These Ruined Photos Will Make You Want to Have an Unplugged Wedding
by Corey Ann on Tue Aug 12 2014
Recently, the idea of “guest photographers” came up in one of the photography groups I am part of online, and someone asked what the big deal is. Why wouldn’t we want more people capturing images for our clients? I thought this was a great question! I don’t have a single problem with guests taking images and sharing them with the couple later. It makes me happy to know there will be other photos of moments I may have missed, or alternate angles that I couldn’t cover. I also completely understand that some have a love for capturing images and enjoy taking pictures at weddings when they are guests. However, my heart breaks when a guest ruins an otherwise lovely image or jumps in front of me when I’m capturing a key moment from the day.
It completely slays me when this happens. While I am not remotely egotistical at all, I am fairly confident that my image would have been better than the one they captured. In my past seven years as professional wedding photographer, it’s been sad to watch the progression from seeing smiling, encouraging faces as the bride is escorted up the aisle to faces hidden behind the cameras and cell phones that line the aisle. These are all reasons why I am elated when I hear of couples opting for an unplugged wedding—or, at the very least, an unplugged ceremony.
One thing there is absolutely NOTHING I can do to combat is a flash from a guest photographer’s camera. There is rarely anything that will save the image and no repositioning will change the outcome. The above photos are just two of the hundreds of images of the wedding processional that I’ve had ruined from a camera flash. (I rarely, if ever, use flash for the ceremony, so the light you see here is ALL from the one camera’s flash.)
This girl’s father literally shoved me aside and gave me grief because I was blocking his daughter from standing in the aisle to get a picture. This sanctuary only had one aisle and very little room to move thanks to the small space that was filled with guests. I took this image to protect myself later in case the clients were upset that I had to stand slightly off-center for a portion of their day. Also? That Nintendo DS made the LOUDEST noises when it took pictures. It was crazy.
Since this image was taken four years ago the DSs have been replaced with iPads, which are a million times worse when it comes to eyesores.
This kid’s dad yelled at my second shooter during a wedding and shoved his kid up in front to make sure he got an image with his iPhone during a destination wedding in Cozumel. Note: he wasn’t a guest of the wedding, just a guest of the resort.
This whole situation broke my heart. In many churches, photographers are HEAVILY restricted as to where they can work, and the Heinz Chapel is one of the strictest I’ve ever worked at. We are only allowed to be outside of the sanctuary in the door opening where the center aisle is, and in the balcony. We are not permitted to move during the service. Thankfully, my second shooter was in the balcony, but that didn’t make these guests go away. Luckily, he was able to get images of the service where you could actually see the bride and groom. I argued, begged, and pleaded for the church lady guarding me to at least allow me to go into the side aisle so I could get a clear shot of my clients when these guests jumped into the aisle but I was not allowed. Instead, I just had to take what I could get and cry a bit on the inside.
I also want to add this: if you are a guest at the wedding, please make sure to withhold posting pictures of the bride and groom online until AFTER the ceremony. I can’t tell you how many “first looks” have inadvertently happened online before the wedding because a bridesmaid or groomsman has uploaded pictures to social media before the wedding and a bride and/or groom who were killing time by browsing Facebook saw their future intended before the ceremony. Don’t do it!!!!! And make sure that it's OK with the couple to share the images on social media later; sometimes people prefer to keep things quiet, and you don’t want to cause undue stress.
Another image of a guest who jumped in front of me during a ceremony where I could not move to get around him.
The flashes don’t quit for the service either, and with the white dress there isn’t a lot I can do to save these images.
This almost made me cry. Not kidding.
I had my eye on this gentleman because he was standing up on the altar with the bride and groom during the service, but I was able to zoom and crop around the couple so that he wasn’t in too many of the images. But after the pronouncement of the couple, he swiftly moved and stood RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME during the first kiss. I jumped quickly to the side but I missed the quick kiss. Luckily I was still was able to capture the hug after, but I am still SO SAD that I missed their first kiss. I sure hope he got it…
I also felt doubly awful because I had to jump in front of other guests, and during a ceremony my goal is to never block a guest's view. I apologized profusely after the wedding, and thankfully they all were very sweet and understanding.
Back to the Heinz Chapel, and as you can see, the guest did not move for the majority of the ceremony. I’m still sad when I look at this image.
It doesn’t matter what kind of camera it is or how big or how small the flash is—the flash is almost always too bright to work with once it is fired.
I really cringe when guests try to take pictures during formals. Not only am I generally under a time crunch, but the flashes ruin at least one or two shots in each batch I take. The subjects' eyes also tend to wander, and I rarely get everyone looking at me at the same time when there are multiple cameras present. This is the only time that I will sometimes tell guests that they have to stop taking pictures, and I have been told off more times than not when I’ve had to do this. However, my priority the day of the wedding is on my clients. I don’t care about the sale of the portraits, but I do care about the quality of the portraits, and if there is a circus going on behind me, it rarely ends well for anyone involved. So trust me when I beg and plead for you to tell people to put their cameras down and go enjoy the cocktail hour while we take some portraits with the special people in your life.
The reception generally is a time when I can quickly move if a guest decides to take pictures. But one time when I can’t move around them? The special dances.
I do have to say, this little old guy does warm my heart a bit. He was pretty cute with his disposable camera even if it was a bit distracting when he wound the camera after each photo.
Another guest deciding the first dance is a great time for that portrait of the bride and groom.
This is another one that makes me a sad panda when I look at it. This guest came up at the last bit of the father/daughter dance and there was nowhere I could go to get her out of the picture. Luckily, I have numerous beautiful images from the dance, but the last hug is always my favorite.
Another pet peeve of mine? THE RED (OR GREEN) DOT OF DOOM! As you can see in the above photo, these focusing beams are quite irritating because, again, there’s not a lot that I can do to get rid of them outside of turning the image black and white. (And even then, there will still be a light circle.) There have been quite a few images that I’ve had to toss due to these beams; this is just one of the many.
Bottom line: my priority the day of the wedding is on my clients. They have paid me their hard-earned money to make sure I document their wedding, and when an overzealous guest gets in the way, it makes me sad. I think most people don’t realize what they are doing and I'm writing this post hoping to educate even a few people. Either have an unplugged wedding or think of the professional photographer before jumping in the aisle for that perfect shot.
Last year, one of my friends got married and I was so thrilled to be her photographer that day. What was even more amazing was that she had an unplugged wedding after seeing pictures and reading my rants over the years about well-meaning guests who have inadvertently (or heck, even completely on purpose) ruined images. Prior to the ceremony, the officiant read this:
“Welcome, friends and family! Good evening everyone. Please be seated. Dan and Jennifer invite you to be truly present at this special time. Please, turn off your cell phones and put down your cameras. The photographer will capture how this moment looks—I encourage you all to capture how it feels with your hearts, without the distraction of technology. If Dan can do it, then so can you.”
I can’t tell you how many happy leaps of joy my heart did when I heard this! The guests all obeyed, and even after the ceremony, many decided to keep their arms down and their hearts open and actually enjoyed the day instead of being an observer from behind their cameras.
Mckaylee booked a "Top Model" session with us recently. She was provided one of our elaborate locations, a luxurious wardrobe including a Badgley Mischka dress and Nicole Miller earrings as well as Makeup Services. These Beautiful pieces, location and subject made for stunning Glamour Portraits. Not going to lie, I've been DYING to share these images!
There are 14.5 million cancer survivors in the United states today. By 2014, it is estimated that the population of cancer survivors will increase to almost 19 million. These are simply the survivors. There are many brave individuals who have lost their lives to cancer.
Many of us have been affected by this disease. My best friend is a breast cancer Previvor; I lost two of my grandparents to cancer, my mother has had bouts of skin cancer throughout her adult life and there are many in my church body who have suffered from or are fighting cancer. It is each of these individuals who have inspired our Loving Arms Portrait Sessions.
As a photography company, we are in a unique position to safeguard the memory of your family. We have heard too often of situations where families have lost loved ones and photographs are all they have and most photographs are not recent. So we wanted to offer our help and support in the best way we know how - Portraits.
What is a Loving Arms Portrait Session?
A Loving Arms Session is a free portrait session we are giving to families and individuals who are being affected by cancer. Beginning in September and continuing every following month, we will be giving two families or individuals who are fighting cancer one of these sessions. We are asking that friends, family members, people with cancer or people who know someone with cancer to send us their story. The two stories selected will receive a One Hour Session and Digital Portrait Prints.
How do I nominate someone?
It only takes a two simple steps to nominate someone.
1) E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org the story of you, the individual or family you are nominating.
2) Include your name, the family's name and a way to contact both of you.
You will hear from us within the week.
We appreciate the support you have given to the Cancer Fighters in your life. Please spread the word about our Loving Arms Portrait Sessions so that our gift of love can spread.
All the Best,
Thank you to the wonderful models Alexandra, Maelyn and Kaaviya; the stylist, Heather Walker; Style in the City and Fashion Gallery for a beautiful session. These girls are gorgeous inside and out. I can't wait to see what they will do in the world of Fashion.
Hair & Makeup | Heather Walker of Model 101
Wardrobe | Style in the City and Fashion Gallery
Jewelry | Style in the City
Location | Style in the City
Photographer | Alyson Lawton
Right where you are now, no matter what you are doing - planning a wedding, taking a break from chores, checking out what's new, just getting home from work, eating dinner, etc - STOP.
It is really important to relax. We encourage you to take two minutes right now to do nothing. YES, nothing. We'll even make it enjoyable for you. Follow this link and make sure to have the sound up!
Okay, brides, looking for the PERFECT wedding dress? Well, I found a site that will help you out! PreOwnedWeddingDress.com is a website designed for all brides with all sorts of budgets.
Basically, after their weddings, brides list their dresses on this site to sell to others who either want a deal or have a budget. There are dresses available from Vera Wang, Pninna Tornai, St. Pucchi, Michelle Roth, Monique Lhuillier, Oscar De La renta, Oleg Cassini and more! You can pay $20,000 to $200 for a gently used dress and there is a vast array of styles available.
There are the glamorous....
... the classics ....
... the colorful and unique ...
... dresses fit for a princess ...
and those that are simple, yet stunning.
I REALLY wish I knew this site was around for my wedding! I was lucky enough to get my dress on sale, but this website could have saved me a lot of wait-time hoping my dress would be marked down.
Whether you are looking to spend $30,000 or $200 on your dress, this site has a something for you. There are hundreds of dresses, all styles, sizes and designers. Happy hunting!
Emma's Bridal Portraits!
There may have been a bit of rain, but that didn't dampen Emma's radiance.
If you've ever thought being a model is simply being gorgeous, getting to wear expensive clothes, living the life of luxury while eating minimally, well, this might be informative. You may view the original posting at www.marieclaire.com.
Have you ever wondered what it's really like being a model? We got the lowdown from model and writer Rachel Woods – and you won't believe what she had to say…
1. Develop a thick skin. A lot more work goes into re-touching images than most people realise. Some models can be completely altered in pictures from the way they normally look. There are many tricks used to create that perfect image - I even once had my ears superglued back because a photographer thought they stuck out too much.
2. It is ok to eat. Believe it or not, not all models live on sticks of celery and two grapes a day, the majority of models actually eat a normal healthy diet, and can even enjoy the odd burger and milkshake. But don't tell anyone...
3. Models don’t always get paid for shoots. Especially for new models building up their experience, there are many shoots that compensate in trade, either with photos or clothes, or sometimes you may not end up with anything at all.
4. Shoots are not always as glamorous as the photos portray. There is often a lot more going on behind a photo shoot than the finished picture presents. The model may have to work on a really cold or hot day wearing completely the wrong type of clothes for the season, have had 100 outfit changes or had to pose in really uncomfortable positions to get the shots.
5. You have to be on your guard. With so many camera phones backstage at shoots and runway shows sometimes someone will try and capture models at times when they may not want to be photographed. I personally had a shoot for a prominent magazine and whilst the other models and I were getting changed there was a dodgy guy taking pictures with hidden cameras. Not cool.
6. Despite getting to wear the most beautiful, expensive, glamorous outfits, models unfortunately don’t actually get to keep the clothes. Sometimes you may get lucky and get to keep something, but this rarely happens.
7. Most people believe models just have photoshoots everyday, whereas in reality many models (apart from supermodels) find it tricky getting regular bookings. There can often be periods of time with nothing but castings before work starts coming in.
8. Modelling can involve a lot of time spent waiting around; whether that’s waiting to get your hair or makeup done, waiting for the photographer to set up, waiting to get your photos back, waiting for runway shows to start or waiting to be seen at castings. So you often see models with a book or iphone in hand as there is so much free time.
9. Your expectations don't always match reality. There can be the rare occasions whereby a model can apply for, or turn up at a shoot, expecting one thing (e.g. a fashion shoot) and find that the photographer wants to try and change it to a topless or nude shoot.
10. Models can be any age. A common misconception is that you need to be young in order to model, however there are so many different types of modelling, if you have the right look, there are plenty of opportunities out there for the more mature lady. It's never too late.
The Model's Guide by Rachel Woods is published by Thistle Publishing on 4 July.
Read more at http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/blogs/543427/the-10-things-you-didn-t-know-about-being-a-model.html#L9MoELfb7zAyRdL4.99
Spirited! That's the best word to describe Jessica and Matt. Our Engagement session at the Graylyn Convention Center was fast-paced and fun. Matt and Jessica are energetic individuals who's magnetism draws people in. We had a blast and I, for one, can't wait to photograph their wedding this fall.
Here's a sneak peek of their Engagement Session.
Congratulations to Aubrey Claire on graduating!
Had a blast on our family's beach vacation this year :) It's been tradition since the beginning to do family portraits. This year was a bit tricky with a storm rolling in on the only day we could do it, but we pulled it off!
Chelsey Wolf, Founder of The Paper Doll Portfolio, explains it best. "Each and every portfolio is made to represent YOUR personal style by featuring a collection of garments that can be cut out and placed on YOUR unique doll. I make a doll that look just like you or your loved one, with 3-4 garment collections that fit their unique personality. There is also a Design Guide in each portfolio that consists of my favorite Fashion Laws and Faux Pas as well as some Basics to Color Theory for you to use as a muse."
Chelsey also personally handcrafts Paper Doll Portraits for your life's cornerstones. We will be giving their one-of-a-kind Paper Doll Portrait's away to our wedding clients and some of our portrait clients! With the incredible likeness of each portrait, our clients will be able to enjoy a charming artisan gift preserving their Life Event. Make sure you check out The Paper Doll Portfolio and send some love to them on Twitter (@dollportfolio) should you be one of our lucky clients to receive a Paper Doll Portrait.
You may also place an order through their Etsy Shop- www.etsy.com/shop/paperdollportfolio
We are looking forward to the new avenues our Partnership will open and are happy to share the joy with you!
CONGRATULATIONS to Johanna and Paul because today is their wedding day! Such a generous, loving couple who are absolutely perfect together. I wish them the best and all the happiness in the world as they begin their lives together.
Not too long ago, I photographed Johanna's Bridal Portraits. It was a bit of a crazy trip to Fayetteville, NC to meet up - with grand adventures such as my steering wheel locking up, odd traffic and meeting a few interesting individuals along the way - but against the snags along the way, I made it.
Johanna was provided a space to get ready by Rhonda Bright and Fayetteville Business and Professional Women's Club, where Khalilah Frederick did her makeup and Maria Celeste Sallie styled her hair. Surrounding the Women's club an array of locations waited at our creative fingertips. As fellow photographers Christy Beal, Tamara May, and William Harris joined us, Johanna donned her wedding dress - custom designed by Cassie Young and Cassandra Couture - grabbed her bouquet and we headed out the door.
Johanna's session went wonderfully and I've been bursting at the seams to share her portraits! Without further adieu, here they are!
My name is Sade Carter; I am the assistant to Alyson Lawton owner of Photography by Alyson Lawton (PBAL). I am a college student perusing a degree in psychology and another in criminal justice; I am also going for a certificate in photography.
Here are some facts about my silly self
- Are you a morning or night person? Morning, even though I cannot sleep at night
- Do you prefer sweet or salty foods? Sweets!!
- What was your favorite childhood television program? Barney
- Are you a collector of anything? Yes so much actually jewelry, cameras, books, and science related stuff.
- If you could be any animal, what would you be? A wolf!
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I'd want to fly, and turn back the hands of time.
- What is usually your first thought when you wake up? Alright, another day!
- What do you usually think about right before falling asleep? Nothing, I just zone out and then I wake up some odd hours later, hehe.
- What's your favorite color? Purple
- What's your favorite animal? Wolf/Elephant
- Ever been addicted to a video/computer game? Which one(s)? Street fighter, Mortal Combat, and Crash
- If you were given 1 million dollars, what do you spend it on? Open a center for kids in need, kids in danger, children just needing help in general. I would also try as much to help the homeless by trying to get them back on their feet with a job then, buying foreclosure homes around the world fixing them up so they could have a place to sleep. I would put the money in account and save it for the day I have children and invest it in their college funds.
- List 3 of your best personality traits: Funny, Kind hearted, Helpful
- List 3 of your worst personality traits: Sarcastic, not sure!
- List 1 thing you wish you could change about yourself: Learning not to dwelling on the past.
- Any tattoos or piercings? Yes, both actually.
- What personality traits do you dislike in other people? Arrogance, I don't like when people think they are "above or better" than others.
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? In another country not sure which one. If having to stay in the states I would say somewhere upstate New York.
- If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Ecuador, Africa, and Spain.
- List 5 goals on your life's to-do list: finish college, travel, buy another house, buy my mom a house, and be at the top of my career.
- What's your favorite song of all time? No favorites
- What's your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night? Hang out with friends,or go to the movies and dinner.
- What's your favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon? Animal adventures (zoo, aquarium, farm, etc).
- Have any hidden talents? Model, sing, photography, crafting.
- What would be your dream job? Forensic scientist/zoologist
Sade Danny Carter
Photographer: Alyson Lawton
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Atlanta and visit the Georgia Aquarium. Since I have an odd fascination and acute fondness for fish, of course I wanted to bring my camera. (Thankfully I have wonderful friends who understand my passion for fish and photography)
Here are some of the photographs from the day!
Brought from two opposite sides of the country, Aaron and Samantha found love at Wake Forest University.
Aaron was attending University for his Doctorate when he crossed paths with Samantha.
When Samantha met Aaron, she had already been working at Wake Forest for several years. She was automatically attracted to his charm while he was drawn in by her sense of humor.
Being far from their families was difficult for Aaron and Samantha, but in many ways it brought them closer. They spent long hours talking, laughing and helping each other grow as individuals. One of Aaron's favorite places to take Samantha was a tree swing on the North Quad on campus.
As their friendship grew, they began to realize that through the separation with their own families, they had begun to develop a family with each other. Aaron then decided to ask Samantha to spend the rest of their lives together.
She said yes.
The wedding planning began. Now, wedding planning is difficult enough, but when you are coordinating details coast to coast, things can get a bit stressful. Samantha mentioned how much of a help Aaron had been in helping her plan, create and keep as stress free as possible.
Their excitement was growing.
Finally, their wedding day arrived and it was well worth the wait.
A steady murmur filled the chapel as guests slowly began to arrive. Samantha and Aaron's families walked down the aisle and a thick air of anticipation fell over the guests. A soft creak announced the entrance of Aaron and his groomsmen.
As Aaron took his place at the front, his eyes were locked on the double doors at the back of the chapel. The doors that his soon-to-be-wife was soon to walk through.
A sweep of light came through as the doors opened. On the arm of her father, Samantha began her walk down the aisle, tears in her eyes.
The ceremony commenced.
After an exchanging of vows and rings, Aaron and Samantha were announced "husband and wife."
Their celebration continued with hugs, dancing and many precious memories.
VENDOR LIST :
Photography | Photography by Alyson Lawton
Ceremony Location | The Wait Chapel at Wake Forest University
Reception Location | Wake Forest Ballroom, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem
Dress Designer | David’s Bridal Collection
Quickly approaching this Saturday is our down-to-the-basics Engagement Portrait class we have so kindly been invited to teach by Kristin Shadrick of EVE Entertainment. We are anticipating a fun day AND we are getting excited!
Our notes are ready, gear is prepped and we are set to have a blast! This is going to be a packed five hours including giving an inside look at our shooting methods, learning how to deliver beautiful images in all situations every time, exceeding client expectations and even participating in a live Engagement Session involving our class participants. We're packing it in and looking forward to refining the Photography industry!
To all who are attending, we are looking forward to meeting each of you and working with you one on one. If you are interested in attending, please e-mail us at email@example.com and we will help you sign up.
See you Saturday!