Give your guests YOUR camera for instant gratification wedding photos at the end of the night

Photo by Sheldon Schwartz, used under Creative Commons license.

Reader SarahP gave us a great tip for getting more candid reception shots. She recommended that couples leave a camera in a conspicuous area and let their friends go wild with photos. This saves money by not having to buy tons of disposables that you have to purchase and then get developed, and allows your friends to be themselves and surprise you later. Win-win. She left this comment on our post, "13 things I wish I'd known on my wedding day."

Here's what SarahP had to say:

At our wedding, I put a tag on my camera that said "Sarah's camera: please take photos with this!" and left it at the table with the guest book/card holder. It was still there at the end of the night with 250 photos on it taken by my friends. Even though we had two photographers at the wedding, I am so happy we did this. A lot of people try to look nice for the official photos, so they're constantly posing. They're more themselves when they're the ones taking the photos. On my camera, I had friends making ridiculous faces, doing shots of maple syrup (the favor), switching ties, etc. So worth it.

If you missed the 13 things post last month, go back and read it — and be sure to check the comments!

  1. My DH is a photographer (but NOT a wedding photographer) and thus has very expensive equipment and is very particular about images. He handed his camera off to the husband of my best mate (who didn't really have anything to "do" at the wedding) and let him go wild. We had to prompt him to take photos of certain things, but he surprised us with lots of other pics of things we'd somehow not even SEEN happen (in spite of our wedding having a total guest list of 15!)

    I very much advocate the approach in this post. And of course you can always offer up the digital files to people afterwards as well.

    1 agrees
  2. I wish we'd done this. We tried to do a photo scavenger hunt to get the same effect, but literally no one has sent us the spoils of their scavenger hunt yet almost three weeks later (even though I know people were doing it, because we got a lot of bear hugs, which was one question.)

    1 agrees
  3. Love this idea (and I'm a pro wedding photographer)
    I'd much rather have one person at a time with the brides camera than 50 guests with their iphones.
    Would have worked much better than the last wedding I shot where there were three guests who got up mid-ceremony to walk up the center aisle and behind the bridesmaids to get their shots!!! Yea. One guy walked infront of the couple (and stood there!!) during their ring exchange. I have lovely photos of him during their rings.

    3 agree
  4. Absolutely brilliant idea! I may put out both my little P&S and my moms, excited!

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  5. Oh! I just noticed this! I'm psyched you guys liked the idea. I was just looking at our wedding photos last night (our anniversary) and was still laughing at some of those candids.

    0 agree
  6. hmm…putting my guests to work lol. sounds ideal, but not sure i'd trust my camera with guests and their guests. maybe that's just me. especially since my wedding would be open bar haha.

    0 agree

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