When it comes to weddings, people still push disposable cameras. Etsy shops sell them as essential for your wedding day. Advice blogs tell you they’re the cheapest way to get fun, impromptu wedding pictures.
But they all seem to forget five crucial things:
1. It’s freaking difficult to get film developed these days. Where does it?!
2. If you manage to find somewhere, you have to pay to get the pictures developed as well as for the cameras – and anything that difficult to track down isn’t going to be cheap.
3. You can’t preview a traditional photograph or delete it and re-take it if it’s of a massive, blurry thumb, so most of the roll will be the same pictures again and again, in the hope one of them turned out – which is annoying when you have a hard limit on how many pictures you can take.
4. Disposable cameras – disposable anything, really – are terrible for the environment. They’re made of metal and plastic that could be put to much better use.
5. Every one of your guests has a much better camera already, in their pockets. And they’ll happily take pictures for you. For free!
If you want some fun pictures from different perspectives, if you want pictures from the dance floor after your photographer has gone home (and do think about that – you might not), encouraging your guests to take photos is a great idea. But you don’t need to spend a fortune on disposable cameras to get them to do that.
Your guests don’t need that much encouraging. If any. Your guests will want to take photos. They’ll want to help commemorate your happy day. If unplugged wedding supporters are to be believed, they’ll turn up with a super 8 rolling and won’t stop until a passive-aggressive chalkboard sign asks them to leave the boom mic in a hand-carved box outside the ceremony.
So why bother with the difficult-and-expensive-to-develop, bad-for-the-environment, bad-for-you disposables?
Instead, gently prompt your guests to take photos with the smart phones they already have with them by, say, putting out selfie sticks.
In defence of selfie sticks
Now, I know the face you’re making. It’s the face of a person who thinks they’re above using selfie sticks. It’s the face of a person who thinks selfies are somehow vainglorious. (But spending months painting a self-portrait is art? Van Gough, ya basic!)
But people like taking selfies. Even people you don’t think will like taking selfies like taking selfies. My sixty-cough-cough-cough-year-old mother loves taking selfies. And why not? Selfies are fun. You gather the people you love, snuggle in to fit in the frame, and you have an instant memory.
And selfie sticks make the whole thing easier (and a bit more flattering – high angles bring out your cheekbones!), but also more fun. They give you permission to be silly. They give you permission to take more photos than you might normally (super 8 wielders excepted), to gather your friends, to document the wonderful wedding you’re enjoying. (And I promise you, as a bride or groom, you’re not going to have a chance to experience your own wedding – you’re going to want to see all the photos afterwards. You’re going to want the selfies, if only to know your guests had a good time.)
It’s important that you know I say all this as someone who cannot take a selfie. And I mean that quite literally. I am the opposite of photogenic. Any picture anyone tries to take of me comes out like an awkward Victorian portrait – a woman, standing stiff and wide-eyed, staring at the camera like it might well steal her soul.
What I’m saying is I’m not coming from a biased pro-SnapChat stance on this. I’m not the kind of person who owns a selfie stick.
But, when I was planning my own wedding, poking around in pound shops to get some of the odds and ends I wanted cheaply – toys to keep the children amused during speeches, sweets for the candy buffet- and I found selfie sticks on sale for £1 each, I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t buy one for every table at our wedding breakfast.
Because they encourage people to take pictures. Because they give people something fun to do in the awkward parts of the day, when the wedding party’s getting photos taken. Because kids love them way more than not-that-bouncy bouncy balls from the pound shop.
And because the more pictures you can have from your wedding, memorialising the moments the photographer missed, showing all the people you love the most happy to be there and support you, and having an amazing time at the party you’ve spent so long planning, the better.
So – I’m going to pretend you don’t still have that look on your face and you’re fully on-board. Good news! I have a free printable of cute tags you can attach to all your new selfie sticks!
The tags explain how selfie sticks work, prompt people to post their pictures with your wedding hashtag, and fully encourage the unapologetic use of duck face.
Edit the .PSD file in Photoshop or other image editing software, like Photopea (not sure how? There are step-by-step instructions here) to add in your own wedding hash tag. Then all you need to do is print them out on A4 card, and practice your smizing.