Smartphones have gotten a bad rap. They’ve been blamed for distracting us, for lowering our attention spans, making us anti-social–and in the case of weddings, for devaluing the art of wedding photography. At Joy, we take a different stance. We are fascinated by mobile technology and we know that smartphones are great multitaskers that can make weddings more engaging, less stressful, and ultimately more fun for everyone involved, including the professional photographer. As a wedding photographer myself, here are the top ways I’ve observed how mobile devices are being used today. Some of these may surprise you.
1. To research – Smartphones, not laptops, are the go-to device for research today. At least 61% of brides and grooms research and actively plan their weddings through their smartphones, according to a survey by The Knot. It’s so easy to look through gowns, cakes or bouquets and send a picture to your besties for quick feedback.
2. To have a video conference – Can’t be at the wedding? You can still join the fun through a number of apps like Google Hangouts, Skype, or Facetime. Here’s an Indian wedding where the bride and her best friends chatted with an old schoolmate, giving him a rare glimpse into the last-minute preparations.
3. To look at yourself – Forgot your mirror? No worries. Just turn your phone’s camera into selfie-mode and use it to check your lipstick like this bride did right before she got her family photos taken.
4. To share photos & videos – Of course, people love taking photos and video snippets with their phones. With some practice and attention to craft, you can create some stunning images that could become the favorites of the wedding day. And the best part? You don’t have to wait 6 weeks; photos and videos from a smartphone can be immediately shared through apps and social media, and can even be projected onto a screen at the wedding venue. The pro photographers who’ve become savvy to this phenomenon have started incorporating some phone shots into their work.
5. To capture the zeitgeist with a meta-photo – Taking a photo of another photo has taken on a certain cachet, and it’s become part of many wedding photographers’ reportage. It might seem a bit too meta, but in 50 years, when technology will have advanced to the point when our iPhones and iPads will seem primitive, a photo like this will take on historical value.
6. To prepare a speech – Want to say something nice or funny about the bride and groom but afraid you’ll stumble over your words? Jot down some notes on your phone, like this best man did during a reception. Like any good story, he constructed a beginning, middle and an end, with a punch line. The phone notes helped him remember the narrative when he went in front of the crowd.
7. To show embarrassing photos of your beloved – Take it from Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who only carries a phone to make presentations in front of large audiences. With all the things you have to lug to your wedding reception, the last thing you’ll want to bring is your laptop. Instead, hook up your phone to a projector to display your slide show. When creating the show, try any of the numerous apps in both Android and IOS that can easily play some of your phone photos to music. If you’d still like to use your computer to create the show, you can save it to Google Docs and access it from your phone.
8. To buy stuff – With most department store websites getting more mobile-friendly, it’s easier than ever to use your phone to compile an online registry. Just send a link to your guests and they can click, click, click to buy you that waffle maker or the thousand-count sheets you’ve always wanted. Easy peasy.
9. To send last-minute announcements – The traffic on the bridge is heavy. There’s more parking behind the venue. There’s an after-party on the beach; bring swimsuits. Whatever announcement you want to make, be sure everyone gets it by group-texting. Set up a group for your wedding guests so that you can text them announcements like this during the big day.
10. To play that funky music – Rather than hiring a DJ, this couple made a collaborative list on Spotify. The result? Their guests danced all night long. Making a shareable list is not only a money-saver, it’s a great way to get everyone’s input and get them to dance.