Take Advantage of Crowd Sourcing Your Photos

There is a hot new concept called “crowd sourcing” that’s actually a pretty old idea. Originally, it was said that if you had an infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of typewriters, they’d eventually write all of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

This new “crowd sourcing” concept suggests that instead of having a few professionals doing something (writing stories, answering questions, or taking pictures), you’d use lots of amateurs doing whatever you want. In theory the latter will produce as many good things as their professional counterparts but at almost no cost.

So what’s this have to do with weddings? Well, every wedding I go to, every one brings their camera. Whether its cell phones, point & shoots or $2000 SLR’s, invited guests take lots and lots of pictures. We’re a nation of image addicts these days and weddings are no exception. I often find myself competing with everyone else for position to capture the cake cutting or the first dance.

Most of these pictures are enjoyed the moment they are taken and then long forgotten. However, a goodly number are worth keeping. So take advantage of this for your own wedding.

Here’s the plan: have cards printed up with instructions, an email address and words to the affect that your guests should email their favorite photos of your special day to you. I call the ones I do my “Give Me Your Best Shot” cards.

You could end up with lots of very cute pictures for your Facebook page. If you are lucky and have a professional photographer who is willing, send your favorites on to her or him for inclusion in your album or your web page.

A word of caution, don’t tell your guests to send the pictures to your pro photographer. People tend to be intimidated about sending their ‘snap shots’ to a professional. So if you pro is willing to work with the idea, have the photos sent to you and then you send them on for inclusion in your album or website. That will also give you a chance to edit the embarrassing ones out before anyone else sees them.

Many pro photographers will not be happy with this idea – it flies in the face of their focus on excellence. It’s also more work. It can be trying to work with someone else’s really bad photographs but we pros can’t be everywhere during a wedding. Also, sometimes, the right amateur cell phone shot can make an album page. If your photographer is uncomfortable with the idea, get them anyway and put them on your Facebook page.

Which leads me to a final suggestion to make this work…follow up! People’s lives move on. While your wedding was one of your life’s hallmark events, remember that everyone else has their own life to live. Send out reminder emails. Post the early ones you get on your Facebook page and encourage your friends to send theirs. Give a prize. Tweet about it. So don’t let them off the hook and enjoy the fruits of crowd sourcing!


About the Author:

Dan Derby, Wedding Photographer

The spirit of a wedding day lives in fleeting events, unfolding without direction. Wedding photojournalism is how the story of a wedding day can be captured artfully. Trained as a designer (BA & MFA) and skilled in visual story telling, Dan Derby works quietly throughout your wedding day making sure this happens. He is based in New England but travels where ever he’s needed.

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