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I've heard much discussion recently about photographers who limit or restrict guests from taking pictures. Different photographers have different policies regarding this...with some being more restrictive than others. Here is a factual look at why most photographers have such policies in place.

It used to be that photographers derived a large part of their income from the sale of prints, and every time someone else took a picture, it meant that some of their income was going to be lost. This was particularly true with the formals and family photographs. So, to protect their ability to feed their families, many photographers prohibited outside cameras during the family photographs.

But it goes much deeper than the photographer missing out on a few sales...besides, most photographers include the digital files in their packages, so they know the client will likely make their own prints.

It's more about the photographer’s ability to provide the best images that they can for their client. Most photographers’ care very deeply about the images they produce, and when a great image is compromised by a guest with a camera...or missed altogether...it's frustrating to the photographer. And it's been know to cause brides to be very angry with their photographer over missed pictures, when in fact; it was completely out of the photographer’s control.

Here are a few real world examples of what can go wrong...

During the bridal and family photographs...some of the subjects may look at someone with a camera other than the photographers...so you end up with family and bridal portraits that have some of the people looking in different directions. That doesn't make for a very appealing image. And while these can usually be retouched to some degree, it may cost you significant money.

Your photographer got no emotionally charged images of the father/daughter dance...because the entire time there were friends and relatives calling your names and tapping you on the shoulder to turn and look at them so they could take your picture.

That wonderful moment when you when you were dancing with your brother would have made a great photograph had it not been for that big orange glow on his face coming from the focus assist light on someone’s camera.

I know a photographer who once was unable to get any images at all of the ring exchange. The priest had restricted him to the very back of the church, and although he could see down the aisle just fine with a telephoto lens, his view was completely blocked by the three guests with cell phone cameras who got up and stood in the aisle near the front.

I could go on...but I think you see my point. Wedding photographers in general understand that guests want to take pictures. They expect it. They know that many guests bring cameras, even if it's a cell phone camera. They certainly don't want to deny anyone the chance to take a picture. Most photographers will tell you that they want the guests to take as many pictures as they like.

But they also hope that they're given the opportunity to produce their best work for their clients. They don't expect a client to tell their guests to leave their digital and cell phone cameras at home, but they do hope that you understand that sometimes an otherwise well-intentioned guest will compromise their best efforts.

All they want is the chance to give their clients the best possible work that they can. They want their clients to be thrilled with the images...not unhappy because something got missed or ruined.