Photographer Pens Open Letter to Wedding Guest Who Ruined Her Perfect Shot With Her iPhone

"You took this moment away from the groom, father of the bride and the bride."

Updated 07/18/19

Hill Street Studios

Your wedding day is undoubtedly one you’ll want to remember for the rest of your life, and a good photographer can help you do just that by capturing all your best memories as you make them—unless, of course, someone inadvertently blocks their shot!

Photographer Hannah Way of Hannah Way Photography in Texas shared an open letter to amateur picture-takers everywhere after her shot of a father walking his daughter down the aisle was ruined by a woman who got in the way with her iPhone.

“To the girl with the iPhone,” her Facebook message began. “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.”

Way continued: “But instead, you wanted to take a photo with your phone, blocking my view, and taking a photo that you will not use.”

The photographer then took the opportunity to remind wedding guests in general to unplug and live in the moment during their loved ones’ big days. “Please stop viewing weddings you attend through a screen but instead turn OFF your phone, and enjoy the ceremony,” she wrote. “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.”

She signed the letter with, “Sincerely, Wedding photographers.”

The post, which has been shared more than 170,000 times and has more than 1,000 comments, kicked up some seriously mixed reactions.

Some felt like her words needed to be said, with opinions such as, “THANK YOU! I won’t even allow phones at the ceremony of my wedding because of this,” and “So disappointing. IDK why people record or photograph during ceremonies .”

Reasoned another, “When it’s all said and done, all your guest are gone, everything is taken down and put away, you start your new family life and all you have left are the pictures! That’s what you’ll show your children, your grandchildren and hopefully your great grand-children and every now and again you’ll pull out the pictures and reminisce your special day!”

One mom pointed out that the problem goes far beyond weddings, writing, “I actually agree with the photographer .... because every time I go to a school event I can NEVER see my daughter perform because there is always someone in front of me holding their phone up and capturing the show on video.”

Others, however, felt like Way was out line. “This is why people don’t go to events anymore!” one commenter wrote. “Too many rules, too many don’t do this or that, what I see here is some one cared enough to take a picture!”

“This is extremely harsh to the poor person simply trying to capture a moment,” another follower chimed in. “If you don’t want phones at your wedding, have a SIGN.”

Others still felt like the missed opportunity was not the fault of the woman in front of the camera, but the one behind it. "As the photographer you should be controlling the scene. Use your voice and say, ‘Please stay out of frame of the wedding photos thank you!’” a commenter suggested. (Way, for her part, argued that there wasn’t time to do so, as the bride was walking down the aisle.)

Added another: “As a wedding photographer, it’s our job to work around the obstacles. You spent time to actually take focus different and take TWO photos just to make a point when instead you could have moved and adjusted to avoid her and the phone completely.”

According to one woman, those with negative comments were missing the point entirely, however. “A lot of you are missing the point, which is: guests should respect the couple and keep their phones in their pockets," she wrote. "Yes, there's Photoshop to fix this issue. Yes, there are ways to get a better angle without the phone. Yes of course, this is NOT the only shot the photographer captured. She's making the very simple point that this kind of etiquette is not kosher during a wedding ceremony.”

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