Unplugged Wedding for Unbelievable Wedding Photos

Since we became parents last year, my aunt has taken a series of amazing photos of us taking photos of our daughter. Sometimes it’s multiple cameras deep, iphone taking a picture of an iphone taking a picture of an iphone taking a picture of a sweet girl in front of Yosemite falls. These photos crack us us and we enjoy them immensely. It’s almost becoming it’s own genre. At the same time, it’s not necessarily what you’re looking for in your wedding photos. Today we’re talking about the benefits of an Unplugged Wedding. Essentially a wedding where you ask your guests to put their cell phones away, let the photographers do their job, and just enjoy the moment.

it’s not about ruining your photos but rather making them great

It’s not so much that I’m bothered by a ceremony picture of a crowd full of people holding their cameras up to take a picture of the happy couple. In fact, we’ve learned how to work around other people with cameras, it’s just part of the job. However, we have had a handful of couples decide to have an unplugged wedding and have seen pretty neat results. They do it for two main reasons. The first is that they’re spending money on professional photographers and don’t want someone with their iphone to step into the aisle and ruin a first kiss shot. The second, and what I see as the most important, is that they want their guests to be present.

Some people can react quite harshly to being asked to go off-the-grid or spend a whole weekend in a town without cell phone service. Since we shoot a lot of mountain and remote weddings, we’ve seen our fair share of challenges that go along with losing our access to technology. You have to plan and print out directions in advance if you won’t be able to use your phone to navigate. You have to consider walkie talkies if you want to be able to communicate. Weddings often have a lot of last minute things come up and being unable to text questions and get immediate responses can get quite frustrating.

And yet, the pros might just outweigh the cons. When you can’t pick up your phone a scroll through your friends on instagram, you turn to your left and engage in an in person conversation. We spend so much time looking at our world through the screen of our phones that I wonder how it impacts our experience. Do we listen as well? Do we see what’s around us? Are we immersed in the moment?

telling the story versus being the story

From my experience as a photographer I know that going to a wedding as a guest and a photographer are two entirely different experiences. In one I’m capturing it, I’m telling the story. In the other I’m part of the story, a participant. So when I talk about the benefits of an unplugged wedding it’s not so that your guests don’t ruin my photos but rather imagine the photos I can create if your guests are truly present, truly involved and participating in the story of the day.

I have a rule that when I’m with friends face-to-face, I don’t engage with my phone friends. I don’t text, scroll through social media, or even answer phone calls. To some people that may sound extreme and over-the-top. To me, I cherish quality time with my friends and I want to be as present as possible.

unplug in order to to engage

When we talk about electronic devices specifically, “unplug” has a definition describing how we disconnect the device. When we talk about “unplug” in some other contexts, it’s all about removing obstacles. Is technology becoming an obstacle to our ability to be present? Can we really multitask? Can an unplugged wedding lead to unbelievable wedding photos? I’d love to hear your reactions and your thoughts below.

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