Will You Unplug Your Wedding to Avoid Uncle Bob?
Hey ladies, an interesting and thought provoking guest post on the blog today regarding wedding guests and the use of cameras / iPhones etc at your wedding… In the grand scheme of wedding planning is this something you’ve even thought about and if so, are any of the following points a concern?
Guest Post by Emily Buchanan of Howling Basset
To those not in the know, the title of this post might seem pretty obscure. Who is Uncle Bob? How does one unplug a wedding? It is not being amplified. It is not an acoustic set. The bride is not connected by a wire to a socket in the wall. Indeed, these are all legitimate quandaries, and ones that I shall clarify.
Since the digital revolution enveloped the entire world, everyone (including your wedding guests) gained access to 24-hour-connectivity. This, inevitably, led to the exposure of people’s private lives and, unpredictably, the contemporary culture of cataloguing life online. These days, it seems, memory is worth nothing unless validated by image.
Unfortunately, this validation of memory, alongside economic cameras, iPhones and amateur guests with semi pro gear, is going to have a very real impact on your wedding. In the last decade, the professional photographer’s plight has become a constant struggle.
Queue Uncle Bob. Scrutinised on pro-photography forums and chastised to the extreme, “Uncle Bobs” (as they’re known in the industry), are those busy-body guest photographers with the best intentions. They are not professional photographers, they are professional photo-bombers, and unnaturally capable of ruining a well-constructed shot. Sure, it’s great that guests want to steal a few images for their Facebook profile, but when this begins to hinder the quality of the portraits you’ve spent good money on, it’s time to reconsider.
After all, those candid, reportage-style pictures that everyone’s been looking forward to may well be hijacked by glaring lenses and the dead-pan faces of loved ones inspecting their LCD screens. It begs the question: how can a guest be truly present if they are distracted by the snazzy machine in their hands? No one can truly say they are engaged in a moment when looking through a lens. Not to mention the fact that, instead of one camera on the bride, there’s now likely to be dozens. Unless one feels confident enough to be unfazed by a day of celebrity status, a retiring bride may well find herself overwhelmed by the force of the flash.
So what’s the answer? In some cases, the professional wedding photographer has changed their contract to avoid Uncle Bob and the increasing difficulty of capturing faces. The contract not only states that they own the sole rights to photograph the wedding, but that their images cannot be shared through social media platforms. This, of course, removes the problem of unaccredited image sharing and puts pressure on guest to buy prints (bearing in mind that it isn’t easy being a professional photographer these days, so those prints become bread-and-butter).
Comparatively, some have argued that no good can come from restricting the guests’ license to document their own lives, not just that of the bride-grooms. And in any case, the act of taking a picture represents a memorable moment, and that can only be a pleasure and privilege, right?
Evidently, it’s a complicated issue and one that isn’t going to be resolved easily. However, there is a growing trend amongst savvy bride-grooms to warn their guests straight off the bat. Increasingly, wedding invitations are adorned with the word ‘unplugged,’ followed by a polite request…
‘We are honoured to have you joining us on this special day, which is why we want you to enjoy yourself without the burden of modern technology. Therefore, we’ve hired a professional photographer to capture the day for everyone and we’ll be sharing these images with you as soon as we can. To make the photographer’s job easier, please respectfully refrain from using your camera at the wedding. We only get to do this once and we want it to be perfect. Thank you!’
Which, when you put it like that, is fair enough. It’s been known for bride-grooms to include an Uncle Bobbed image in the invitation, as an illustration of what they do not want. But is this enough to restrain snap-happy family members and could it be considered passive aggressive? Or, are you of the opinion that it’s your wedding and your guests should be sensitive to your needs?
So my lovelies, this is a huge, huge subject and we haven’t yet touched on the social media aspect… your wedding photos could be on on fb by the end of the day!
Does this lack of control scare the crap out of you? Do you feel pressured about being under the digital spotlight? Are you concerned your guests may get in the way of great photography?
Would you unplug your wedding?
Photo credits captions:
Image 1 – Nora & Troy Photography at www.noraandtroy.com
Image 2 – Jeff Seltzer http://jeffseltzerphotography.com/
Image 3 – ‘Just Say No to Uncle Bob’ Bcreative Tulsa bcreativetulsa.com