Why You Shouldn't Allow Guest Photography At Your Wedding

First thing I would like to point out: we don't do this to be cruel.  We truly understand the importance of pictures, especially for events such as a wedding.  Everyone should have some great wedding photos to reminisce about their special day with loved ones and to show off on Facebook.  We totally respect that.

Second thing I would like to point out: this isn't about bashing "Uncle Bob" and his gloriously terrible photos.  That's another story that I rather not be dragged into this.  (Maybe later...)

© Gatlinburg Photo

© Gatlinburg Photo

So what is this about?  Well, as you may have noticed after reading our Terms & Conditions page, Gatlinburg Photo is our exclusive studio for providing professional wedding photography and videography to our couples. 
"OK, great.  I like their photos.  I like their photographers.  I like the products they offer.  I'm sure they won't mind shooting alongside the photographer/friend/cousin I brought!  And using their photos for my photographer's products!"

Yeah... no, they do mind.
This is not a secret we keep from our couples.  We make sure that the bride, the groom and their guests are aware of our policies concerning outside photography, regardless of their "professional" status:

Our guests should also be made aware that we do not allow outside photography vendors at our locations. Guests, however, may take photos during the reception.  This process is in place in order to maintain a high quality end-product for our couples and business image. The sanctity and ambiance of your ceremony is very important to us. This policy eliminates excessive noisy camera clicks, winding camera noises and prevents guests leaving their seats for photography during your wedding ceremony. We only ask that our guests be considerate and not interrupt the professional photography services that our brides and grooms have paid us to perform.  Imagine 12-20 of your family members standing alongside your professional photographer saying: "Wait a minute!  Can you do that again, I missed it!"  Not only is this frustrating for every bride and groom, but is very interrupting to the thought process of your photographer.  Your photographer has a short period of time to capture the amazing photos that our couples expect.  This day is happening one time.
It goes like this and is best said in a quote from our lead photographer, Casie Raines, who has been photographing events for over 18 years now:

"We made the decision a long time ago to provide the best services and make the necessary sacrifices for the benefit of our clients instead of apologizing for poor quality over and over again."
Providing our couples and their families the highest quality photography and wedding services is our company vision, that is reflected in our mission statement.
© Gatlinburg Photo

© Gatlinburg Photo

The only time we allow guests to use their cameras/video recorders is after the photographer is finished with their session with the bride and groom, at the reception.  This is the best opportunity anyway, to catch up with the bride and groom and other family and friends in a relaxing environment.

After all, haven't you dreamed of this day and invited your family and friends to witness every moment along with you? 

Better question to ask yourself is this:  when the bride is walking down the aisle with her father or other loved one, what will she see when she walks this once-in-a-lifetime rite of passage?  Your smiling faces and tears of joy or your digital device and camera lens?

Lead photographer Casie Raines has another thought on this subject that chills brides and grooms down to their bones:

You are paying me hard-earned money to use my talent, experience and God-given ability to capture amazing images that flatter you and portray you how you want to be remembered on your wedding day.  Your family members and friends (as sweet as they are and as much as you love them) are amateurs–no offense, I do this for a living!–they are using consumer grade cameras, lighting and inopportune moments to capture images of you that are not flattering or professional.
Remember those photos that creep out of the cracks of your past and have ended up on Facebook, Twitter, family get togethers, birthdays, etc... Well, imagine those same people using their "gag images" for their jokes, except this time your wedding day is the main event and you are up for an Oscar for your star-role performance on your wedding day.  Most family members mean well, but they just can't resist using that picture they captured on your wedding day with your eyes half-shut and a weird expression while you were talking to post something to the effect of "they think you had enough to drink already!"
Even if they do bring their "professional-grade" equipment and lighting, no true professional would ever get in the way of another professional that has been hired to perform their job.
© Gatlinburg Photo

© Gatlinburg Photo

Another bride said it best when she said, "Memories are best viewed in real life instead of behind a viewfinder."  This statement pretty much sums up what you have hired a professional to do and why.

Colors of Life Photography wrote an article for BeaBride.net that sums up exactly what we are trying to prevent for your wedding event:

Along with investing a large chunk of your wedding budget into an exceptional photography team, you’ve also invited hundreds of unpaid relentless “photographers.” The invited “photographers’” only agenda is to fill up the memory cards in their $120 cameras and cell phones and be the first to upload a full-unflattering Facebook album of the best day of your life. Of course, I’m referring to your guests.

Take a look at this link to see hundreds of reasons why (in photograph form) we have your best interests in mind!

OK, so you're on board.  Off Beat Bride has some great tips and useful resources for having an Uplugged Wedding event.

Hope this has been an eye-opening article that is informative and educates you about the true value of leaving your wedding day images to the professional.

Worth every penny.