Cellphones + Events = :(
With big or small events, you’re bound to hear someone talk about ‘disconnecting’. Now you maybe wondering what the big deal is, or thinking it’s not really a problem. Here are some of my thoughts.
When you take out your phone or point and click camera you’re not joining in on the moment. You become a separated spectator. You become more interested in getting the picture than participating in the event. Now imagine how your loved one feels when they look up from a winning goal. Instead of your smiling face they’ll see that phone/camera. Yes you maybe trying to ‘capture’ a very important moment. However being able to capture the very moment you want to relive or have as a memento is unlikely without the proper tools, knowledge, skill, and at times, luck. So not only will you not have that picture you were trying to get, but you won’t have the memory either.
How about those ‘magical’ moments at weddings that seem so easy? That’s why the couple gets a photographer. Not only so you don’t have to worry about them, but so no one gets hurt either. Imagine 5, 10, 20 guests barging the couple for pictures, stopping them every 5 feet. The likely hood that someone trips over another is increased dramatically with just one. (This I can personally attest to.) Topping it off, all anyone will see in the pictures is your face – or lack there of – behind your phone.
Maybe you and your loved ones are ok with this. But here’s just a bit more thoughts to process.
At weddings and similarly large (or even small) life events you will be in the way! Consider that you or your loved one is paying a hefty sum (unless it is a gift) for these photos. Please trust the chosen photographer to get the images that was discussed beforehand. Perhaps think about asking guests to take it easy with their personal pictures, or none at all. The photographer is there not only to get those superstar moments, but also everyone else there. One of the reasons there typically is more than one anymore. When you don’t ask guests to put away these devices it becomes difficult to impossible for your photographer to work around. (One of many many many details in the composition we need to think of). Remember the tripping part I mentioned earlier? Let me expand on this some more: I was photographing and had a second photographer with me. There was a videographer that is super awesome and does A-mazing work also contracted by the couple. During the cake cutting the three of us were working quickly around each other. I had moved in close for a shot that caught my eye (ah, such a slave to my brain). Once I got the image I glanced behind, confirming that no one was there. I began to back up while continuing to shoot. As a creeping sensation went up my back, I felt a foot beneath mine and had to change course misstep before I hurt someone I knew must be a guest. Both colleagues were on either side. The guest had thought to bring her camera directly behind me to get a picture. I was mortified. A nightmare of mine is hurting a guest, myself and my equipment (which is pricey). This is a possibility for any photographer, videographer and other service providers, every event they do. Luckily I only twisted my ankle and the guest (whom I was more worried about – despite my irritation) was only startled and not hurt. She came and apologized later. I hope to never have such an incident again, though I’m sure it won’t be the last.
I’ve been talking about larger events. But this also goes for newborn sessions. Your photographer needs your assistance in keeping your baby safe and happy during the session. They do not need you to be a second photographer. (More tips another time on successful newborn/baby sessions). If the photographer needs assistance with equipment or shooting (outside of your help with your child), they will bring someone. Same for family sessions. The best thing you can do is make sure everyone is listening. Please avoid yelling because it just makes everyone uncomfortable and less likely to listen. Paying attention to your photographers requests and directions will help keep time down and pictures priceless.
Well, what about sports now? As stated above, even with the correct equipment those shots are hard to handle. Make sure there’s a photographer there so you do not need to worry over the winning goals or the like. Contact the school. If they’re not already collaborating with a photographer, then perhaps collaboration could be achieved with a couple. Different photographers have various values when it comes to compensation. But I would suggest a way for the photographer to sell prints/images as well as acknowledgement/ad space in programs and website(s). This allows for them to get paid for the work without session fees and the like mucking things up.
All of this is to enjoy theses moments and pictures more. I LOVE taking pictures. I enjoy sharing the outcome(s) with my children and loved ones. Really anybody that I can … However I restrict using my camera phone (or any camera for that matter) at family events, birthdays, holidays, even most day-to-day. I want my loved ones to know that I’m present, you know when I’m present. (If I’m stuck in Panda Pop, Game of War, or Angry Birds – just give me some space. Unless you are my kids then they can help.) Don’t worry about work (if you’re in a visual arts career), composition, or ‘getting’ the moment. Leave it for someone else. Get to LIVE your big moments.