What Wedding Photography Has In Common With Taking Photographs on Your Cell Phone

05 | 22 | 2010

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What I have come to love most* about taking photographs on my various cell phones is its (my) almost unconscious reaction to a moment or a scene. Point and shoot (nearly without thinking)! These are not relatively technologically advanced—or even competent—camera-machines. Serendipity prevails. Instinct prevails. My ability to make great photographs on my phone is proportionate to my ability to make great photographs period. And so, come to think of it, is yours. (These levelings-of-the-playing-field are good for the art; only when anyone can do it—not just those of us who can afford cameras—will photography become about those who can see … and about how they see the world).

One’s readiness to take a photo (on a cell phone or at a wedding) is essential. And like the world at large, a wedding is a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t kind of place. Wedding photographers are hired for their readiness, an eagerness to see the picture and take it before the moment has flown away.  Cell phones make recording that everyday magic accessible to all of us. Obviously we choose to use sophisticated cameras—for the most part anyway**—to record people’s officially magical moments. But that instinctive reaction to life, to the world—just as in taking photographs on your cell phone—is what sets a good photographer apart, whether or not the person is a “pro,” and whether or not they photograph weddings from time to time.

The other thing I love about taking photos on the phone is that they are inherently and undeniably personal. ***Look at your phone—look at mine—it is filled with the daily joys: my doggy, my husband, my garden, the nieces and nephews, and the lovely bits of the world I take in as I go about my life and work.  Sometimes, however, I get the impression from folks  that wedding photos are supposed to be somehow not-personal (like: not as though they could be from my cell phone). But how is that even possible, much less desirable?

Of course the wedding photos I take are particular and personal to me, almost like they came straight from my phone, if decidedly a little fancier. It is my perfectly subjective point of view, my various passions and excitements that are represented in the photographs I take wherever I take them, on the job or in my back yard.  And that’s what you want!  You hire us wedding photographers for our empathy, for our sensitivity to your beauty, happiness, and love!  (Otherwise, we’d all save the money and have surveillance cameras or robots take our wedding photos, right?)


* Of course, before you can love it, you have to make peace with the vast and charming/maddening limitations of the camera phones.

** Those of you who know me well know that I have a devoted love of sh—— toy cameras. I can’t help myself.  Memories sort of flicker.  A lot like toy cam pictures.

*** Strong inspiration for this post came a few months ago, when I saw photojournalist David Guttenfelder’s iPhone photographs from the war in Afghanistan.  News photos seem so much less personal than cell phone photos from the news photographer.   I’m not sure why that is, but I was taken aback to realize it …

photos: Gia Canali


5 Notes on “What Wedding Photography Has In Common With Taking Photographs on Your Cell Phone

  1. Jessie

    well said! i am looking forward to an iPhone upgrade hopefully this month…..still rocking the first generation….

  2. Gia Post author

    I’m still rocking the first generation iPhone, too! I can’t wait til the new one comes out. I hear that the camera is going to be way better. And I take so many photos on my phone … it would be nice if they were a little better quality than they really are.

  3. Pingback: Notes Toward Slow (Wedding) Photography « Pursuing the Picture Perfect Wedding :: a blog about weddings and getting great wedding photographs by Gia Canali

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