ARE SMARTPHONES AT WEDDINGS A PROBLEM?
One of the things that many wedding photographers complain about is excessive use of smartphones at weddings by everyone; guests, bride and groom, and workers. For some it’s a real nightmare – torture! They complain that they do not know how to manage, or know how to extricate themselves in situations where there is an onslaught of guests trying to photograph the bride and groom, and the photographer has to struggle to find his space.
In fact, the use of smartphones at weddings can be very invasive in some cases, especially when many people are trying to take a picture of a scene together and it leads to high tension. Just think about the bride’s entrance to the ceremony and the guests invading the aisle with smartphones, tablets and every tool that has a camera, to capture the moment. The focus, in these cases, is not so much that the photographer fails to photograph (we’ll talk about this later) but that you risk distorting the sense of what is happening, to turn it into a media circus, to lose the emotional tenderness in the moment. The first to notice the consequences are the newlyweds themselves.
The topic of smartphones at weddings, and especially during the ceremony, has been much discussed (since its widespread use, of course). There are countless articles on the subject, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world where they have launched the concept of an “Unplugged wedding ceremony” with a whole series of tips designed to discourage guests from using cell phones during the ceremony. See, for example, articles by Brides or Wedinspire, which talk about the issue and give advice on how to deal with it. If you want some ideas on what to say or how to tell your guests that this is what you want you can also look on Pinterest here.
What about us photographers? Can smartphones at weddings cause us problems? Many photographers swear that this is the case; perhaps in some specific situations where there is no way to move the frame of the picture and, in particular, when there are particularly intrusive people, then the result can be the perfect storm!
To identify these particular people, who are not always able to manage their behaviour at an event as engaging as a wedding ceremony, we photographers use a specific term “Uncle Bob”, also of Anglo-Saxon origin. This term generally indicates a wedding guest who shoots almost more than the professional photographer, and with an almost professional timing always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time!
To better understand the signs to look out for, watch this funny video by SLF.
WHAT IF THEY WERE AN ASSET?
Okay, so in some cases the use of smartphones at weddings can be a problem for us photographers, it’s undeniable. We at Latitudine41 (Giuseppe and Alessandro), for our part, have made a virtue of necessity and started photographing the use of smartphones at weddings as a documentary series and, to tell the truth, we have a lot of fun! Our approach (you can read more about it here or even here) is to tell the story of the wedding day, the people in it and the interactions between them. Mobile phones are now, for better or worse, part of our lives so why not involve them in the story?
Here are a few photos where the cell phone becomes a main actor:
Our passion is to photograph people in a way that is not only spontaneous and natural but above all that could tell something about the subjects portrayed, revealing an unexpected, unique moment (if you want to learn more about our style, look here)