The bride slowly walks down the aisle with her dad. Its one of the happiest days of her life. But as she looks around her, she feels a bit unsure. She expected to see friends and family smiling at her. Yet it feels like a scene from a science fiction movie. All around her is a sea of computer screens. High and low, everyone fighting to get that one perfect shot. They jump out in front of her. Trip over the paid photographer. Talk during the vows. Even get the minister upset enough to send one guest back to his seat.
This isn’t what the bride had in mind when she played dress up all those years ago.
Yet in today’s world, digital is our life. Nobody goes anywhere without a mobile or tablet ready to go.
But is the paparazzi really the way to go for every experience we face?
Or is it time to pull the plug.
Having an unplugged wedding is definitely a sign of the times. And as a photographer, you can use this to your advantage.
Talk to your clients during the booking process
Unless your clients are CEOs of startup tech companies with mobile devices attached to their hips, they’ve probably experienced the “paparazzi phenomena” before.
Mention an unplugged wedding during the initial meeting. Talk about the benefits of having everyone enjoy the wedding – at least the ceremony if not more – without having a mobile device in their face. If you have horror stories, create mini albums showcasing examples. You can snap a photograph of Uncle Bob rushing up behind them as they have their first kiss. Or snap an image with the majority of hands in the air trying to capture the bride and groom with their phones and tablets. Prove the point – people are receptive when you have proof of bad outcomes.
Announce it early
While it may not be appropriate for every moment of a bride’s big day, the ceremony should still be considered a sacred place with as little commotion as possible. In fact many ministers won’t allow photographs to be taken at all during the actual ceremony – that includes professionals as well.
This is where your training and expertise can come into play. Share ideas with your clients on how to teach their guests to unplug. They can include phrases in their wedding program. If you need some help, take a look at what some planners, photographers and brides have done in the past.
This is where you, the professional, can increase your business and be the hero too.
Because your clients will be asking guests to unplug, offer solutions.
With an engagement shoot, you can create “unplugged” announcements to send out before the event, or to include with the invitations.
You can include photo cards for every guest at the reception that will include the URL of where your clients’ final images will reside a short while after the event. This allows every guest the opportunity to see the images – and potentially buy as well.
You can sell your clients greeting cards and thank you notes with images from the event. Guests take photos because they want to share in the excitement. This ensures they get a quality image of their family member or friend, and can sit back and relax during the event itself.
Enforcing the rules
One of the toughest parts of unplugging is enforcing the rules. There will always be an Uncle Bob who thinks the rules don’t apply to him.
Work with your clients before the event on how to handle this situation. Choose one member of the family or bridal party who can quietly go up to the guest and follow up with the unplugging request.
You won’t be the bad guy. Your clients won’t have to worry about it and can enjoy their day instead. And hopefully the guest will understand and quietly put their device away.
What do you think? Have you ever been a part of an unplugged event?