Photo planning tips: alternatives to disposable cameras

I remember when my cousin had her wedding and there were little plastic disposable cameras on each table. The idea was great — most professional photographers at the time (this was 10 years ago) were more “traditional” — they left the reception right after the cake cutting, so disposable cameras were a great way to have photos of the guests.

Fast forward to today. If you have an attachment to disposable cameras, by all means go ahead and use them. Personally, I find that they produce poor quality photos and are expensive. They are certainly not a replacement for a professional photographer, but if you are looking for extra coverage of your guests, you have some options you might not have thought about.

• Talk with your photographer. A good photographer is already planning on taking photos of your guests at the reception, and many will stay for enough time to get those “candid” moments. If you have a lot of guests or want portraits of each of your guests, you can talk with you photographer about options: maybe they can bring along an additional shooter who is dedicated to shooting or even set up a small photo booth. This is often cheaper than having 20 cameras developed, and is one less thing for you to worry about.

• Polaroid camera. Yep, they still make them and they are still fun. Your guests can take photos as they have time throughout the evening and put their photos into a guest book. Even better news is that Polaroid has introduced a new digital instant printing camera called the PoGo. It still gives you the option to print instantly, but since it is digital, you can choose to not print photos that didn’t turn out, and you can save all the photos digitally for future fun! Make sure you have a lot of Polaroid film, and you should probably assign a friend or family member to check on refills from time to time.

• Bring a laptop and universal card reader. Face it, most of your guests will bring their own digital cameras and are already doing the work for you. Make an announcement during the reception for guests to download their cards onto your laptop (assign a friend to man the machine). This also saves you from tracking down all the different albums people will put on flickr, facebook, and snapfish. Best of all? It is totally free.

• The Photo booth. There are lots of photo booth companies that will install a photo booth for a few hours during the reception. It can be entertaining for the guests, you can use the photo strips as an alternative to a guest book. Many companies operate digitally, and can  upload copies online for your guests to see and purchase. The Traveling Photo Booth is great for small spaces and operates totally digitally, while still providing the great strips. Photobooth Memories produces the classic photo prints and is not digital.


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