The Official (Unofficial) Etiquette Guide for Wedding Guest Photographers

The Official (Unofficial) Etiquette Guide for Wedding Guest Photographers

You’re beyond thrilled about your bestie’s upcoming wedding day! As you await your invitation in the mail, you’re already envisioning the photos you’ll capture using your top-notch iPhone photography skills. Let’s go over some wedding etiquette first.

But before you channel your inner Annie Leibovitz, let’s discuss some etiquette for guest wedding photographers. You want to snap lots of pics to remember the special moments without interfering with the professional photographer or other guests. Read on for tips on how to take great shots while being a respectful, appropriate guest shooter on your friend’s big day!

Wedding Guest Photographers

Thou Shalt Not Wear Thy Fancy White Dress!

First rule of wedding guest etiquette: don’t upstage the bride by wearing white! That includes cream, ivory, champagne…you get the idea. Go for a colorful outfit or a pattern instead. Save that new white sundress for a beach vacation post-wedding. The bride paid good money to be the only white dress in those wedding photos. Don’t be a wedding guest faux pas and steal their big moment!

Wedding Photo etiquette

Thou Shalt Arrive Early to Get Great Seats

Arriving early lets you grab an aisle seat a few rows back that’s prime for photos during the processional and ceremony. But be careful not to take front-row seats reserved for family. Look for your name on a reserved seat if assigned. Once settled into your seat, beware of the urge to constantly stand up and down during the ceremony like a bobblehead. This blocks guests’ views behind you and is very distracting to everyone. Sit back and use your zoom lens to get the shots you want without getting in the way. This should also be a given, but DO NOT stand in the aisle during the first kiss.

Thou Shalt Not Obstruct the Wedding Photographer 

Nothing irks a wedding photographer like a guest’s arm suddenly popping into their carefully composed shot. Give them adequate space to move around unobstructed. 

If you’re front and center during the ceremony, be aware of where they are standing or kneeling to take photos. Move aside or shift positions if you’re blocking their sightline. During formal portraits, don’t crowd the photographer while they work. Wait until they finish the pro shots before asking the bride and groom for your own pics.

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Thou Shalt Not Use a Flash Ever, Ever 

This. Is. Critical. Keep your flash OFF and auto-flash disabled at all times. A flash will ruin the pro’s images or exposure settings. It can also be super disruptive and distracting during the ceremony and reception events.

Instead, use higher ISO and steady hands to avoid a blurry, flash-free shot in low light. If you simply can’t manage without a flash, you may be better off enjoying yourself instead of taking photos.

Wedding guide

Thou Shalt Drink, Be Merry and Photograph Responsibly

Open bar at weddings can lead to, let’s say, generous spirits consumption. But avoid drunken photography antics like table standing or awkward selfies with the bride and groom.

Instead, hydrate between cocktails and call it a night on picture taking if you become too tipsy. Save some dance moves for the reception too instead of just taking photos all night.

So there you have it! The key photography commandments for proper wedding guest etiquette. Follow these tips to snap lots of fun memories while being respectful on the couple’s big day.

Just provide these friendly reminders to all your trigger-happy relatives attending the celebration too. If Uncle Bob starts getting all up in the professional wedding photographer’s space, gently let him know to move aside. 

Now get ready for your bestie’s wedding and start practicing your newly minted photography skills – you’re going to nail it!

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Kelsey Kaplan Photo & Video AT 7732 1

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