the hired photographer of that wedding there just to guest do your job and respectfully get the distractions out of the way. It’s part of being a professional photographer is knowing how to handle these situations. That’s where this sort of rant that Hannah put out there is getting a lot of heat from the photo industry because she, in my opinion, could done something about the situation at that given moment. She could have had a second photographer and assistant somebody to handle the situation so that she didn’t have to do it, or she could have handled it herself. But I am curious about what you would do in this situation. So comment down below and let me know and be sure to click that subscribe button so that you get the next video. I publish new videos every Monday and Thursday. You don’t want to miss it.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I am not a wedding photographer, but an advanced amateur.
    I have recently attended two weddings and was disturbed by the phone photographer’s at both.
    At the first, my son’s, was a casual beach ceremony. There was little planning, I was asked in advance to take some traditional shots, no fee. I was the only one there with a “real” camera. Several times I had to move phone photographers who just stepped in front of me to get their shot. One was especially annoying as she had decided to video the whole ceremony for herself, even when I had staged the shot. Thank goodness for post processing to remove the phones and her arm.
    The second was a niece, who had hired a professional and clearly printed on the program that guest were to not take pictures of the ceremony. As soon as the processional started, out came the cell phones. There were others reminding the offenders to put their phone away, but there were still a dozen phones stuck out or held up. It may be a bad moment for the photographer, but is also a downer for the bride and her moment not being the way she wanted it.
    I agree the professional should have an assistant to correct these bad actors, but it is difficult without causing a disruption in the short ceremony. It is also why I take pictures of flora, landscapes, and birds.

  2. I have to say I haven’t had someone actually stick their phone directly into the aisle like this when I have been shooting a wedding. In this case, I would have simply walked up and got another shot. People are going to pull their phones out even when the bride and groom have asked people not to have them out.

  3. I get where you are coming from with this, but as a full-time wedding photographer, I can tell you that moment where the bride is coming down the aisle and Uncle Bob is holding his iPad in your lens can be a VERY brief moment. The number of photos you get of that moment really depends on the length of the aisle. A lot of the weddings I shoot are small to mid-sized and the aisles are not very long at all. In a lot of cases, as a photographer, you don’t have a lot of choice but to let Uncle Bob do his thing and try your best to shoot around him. There usually isn’t a lot of time to handle things diplomatically. That’s why there are so many clips online of photographers quite literally pushing people out of the way of the shot. As far as having as assistant, I would rather them be grabbing another angle of the moment in case Uncle Bob decides to camp out. I understand people are excited on a wedding day. It IS exciting, and in this day and age it is only natural to pull out your phone for everything. I tell myself it’s totally a gesture of love and enthusiasm on Uncle Bob’s part, but it also seems like an act of courtesy not to be focused on your cell phone during a wedding ceremony. No one’s fault really, and not to say that this photographer in question handled it right or wrong, but weddings are a league all their own in regard to being ready for anything. That’s for sure.

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