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The Friday Fight-Out: Guest Photography Vs Pro Only

Your wedding photographs are one of the things from your wedding you will treasure for the rest of your lives. Most couple choose to have a professional capture this special occasion for them for precisely that reason, but you know a lot of the guests will also be taking pictures throughout the day. For some couples that’s great and there’s just more pictures to look at afterwards, but it is worth bearing in mind that amateur photographers do occasionally get in the way and fire lots of flashes which may be distracting or interfere with the pro shot. This sometimes even means certain venues ban all photography (including by the professional) during the ceremony and has led to a many couples putting a blanket ban on anyone other than the professional photographer taking pictures throughout the day. But is a guest photo ban really the answer?

Let’s find out as we step into the ring for this week’s battle:

Guest Photography Vs Pro Only

In the Red Corner, she’s a pro wedding photographer herself so we thought we’d controversially ask her to fight on behalf of the guests for a change, at her own wedding she actually provided the guests with a series of old film cameras with specific instructions TO take pictures, it’s Dom “The Tog Bride”

In the Blue Corner, often seen fighting his way through a crowd of photographers to get his video camera ready for the shot (although also occasionally spotted filming people taking photos), this week fighting for a guest photo ban, it’s Matt “The Gormless Groom”


Photo by Ed Peers

Dom: Guest photos are good fun to look at! Your pro will be looking for particular types of shots and will probably be looking for something fairly serious, whereas the guests are free to take whatever they want which can become increasingly comical as the night wears on!

Matt: Flashes and camera noises going off all the time can be extremely distracting, particularly during the ceremony, and in a lot of the lighting conditions you’re likely to find yourself dealing with over the course of a wedding day the guest’s cameras won’t be able to cope anyway and many of those shots just won’t be usable.

Dom: It always takes a little while for the pro photographer to process the images and get them to the couple. Guest shots can effectively fill the void between the wedding day and the arrival of the pro photos and help to build up the anticipation!

Matt: Sometimes guests can become a little over-zealous with their photography and take the position that the pro-photographer needs to get the best shot. As a photographer it can be very difficult to ask guests to move out of the way, and if they’re using direct flash they might ruin the pro shot as they will have carefully balanced the lighting conditions.

Dom: The guests are all your friends and family and they want their own record of your day to look back on. The pro photos aren’t always shared on Facebook etc. and people like to share the guest photos and comment on them. The pro photos are really for the couple, whereas the guest pics are for the guests.

Matt: Sometimes the guest cameras (which are often mistaken for the pro’s camera) are so distracting during the ceremony that certain venues have banned photography of any sort during the ceremony. This means you won’t get a record of the event at all. However if you can guarantee that only one photographer will be taking any pictures and that they will use those stealthy photographer skills to remain discreet you may be able to convince the venue/registrar.

Dom: Guests will sometimes do things in front of their friends cameras that they wouldn’t do with a professional that they don’t know. It can lead to some brilliant photos and even if the quality isn’t as good sometimes the pro spots the moment and can sneakily get the same shot without trying to orchestrate it themselves!

Matt: The guests are there to enjoy themselves, not be busy taking pictures! That’s what you’ve hired the professional for in the first place!

Dom: Your photographer, much as they might try, can’t be everywhere at once! Sometimes the guests capture moments that the pro misses, and the more photos of your wedding day the better! Some amateur photographers are genuinely pretty good so you might get a few great extra bonus shots!

Matt: Professional wedding photographers are trained to get the most flattering shots and carefully select their images to make sure the bride and groom look their absolute best at all times. Amateur photos often capture unflattering angles and make the happy couple look rather less than perfect.

Photo by Ed Peers

So those are our arguments but which way will you go? You can place your vote below or add to the debate by leaving a comment or catching us on Facebook or Twitter

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