'Turn OFF your phone': Wedding photographer's post goes viral

Rear view shot of a father walking his daughter down the aisle while guests take photos with their cellphones
Rear view shot of a father walking his daughter down the aisle while guests take photos with their cellphones Photo: Getty Images

A wedding photographer has implored guests to put down their phones and let professionals capture photos of the couple's special day.

In a post to her Facebook page, Hannah Mbalenhle Stanely shared a snap from a recent ceremony which was ruined by a guest's iPhone.

"To the girl with the iPhone," she writes. "Not only did you ruin my shot, but you took this moment away from the groom, father of the bride, and the bride.

"What exactly do you plan on doing with that photo?" she continues. "Honestly. Are you going to print it out? Save it? Look at it everyday?"

No, she says. You're not. 

"My bride would have printed this photo, looked at it often and reminisced over this moment as her dad walked her down the aisle on her wedding day," Ms Stanley writes. "But instead, you wanted to take a photo with your phone, blocking my view, and taking a photo that you will not use."

The photographer then issues a plea to wedding guests on behalf of wedding photographers everywhere.

"Guests, please stop viewing weddings you attend through a screen but instead turn OFF your phone, and enjoy the ceremony. You are important to the bride and groom, you would not be attending the wedding otherwise. So please, let me do my job, and you just sit back, relax and enjoy this once in a lifetime moment. "

Her words have since gone viral, shared over 170,000 times and attracting hundreds of comments.
"Amen," one commenter wrote. "There is nothing worse than you trying to do your job and get that perfect shot for the bride and there are 10 cell phones in your way. It's infuriating. They are paying you to do a job that guests won't let you do. Then who's at fault, you can't be rude to the guests!"
"This is why we're making people put phones in a basket," another added. 
And they're not alone. 
Recent years have seen more and more couples opting for "unplugged weddings", where guests are asked to turn off all devices - and be present.

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But viewing special events through a screen might not just ruin someone else's shot - it could impact our memory of the event, too.

Writing for The Conversation, Professor of Psychology Giuliana Mazzoni notes, "Nowadays we tend to commit very little to memory – we entrust a huge amount to the cloud ... Even the most personal events are generally recorded on our cellphones. Rather than remembering what we ate at someone's wedding, we scroll back to look at all the images we took of the food."

And this, Professor Mazzoni says, has consequences.

"Taking photos of an event rather than being immersed in it has been shown to lead to poorer recall of the actual event – we get distracted in the process."