I often say that I'm glad I got married before I knew anything about weddings and that I hope I stop working with weddings long before my kids get married.
I got married in 2002 having only looked at a handful of wedding magazines. Through a strange twist of fate, a few years later I was part of the wedding world, writing about weddings, giving out wedding advice, and working with wedding vendors to help them grow their business. If I'd known what I later learned about weddings when I was planning my own, I might have been paralyzed by the sheer amount of information available.
Earlier this year, I wrote what I assumed would be my last wedding article. After seven years of writing about weddings, I thought I had said everything I could say. As I've said here before, there's really nothing new and unique about weddings.
Shortly after handing in the article, a friend invited me to be her "plus one" at the wedding of a mutual friend.
I was excited to go to the wedding as a guest, with no ulterior motive, no need to take notes and think about work! Before I even arrived at the wedding I downloaded the photo sharing app the couple was using.
Wedding photo sharing apps have been around for some time, but I generally stick to the social networks for sharing my photos. However, in the spirit of trying new things, I decided to download their app. I had a mixed reaction. I was unsure about the privacy settings and found it difficult to see so many photos of/from people I didn't know throughout the evening.
Also, after so many years of working with wedding photographers, small independent business owners who rely on referrals and word of mouth for their next clients, I couldn't help wonder how photo sharing might be changing their business.
I had to admit, I did like the immediacy and intimacy of using the app. I hadn't been at the pre-wedding parties, but I loved seeing the photos from them. There were some inside jokes from those events mentioned at the wedding, and being able to see the pre-wedding events made me feel like I knew what was going on.
Ironically, a few days after the wedding I got a call from a former colleague now working with Snapshots, a new wedding photo sharing app. She told me what they did, which she described as "an all-in-one photography platform that brings photographers, event vendors, clients, and guests, all together." It's like a private cloud for the wedding where every photo, taken by the pros and the guests, gets captured. I realized that Snapshots addressed the exact concern I had for how all this guest photo-sharing was affecting professional photographers. Snapshots benefits couples because now they don't have to go chasing down friends' photos and hashtags, and they get to see some of their photographer's photos right away instead of waiting weeks or months for proofs.
Full disclosure, my former colleague was calling in part to see if I might consider working with Snapshots. So, suddenly, I'm back to thinking about working with weddings again. One of the things I never liked was the way wedding blogs seem to set couples and vendors against each other. So many articles are written as though all couples are cheap and all vendors are trying to cheat them. Truth be told, there is a lot of both in the wedding industry, but what if professionals and money saving changes could work together? Contrary to my previous statement, would that be something new in the world of weddings?
Rather than cutting the photographer out of the process, or making couples and guests feel like they're sneaking around the professional photographer, Snapshots puts the professional photographer front and center. Photographers set the app up for couples so that everyone can share their photos, giving couples one less thing to do. Snapshots becomes the way that photographers and their clients interact with the proofs after the event.
Since going to the wedding and talking to my friend I find myself thinking about a photo from my own wedding. A photo a guest took with one of those disposable cameras we put on the tables back in the "old" days. The photo is of a friend who is no longer with us, he is holding a drink and smiling broadly.
Our photographer wasn't crazy about the disposable cameras, he didn't want to have people in the way taking photos he was trying to take, but that silly snapshot is every bit as important to me as the framed photo of my husband and I kissing that the photographer took. A photographer can't be everywhere at once, and he never would have gotten that random shot of our friend. With the photo sharing apps available now, today's couples really don't have to worry about missing a moment like that.
So maybe I was wrong, maybe there is something new in the wedding world. Maybe it wouldn't hurt for me to do a little work writing about weddings and wedding photos. After all, by the time my child gets around to wedding planning the newest photo sharing apps will probably be implanted in our brains.