How to Help Your Guests Be the Best Back-Up Photographers

Planning Tips, Wedding Photography

Photo: Getty Images

You're paying good money for your professional photos — and guests should never get in the way of a good shot. (Seriously: See tip No. 1.) But your guests will not be able to resist picking up their iPhones and firing away when they see the perfect frame. So help them be your best back-up photographers — without ruining your photographer's work! — with these killer tips.

1. Leave room for the professional photographer.
There's no shortage of photo-ops at a wedding. "Your guests will be tempted to hop in and grab that oh-so-perfect shot of you two saying your vows or sharing your first kiss as husband and wife," says Alicia Matsumoto, owner of Bespoke Design. But so will your photographer. "Don't be afraid to remind guests that you have a professional photographer for a reason and that you will be sure to share the images with anyone who wants them," Matsumoto says. "I've seen far too many pictures ruined by guests crouching in the aisle thinking they are out of the way."

See More: Photographers Share How to Choose the Perfect Engagement Session Outfit

2. Ask for candid photos while you get ready.
Prior to your professional photographer's arrival at your dressing room, is the perfect time for amateur camera women to snap away, says Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special Events and co-founder of The Poppy Group. "Tell your guests what you're comfortable with them posting on social media," she says. "They shouldn't post a picture of your dress before you've walked down the aisle!"

3. Use a wedding hashtag.
Part of the joy of your wedding day is reliving it after it's over. So help your guests share the images they captured by using a wedding hashtag, both Matsumoto and Nichols say. "It's easier than advocating for a specific app because most people prefer to take and share photos using the social media they already have set up on their phones," Matsumoto explains. "Ask your guests to be respectful, too" warns Nichols. "That means no ugly crying photos and no unflattering — or questionable photos — of anyone should be posted."

On a final note, it's A-OK to ask your guests to set down their phones and be present for your wedding. "I've seen many photos ruined by guests phone screens raised in the air," says Matsumoto. "You've hired a professional photographer to capture the images for a reason. They know the shots to get and even if you don't see them instantaneously, they will be high-quality images from a trained eye while also allowing your guests to relax and enjoy the day fully present."

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