Are You Missing the Moment? | Pittsburgh Wedding Photographers

Pittsburgh Wedding Photographers-0003 Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. As a parent, relative or friend you follow the story and relationship all the while wondering if it will go all the way. Boy and girl become part of each others families, bonds are created, relationships solidified. Then boy and girl get engaged and plan that spectacular wedding. As that relative or friend, you hear tidbits about the plans for that special day. You receive that lovely invitation in the mail. You buy a new outfit for that wedding day. You're excited. You're thrilled. You're stoked that these young people you have been getting to know as a couple for a year or more is taking the plunge. You're emotionally invested in this wedding day because you've watched this relationship develop and you're happy. You're happy to be invited to that special day and be a part of such an important day for such an important couple.

Then you spend your day with your camera phone or iPad in your face instead of watching the day unfold right in front of your face, live and beautiful for all to see. This has always perplexed me for a ton of reasons so when I heard WESA 90.5fm say one of their segments was titled "Overexposed: Camera Phones Could Be Washing Out Our Memories" know I was going there.

I'm quite sure this comes as no surprise to you, but in this article, a few people discuss how focusing on taking so many photos of every little thing actually detracts from the experience of that moment. In fact, one of the psychologists interested in this particular topic did a study with students in her classes. She gave students cameras and sent them to a local museum. She instructed them to observe some objects, while instructing them to take photos of others. And no shock here, they remembered details of the objects they observed much more clearly than the objects they were instructed to photograph.

See where I'm going here? So here you are, so emotionally invested in this wedding day, so excited, all purtied up and ready to celebrate the day....all while standing right next to, directly behind or (the worst) in front of the professional photographer that's not emotionally invested in this day quite like you are and is paid to capture those moments, not experience them. See, we got this. We are there to capture all those moments specifically so you don't have to.

It's not just about getting in our way. You are actually taking away from your own experience here. You are actually impeding your own enjoyment and memories of the day because you insist on getting out your camera to get the shots the pro just got (like 10 times). And here is the funny part: I bet you don't even look at those photos. They sit in your camera, phone, iPad or computer and get sent away to digital purgatory, never to be heard from or seen again.

For a while now we have sent our clients our Request for Guests to be Unplugged for this very reason (and, of course, to not have to deal with the overly-enthusiastic guests ;-)) Sometimes it helps, most times not. But let me say this too: not only are you taking away from your own experience, a lot of the time you are also taking away from the bride and groom. They just want you to have a good time. They want you to sit back, relax and take in all the effort they've put into this day, just for you. They also want beautiful photos of the day, which is why we're there. So when you insist on getting that shot right at that very moment we all wait to see (the ring exchange, the kiss, the entrance...) you are also taking a big risk of ruining our shot, which is then ruining that photograph for the couple. Booooooo on you.

Why Not to Bring a Camera to a Wedding-0001As a professional photographer, you have to know what's coming up next. In fact, you usually have to know what's coming up in 10 steps so you can be on it. That's what we do. We are forecasters of what's to come and we have to be so we can capture every little moment. Your job is witness those moments. So when you come to the wedding with your big fancy camera and just can't seem to put it down, then you run the risk of ruining a moment that was supposed to be captured for the bride and groom to see later. That moment when the last 2 soldiers in a sabre arch smack the bum of the bride as she walks thru and she throws her head back and laughs to the stars. Boooooo on you. If this person would have put the camera down, they would have gotten to see this live and giggled at this moment and joined in all the laughs with those around them. Instead taking the photo was more important, missing the moment completely because I guarantee after the photo was taken they were too interested in looking at the back of that fancy camera with the fancy flash to make sure they got the shot (and feeling totally disappointed when they realized that my flash killed their photo, just like theirs did mine). So not only did they not get to enjoy the moment, they don't even have the photo to look back on. And now, neither does the bride and groom. Boooooooooooooooo.

So you have to ask yourself: how do you want to experience this wedding day? Thru your eyes or thru the lens? The choice is yours but I say you may actually want to put a teensy bit of faith into the photographers paid to capture those moments.

Experience this day. Pull it in, feel the joy, the tears, the laughter and alllll the love. I guarantee the conversation at breakfast the next day will be so much more entertaining if you do. Instead of everyone telling you everything that happened at the wedding, you will get to relive it together, from the memories you watched, lived and participated in. Doesn't that sound like fun?? ;-)