Ahead of their 75-person reception, Ms. Lenke equipped her maid of honor, Shelby Sharp, with a Polaroid camera and a shot list. (Ms. Lenke later returned the favor and took Polaroid photos at Ms. Sharp’s wedding.)
So how do the professionals feel about (sometimes) being replaced?
“At the end of the day, it really does come down to priorities and some people need to pick and choose,” said Caroline Lee, a wedding photographer and the founder of Woodnote Photography in Los Angeles. “For some of them, they’d rather have an open bar for their entire wedding than have a photographer that costs $7,000.”
Ms. Lee, who shoots about 50 weddings each year and whose rates begin at $4,000, not only welcomes alternative ways of documenting celebrations, but encourages them by offering photo booths to some clients. Though she said that professional wedding photography is in a different category (read: fine art) than the images captured on cellphones.
“I don’t worry about it as a threat to my career in any sort of way,” Ms. Lee said. “The people who value the type of photos wedding photographers take are forever going to hire us.”
Cody Barry, a wedding photographer in Portland, Maine, understands the appeal of crowdsourced photography, but believes that some brides and grooms may regret not having a professional photographer in attendance.
“After your wedding day, the most important thing that you have is pictures. As great as cellphone photos and all that shared stuff is, you want something timeless and lasting that you can show your grandkids,” said Mr. Barry, who typically charges clients $4,000 to $6,000 per package. “They’ll just be in awe of that day.”