Your Guests Can Ruin Your Wedding Photos

We all know a wedding is a momentous occasion. A day that should be photographed and captured on video to relive those memories for years to come. To ensure their memories last a lifetime, couples are hiring the best photographers & videographers to capture their wedding day.

The fee of an experienced and popular wedding photographer normally takes about 10 – 20% out of the full wedding budget, sometimes even more. Point being, the couple are spending a lot of money to have a professional photographer and videographer capture their day.

This brings me to the fact that there will always be a guest at a wedding, making the wedding photographers day a nightmare. We call these guests “uncle bob” and behold, most weddings have one. The cousin who bought an entry level dslr camera, “and really wants to start photographing weddings” so they are literally bouncing around you and the couple the entire day, or the uncle that has a semi pro camera but is always trying to “out do” the wedding photographer by getting up close and personal to the couple, or climbing on things to get the shot he wants.

This sometimes results in “That perfect shot” being ruined by a guy with a camera in the background, a arm in the way, a bum that moved in front of your lens or just in general the continued annoyance of someone constantly moving and crouching around you to also “get the shot”

If you are a wedding guest, making yourself guilty of this behavior…STOP! You might just be the reason some of the couple’s best moments are ruined.

There is a reason why the couple is spending a large chunk of their budget to hire a professional photographer. They wanted their wedding captured at a high level of competency and skill! Chances are the wedding photographer on the day has the skill, and the experience to deliver great wedding photos. There is no need for a guest to go up to  the wedding photographer, questioning his/her angles or equipment being used, getting into a competition with him/her about which angles are begin covered, or which shots are being taken etc*. {I still don’t know why this happens sometimes} It just seems so silly. You are a guest at the wedding, enjoy yourself, eat, drink and be merry and let the professionals do their job.

* Not one photographer I know would mind having a conversation with a guest about photography or equipment etc, but it is all about timing. Go up to him/her during dinner or when you see a gap when the reception is in full swing on the dance floor.Most will be happy to give advice or have a quick chat.


This brings me to one last point.

We live in a digital age, where information are shared instantly, quickly and with the help of social media we can share one image or information to all our followers with one click. This however has led to guests at weddings snapping away with their smart phones & tablets and instantly sharing the couple’s wedding photos over social media {sometimes even before they are officially married} How bizarre is this need for “sharing” that we can not give the couple a little bit of privacy in regards to their wedding day, just for a few hours {at least}.

I once encountered a bridesmaid that took snaps of the bride before she left for church and instantly uploaded it to social media, not realizing that the groom checked into his account and saw the bride even before she arrived at the church. Now my guess is, the bridesmaid did not think the groom would be on his phone checking into Facebook, but he did, and he saw, and was disappointed.Everyone else {people that was not even invited to his wedding, saw his bride before him}

This has led me to feel that there should be a “No phones” sign at weddings, to keep guests from over sharing too soon. Give the couple at least a few hours before you start sharing their photo’s online.

I have encountered my fair share of “uncle bob’s” and really sometimes have felt disappointed in a guest ruining that perfect shot, sometimes on purpose even, and I am sure many other photographers would have a story or two to tell about a “uncle bob”. So please, if you are a guest at a wedding, go enjoy yourself, and let the professionals do what they where hired to do.

Just to give you an idea as to what I am talking about, here is a few images of “uncle bob’s”.

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Guest with ipad at wedding

Uncle Bob at wedding

Guest ruining shots at wedding

wedding photos

Uncle bob at wedding

wedding photos

Photo credits: Pinterest, Tumblr


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  • This happened at our wedding…I knew some of my family might get a little over the top, but it ended with us having to ask everyone to go away and put away the cameras for a while since it caused everyone to look in different directions other than the photographer too. Very true that everyone wants a picture, but they can wait!

  • I guess one of these days you will have everyone walking around with Go Pro’s on their head. I am too happy to let the professional take the photos so that I can just focus on enjoying the day 🙂

  • I was a guest at a recent wedding and the bride’s father begged me to bring my camera along. I declined and said it would be actually bad manners towards the official wedding photographer.

  • THANK YOU, my clients WILL see this!!!! Cannot tell you how stressful it is to always try and “outsmart” a guest or try to work around them! Capturing a wedding is stressful enough since you have to get all the shots, be creative and be cheerful while you do it. Sometimes guests are either not realizing what they are doing, or they just dont care.

  • Yes!! All guests need to read this! Will make our jobs soooooo much easier! Had many moments ruined by “uncle bob’s”before!!

  • Oh my WORD thank you for this! I have even had “Uncle Bobs” being downright RUDE to me because how DARE I get in their way!

    The social media revolution is all fine and dandy but by the time I get to blog the official photos the entire wedding is on Facebook already in the form of grainy, out-of-focus iPhone and Blackberry photos, INCLUDING shots “stolen” over my shoulder.

    We just can’t win!

  • Oh how true this is, particularly the forest of arms waving iPhones during the ceremony. I just had to put a link to this on both my Facebook page and my website as it should be compulsory reading for couples and their guests.

  • As a videographer I can totally agree with this. and specially in video when you get bumped and it ruins the whole shot and angle etc and you have to edit around that…

  • This brought back such memories. When I did weddings pre rinderpest and the ” Uncle Joe” interfered, I would purposely stand in front of him and then walk backwards and deliberately stand on his toes. I am 6ft tall and weigh 125Kgs. No more ” Uncle Joe”
    I have been asked to be the barman at a wedding I was shooting.
    I had to shoot a wedding at the last minute for a friend. He didn’t warn me that the bride was a dog of note who nobody really liked. When I asked the minister if it was ok the photograph the bride during his sermon, he replied that I could throw her off the roof for all he cared. Now that was a shocker.
    Love your articles.

  • I was just writing an article for my website blog about this subject, when i found this article you wrote.
    My compliments. Weddingguests need to be educated.

    MaFoDes (Netherlands)