When to Take Pictures

This topic comes to mind a lot when I'm attending or shooting a wedding.  When is it appropriate for a guest to take pictures?  As a photographer I definitely want all the guests to get pictures of the wedding and couple, but unfortunately sometimes guests take that to the extreme.

My sisters are true photo lovers.  We can have any kind of family event, and I can depend on one of them to take pictures.  They're always taking pictures with the birthday person.  And I love that about them.  When it came to my wedding they took lots of pictures, too.  I wouldn't have expected less.  They took pictures of my nieces and nephews. They took pictures with me and Lance. They took selfies.  They took a lot of great pictures.  But here's the thing about my sisters... they have boundaries, and nowadays a lot of wedding guests don't.
My sisters never once got in the way of my photographer or stood in front of another guest or walked around during sentimental moments just to get the shot.  They were respectful of the event and the photographers and videographer Lance and I hired to document our big day all while getting great pictures.

So when is it appropriate to take pictures as guests?? What are those boundaries?

Here are the pictures you should be taking as a guest:

- You have to snag a picture or selfie of yourself with the bride and groom.  That's the picture that will likely matter most to you and the couple.  When Lance and I got married, I loved that my guests wanted to take pictures with us.  My photographer was busy photographing details and candids (he was amazing!!) so he wasn't always around to take those kinds of pictures.

- Take pictures with other guests. Brides and Grooms love those pictures, but sometimes the photographer doesn't have a chance to photograph all 100+ (or 500+ yikes!) guests.

- Precious parts of the day that mean something to you.

- And don't forget the photo booth! If there's a booth, take a ton of pictures.

Here's when you should consider refraining from taking pictures.

- When taking the pictures inhibits other guests' view or experience of the ceremony, toasts, dance...etc.

- Any picture that requires you to stand up during the ceremony.  Not only is this a distraction to the other guests, but it could ruin the photographer's pictures.

- When you're obstructing or standing in front of the photographer. I think it's important for guests to take pictures to document the day.  It's a celebration for them, too! But you don't want to be the person who makes the photographer miss the shot. The couple's paid their photographer thousands of dollars and you wouldn't want to take away from that investment.  Your intentions may be entirely earnest, but don't be too zealous.

But the bottom line: don't get so consumed with taking pictures that you miss the moments. 
Remember to enjoy the day.  Be in the moment. 
Let it all sink in. (And don't forget to email the bride & groom all those awesome pictures you took!)