Best point and shoots for wedding guests?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by oli_sones, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. Hi all,

    My sister is getting married this summer and is having a smallish reception (80 people). Although I’m not going to be taking photos in any official capacity (I’d like to let a pro take care of the important stuff!), I’ve said that as a gift I would supply guests with cameras and film and curate a book with the resulting photos.

    The obvious path to take would be disposable cameras - something like the Ilford HP5+ models. However, I’ve read these can be unreliable and I’d like things to be easy for guests to pick up and shoot with. That leads me to think buying up some old point and shoot cameras would be a good option, but I wonder if anyone has any views on what might be a good model to choose?

    My mind automatically goes to something like an Olympus Mji II/Stylus Epic, but to get 10 plus of these will be pricey, so I need something that is readily available on EBay or other outlets.

    Would love your thoughts on this and any similar experiences you all might have had!

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    I think you have a great idea, but I can't imagine that most of the guests will not have fancy phones with dandy photo capability. Why not set up a place guests can drop their favorite images on line to be combined for the B&G / Family & Friends - printed or disk, or just on line with password for access & download. I wouldn't over think the disposable - of 80, 20? less? for the folks who aren't into phones? Any good brand or recommendations from members here S/B fine. Sounds like a fun addition to the Wedding! Good Luck with it!
    charles_escott_new and Jochen like this.
  3. Disposable cameras with flash, as far as I know, are pretty reliable. They're easy to use in a way that no digital P&S is, so there is some fun to using them for many people. So despite reservations on them, I'd go with those. I've been to weddings where this was done (pre-digital times though), and it worked and delivered some usable fun photo. But, I've also attended weddings where people didn't pick up on the idea at all - so it's probably wise to make sure the master of ceremony spends a brief word on them, or show some sort of sign on entrance to encourage people to use the cameras.

    Sandy's idea of course also rings very true - in this day and age, the majority will carry a smartphone. Some sort of Dropbox/OneDrive/Google Drive which you facilitate, though probably it means you need to get email addresses from all the guests.
  4. I would use my phone to take such photos and not be bothered with any film P&S or disposable camera, and I think most guests would do the same. I like the idea of a drop box for guests to forward their images, and you may be surprised with quality and spontaneity of many of the files.
  5. EOS 500 - was it called film Rebel elsewhere? Or similar ultra basic less popular film AF SLRs with contemporary kit zooms.
    P&Ss aren't my field of collecting (I love my Retina II too much), but I'd feel challenged to comprehend why a basic SLR shouldn't do their job. and a strapped SLR isn't harder to carry around than a P&S occupying a hand (or will the bridesmaid dresses have cargo pant pockets?).
    OTOH: Why bother with film? Don't contemporary decent smart phones beat it by lengths?
    Take a look at the event's time line and your exposure meter before you buy anything. - Film, P&Ssy cams and rookies work fine by daylight and outdoors. ISO 400 will just serve as a buffer for dull days and to keep the flash going.
    Another forum member married with a huge box of personal collection SLRs ready for interested guests with a basic prewritten briefing. - It seems to have worked out.
  6. I like the idea of collecting photo from their phones.
    I was surprised by the low light capabilities of some of these phone cameras, which is much better than my P&S.
    And best of all, they already know how to use it, so no training.
    Just the hassle of collecting the photos from everyone.

    You just got to tell them that it is OK to take out their phones and shoot.
  7. Since the OP is asking for a film solution and it's one I like, if you have time look around for the Pentax IQ Zoom cameras, I still have one and the lens is super sharp. Has a built in flash and that's pretty good too. Only downside to this one is that it doesn't use AA batteries, I think it is an A123 or something similar. Get 3-4 of those out and you should be able to make a very nice book.

    Rick H.
  8. There might be some "fun" in having the guests shoot with an OLD film camera :)
    I have a P&S that is older than many of my nephews and nieces.
  9. At one wedding, I went around to be sure that all the disposable cameras got used. I never saw any of the pictures, though.

    Point and shoot with built-in flash would probably be good.

    Old SLRs are fun, but most don't have flash, which you might need.

    On the other hand, with the TMZ coming back, at EI 3200 you might be able to do without flash.

    With stores like Goodwill, and especially with their auction site, you can get old SLRs like the Canon FT for very low prices.
    (Using the auction site of a local store avoids shipping charges.)

    SLRs with small electronic flash attached could also work.
  10. If there is a hired professional photographer, please don't ask the guests to take pictures all over the place. It will make the pro's work so much harder to get the needed attention of guests to make a good photo. In fact good professional photographers would ask the B&G to discourage guests from taking photos, at least not a lot of photos. The ultimate question is: Do you want quality or quantity? I had been to a wedding where every table was provided a disposable camera. I noticed that they were were mostly ignored by the guests. Also, as noted by comments above, most people have cell phones these days.
  11. As I noted above, at one wedding (pre-cellphone days) I tried to make sure that they got used.
    I don't know how many other people would do that, but some might.

    The pros aren't going to shoot lots of pictures of people eating, and such, which is what you might get from cameras at the table

    I suppose it depends on the activities that people have to do.
  12. Last fall we put together a class reunion. I was the principle photographer, but along with all the other people snapping photos, we put a disposable camera on each table (total 25). About half were totally used up, and I was surprised at the results. No one had any problems in using them. Of the 25, only one failed to be returned. These "amateur" photographers caught a lot of moments that my fancy cameras might frightened away.

    There were two cameras that had not been used at all. I pulled the film as used it in my "pro" cameras.

    As far as discouraging others from taking photos of any event where I have been the hired hand, I'm confident enough in my ability that I never have worried about it. OK, one time when the bride and groom were both photographers for a big city newspaper, and all of their co-works came armed to the teeth. I still came out just fine. Just so long as no one blasts a flash in my face I am happy.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
    Mary Doo likes this.
  13. You must be very good. :) A friend of mine who is an exceptionally good photographer was missing essential shots of the bride walking up the alter with her father at a small church, where the procession was exceptionally short, due to the guests crowing the walkway to take their shots. Then the bride was unhappy with some of the group shots as many were looking at other photographers. That's probably why I have seen photographers at wedding repeating again and again at group sessions that everyone should only look at her and not at anyone else. That was "live and learn" for her, but it can still hapen.

    Re the cameras for the guests. Think these days guests prefer to use their ubiquitous cell phone.
  14. I'm pretty much out of the wedding game now, shooting just a few each year. All that I ever asked about guests taking photos was that they wait till I'm done with the groups and then they could go crazy.

    Back then I figured even their 35mm cameras were no match for my 4x5 for formals.

    PS - that photo of me was taken last year at one of those few,

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