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Here's why you should stop taking pictures with your phone at weddings

You will ruin their pictures and the moment.
A photographer's split image shows how smartphones ruin wedding photography.
A photographer's split image shows how smartphones ruin wedding photography.Hannah Stanley / Hannah Way Photography
/ Source: TODAY

Put your phones away and let the professional photographers do their job! That’s the message one photographer has for wedding guests everywhere.

Hannah Stanley, a wedding and lifestyle photographer and owner of Hannah Way Photography in Fort Worth, Texas, recently shared a wedding photo that was ruined by a guest's phone.

Stanley, 25, was photographing the bride’s walk down the aisle with her dad when a woman jumped in front of her to snap her own picture.

In a now-viral Facebook post, Stanley wrote an open letter to the iPhone user, begging her and all wedding guests to be more considerate.

“Dear girl with the iPhone...Not only did you ruin my shot, but you took this moment away from the groom, father of the bride, and the bride,” Stanley wrote in the Facebook post, which has since been shared more than 150,000 times. “What exactly do you plan on doing with that photo? Honestly. Are you going to print it out? Save it? Look at it everyday? No. You're not.

“But 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,” she continued. “But instead, you wanted to take a photo with your phone, blocking my view, and taking a photo that you will not use.”

Luckily, Stanley managed to get other great photos of the bride and her dad. However, as she pointed out, the woman with the iPhone still ruined that one unique, fleeting moment.

“I was able to get the perfect shot,” Stanley told TODAY Style in an email. “Me along with photographers across the world, work very hard to serve our couples and not let a guest's phone prevent us from getting the best photo. What we as photographers want guests to understand is these specific moments are not posed, they are in real time, giving us seconds to capture it.”

Unfortunately, this happens often at weddings, Stanley said. And after she posted her open letter on Facebook, support flooded in from other wedding photographers who have dealt with the same problem.

“I shot a wedding one time and a member of the BRIDAL PARTY was taking pictures during the ceremony,” one woman posted. “I literally had to throw out half of the pictures I took for that reason only.”

“I've shot hundreds of weddings and I've posted many, many times about this same thing!!” another photographer commented.

Others pointed out that there’s no need to capture moments like this on your cell phone because the professional photographer’s pictures will always be better.

“Please tell me the person with the phone saw this and feels horrible. Sorry, but your iPhone will not get a shot nearly as wonderful as this photographer's,” one person commented on Stanley’s post. “No phones at my wedding. AT ALL. Proud of this photographer for standing up for the business, as well as the bride and groom!”

So, how can couples ensure a phone-free ceremony? Some people post signs, but in Stanley’s experience, “the most effective way is to have their officiant make an announcement just before the ceremony begins, asking guests to turn off their phones.”

Also, she reminds people that a wedding isn’t a show, but a deeply meaningful rite of passage that people should experience firsthand, not through a screen.

“Marriage is the most sacred union on earth. The ceremony is where two people are becoming one and they have asked you to witness one of the greatest moments of their life,” she told TODAY. “Be fully present, and let the hired professionals capture it.”