Wedding Photographer Rants About iPhones at Weddings to Mixed Responses

This wedding photographer's viral Facebook post admonishes people for bringing out their iPhones during the ceremony's moving moments. People had several different reactions to the post.

Robin Zlotnick - Author

Jul. 17 2019, Updated 3:05 p.m. ET

Remember when phones were just phones, not also cameras and computers and GPS devices? Yeah, me neither. Whether or not phones should be allowed at weddings is an increasingly popular discussion among the recently betrothed. 

Some people don't want their guests to have their phones out at their wedding. They want all eyes on them all the time, and they hand out cheesy signs in whimsical cursive that say things like "Welcome to our unplugged ceremony. Don't be a d*ck. Put away that selfie stick." (OK, I made up the second part.) And that's their prerogative.

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Personally, I want everyone to have their phones out the entire time when I get married. I need every angle captured of me and my beautiful dress (and husband, too, I guess). Yes, I will also have a professional photographer on hand, but I need insurance shots! Snap those pics!

But one wedding photographer can't stand when guests use their phones to take pictures during the ceremony, and she recently posted her feelings to Facebook.

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"To the girl with the iPhone..." wrote professional wedding photographer Hannah Mbalenhle Stanley of Hannah Way Photography, "Not only did you ruin my shot, but you took this moment away from the groom, father of the bride, and the bride. What exactly do you plan on doing with that photo? Honestly. Are you going to print it out? Save it? Look at it everyday? No. You're not. 

"But my bride would have printed this photo, looked at it often and reminisced over this moment as her dad walked her down the aisle on her wedding day. But instead, you wanted to take a photo with your phone, blocking my view, and taking a photo that you will not use.

"Guests, please stop viewing weddings you attend through a screen but instead turn OFF your phone, and enjoy the ceremony. You are important to the bride and groom, you would not be attending the wedding otherwise. So please, let me do my job, and you just sit back, relax and enjoy this once in a lifetime moment."

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Wow. What an indictment of snap-happy wedding guests. This wedding photographer clearly felt she was prevented from doing her job because of this woman with an iPhone. Her post went totally viral and garnered over 1,100 comments. Some people totally agreed with her. 

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"Once more for the people in the back with their flash on too please," another commenter wrote. I'm sympathetic to wedding photographers who get unplanned hands holding iPhones in their shots. It's got to be frustrating. But it's also 2019 and people have had iPhones and other smart phones for years now. You'd think they would have adapted by now.

"Be in the moment!" another commenter wrote. "Put your phones away. Professional pictures are the bomb!" 

I'm pretty bad at taking pictures. I tend to "live in the moment" by default, sometimes to the point where I regret not taking out my phone and capturing the moment. I do understand not wanting to live life behind your phone, but that's a personal preference. I don't ever really fault anyone for taking out their phones and wanting to preserve the memory. That seems like such a personal thing that no one should judge anyone else for. 

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That being said, no one really addressed that in the comments. People either hated on the woman sneaking the iPhone pic during the ceremony, or they admonished the photographer for not adapting to the situation. 

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This commenter has a point. Others also pointed out that wedding photographers take dozens of photos for every moment. In these actual photos, the bride's face is down and she's not smiling. The bride probably wouldn't want to save or print these exact photos anyway. She'd probably choose any number of the other ones the photographer captured from her walk down the aisle with her father.

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Also, as Rebecca here points out, she could have easily said to the guest, "Hey, could you move your iPhone out of the way for a moment?" It would have taken a split second, she could have gotten all the shots she wanted, and then the woman could have resumed taking her own photos. 

I have to say, while I understand that it might be frustrating for a wedding photographer to deal with people taking iPhone photos, that is their job. They're not there to pose people and shift guests' natural behavior so they can get the best shot. They're there to capture real moments. And today, most people have smartphones that they will use at weddings. That's just the way it is. 

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