Wedding guests: how NOT to behave towards a wedding photographer

Another post for guests! Two in one day! I’m on a roll here, but after an interesting social media chat with some of my wedding photographer friends, I found out that not all of you have been behaving very well at other people’s weddings *wags finger*, more specifically some people have been giving wedding photographers a hard time.

So to help you understand what’s OK and not OK at a wedding, I’ve put together a few rules about how to behave around a wedding photographer. This isn’t for your benefit, or theirs, it’s for your dear friends who have probably paid hundreds to thousands of pounds to have their big day captured, and to host you there. It’s to make sure they get the best pictures possible.

To illustrate my point, I’ve included some really lovely shots of my friends and family on our wedding day, by photographer Rick Bronks of Satureyes. The idea is to show you just how nice it is to have gorgeous pictures of people you love enjoying celebrating with you.

How NOT to behave towards a wedding photographer

Don’t take unauthorised pictures

Sometimes, for a very specific reason, a photographer will ask that nobody take pictures, or flash pictures, during certain big moments of the day. This isn’t because they’re mean, or because they’re worried your shots will be better, it’s because your flash going off at the wrong time, or you jumping in the aisle or getting in their way to get a better shot will ruin the picture.

There are plenty of opportunities to take lovely pictures of the bride and groom throughout the day, so leave the official moments to the photographer, or (if you’re allowed) take pictures from whatever angle you’re at and be mindful of using flash.

Don’t refuse to have your picture taken / look angry in the photos

I mean this in the kindest way possible: don’t be self-important or precious about pictures. Do you want to be the one killjoy who isn’t in their precious set of memories? Or who’s scowling at the photographer? Do you want to be the person who’s rude to someone your friends have hired to do a very important job for them?

No matter how rubbish I think I look, when that wedding photographer comes my way, I smile and stand there until they have a picture that looks like I’m having the best time EVER. Because that’s what will make my friends happy when they look through their wedding album.

Also, a great photographer will get a candid snap of you no matter what you do and you won’t even be aware of it. So there.

Don’t make stupid faces in all the photos

I get it. Having your picture taken can feel uncomfortable, especially if you’re not used to posing on command. A lot of people do the default “silly” face. That’s fine for your own pictures, and maybe for a couple of pics, which will make the bride and groom laugh, but try to get at least one photo where everyone is just happy and smiling, something the couple can proudly show their kids one day!

Don’t be more important than the bride and groom

As I’ve been reliably informed by some fab photographers, some people like having their photo taken a little too much – so much so that they expect the photographer to take more snaps of them than of the bride and groom. Have your moment and move on so that the photographer doesn’t miss anything spectacular while trying to fend you off.

Don’t insist on seeing the back of the camera

We’re very used to instant gratification. It’s the digital age, and we can see instant results with photography. But you’re probably one of 100 guests, not to mention the bride and groom, and if everyone in the room was a diva about their pictures (or worse, insisted on retaking “bad” ones) then the photographer would barely get enough shots to keep the bride and groom happy.

Professional photographers are so named because they’re usually very good at what they do – and that includes catching you at your best. So trust them to take a good shot and if they don’t? Well hey, we all need to laugh at ourselves sometimes.

Don’t touch the equipment

There are drunken antics, then there’s unforgivable rudeness. It’s not OK to grab at or play with a photographer’s kit. Most professional-calibre cameras cost thousands just for the body, forget the lenses and other gear they may have with them. They’re very valuable, and although they’re probably insured it doesn’t give you carte blanche to mess with them.

Another important point is that a smudge or a scratch on a lens can ruin your friends’ pictures.  Keep a polite distance from the photographer and don’t overstep your boundaries.

Don’t share your own pictures without asking first

I was thrilled when the unofficial Facebook pictures started coming in. Some people are a bit precious about their pics though and want to save the big reveal for when the photographer’s pictures are ready. Both are fine, just check with the couple before you hit the upload button.

Don’t share the photographer’s pictures publicly without asking

As a wedding blogger I know to ask the photographer (and, of course, the couple) before I share any wedding pictures. Most lay people, however, don’t know about complex copyright laws and may inadvertently ruin a feature a photographer has planned elsewhere. A good rule to keep in mind is to ask the photographer before you share their pictures anywhere and to always put a credit for the photographer next to the pics. Simples.

Really think before you ask someone to take a picture down

I know how it feels to be really excited to see a set of your friend’s wedding pictures, to click through and, aghast, find a picture of yourself with several chins, a mouthful of food, or worse, drunken sex eyes (you know who you are). But think about how many people will actually click through and bother to stop and gawk at you. Probably not that many. So you don’t look your best in a picture – it’s very annoying receiving multiple requests to take down pictures based on vanity. I’m not saying you should never do it, everyone has their own boundaries, but just ask yourself if it’s really necessary before you pick up the phone or type that email.

A wedding is all about the bride and groom – it’s good to keep that in mind when you’re interacting with the photographer, particularly if you’re snap happy like me. Don’t let your ego, your distaste for pictures of yourself or your enthusiasm get in the way of a great shot for your friends. 

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