Tons of photos & videos are taken by your guests at your wedding. Won't it be a shame if you never see it? Well, it will.
But have no fear - in this guide, I'll show you the best ways you can start collecting wedding photos from guests at your wedding. We'll go through some Do-It-Yourself solutions and also suggest a few paid (but affordable) tools you could use to make the experience smoother and even fun for your guests.
Let's dive in.
Why should you even bother collecting your wedding photos?
"I already have a photographer" you might say. So yeah, photographers do their job well, but your wedding is much more than what you see behind your photographer's lens. So if you're not sold on the idea of collecting your wedding photos from your guests, here are a few reasons why you should do it:
- Your photographer can't be everywhere - no matter how good they are, there are plenty of moments in your wedding that will probably be missed by your photographer (hence, you'll miss it too).
- Authentic glance to your wedding - enjoy every single angle of your wedding, crafted by your very own family and friends. Some moments are just priceless.
- TONS of photos are taken by your guests - Have you been to a wedding lately? People are snapping everywhere! The ceremony, food, dancing, atmosphere, etc., are all on your guests' phones. And let's admit it, phone cameras nowadays are pretty good!
Best Ways to Collect Your Wedding Photos
So now that we're convinced that getting your wedding pictures is a good idea, here are some ways easy ways to can use on your weddings to do that:
1. Shared Google Photos / DropBox album
One common method to collect wedding photos from guests is using a tool like Google Photo or Dropbox. Create a shared album and share it with your guests. It's mostly free (unless you need extra space on your account) and pretty easy to set up. One drawback is that these tools are not built for events but for photo albums in general). As a result, the experience might not be straightforward for guests (too many "clicks" to do a simple upload task). You also lose some event-specific features, like allowing guests to add captions to photos, customize the album with your brand and colors, etc. But overall, it's a good free solution. You can also create a QR code for wedding pictures.
💰 Price: Free (might pay for extra space).
- Mostly free (if you have enough space).
- Not intended for collecting wedding photos.
- Not the best experience for your guest.
- Which may lead to fewer photos being collected.
2. Kululu's Digital Album
Kululu is a simple and fun way to collect photos & videos from your guests using a beautiful web-based wedding album. You simply share it with your guests (during and after the event) via a QR code or direct link (email, SMS, WhatsApp, etc.). Moreover, you can display all the uploads on a live photo wall (slideshow) in real-time during the event. No app downloads are required from your guests to participate, so there is no technical hassle. There are also plenty of other valuable features like customizing the colors and appearance, allowing guests to add captions to photos, moderation tools, and more. The main "drawback" of Kululu is that it costs money to unlock all the features available, though the prices are pretty affordable.
💰 Price: $39-$99 (free plan available).
- Stunning digital album to share with guests.
- Simple and easy to use (for you and your guests).
- No apps are required from your guests to participate.
- Built especially for collecting wedding photos from guests
- Includes a live slideshow of all shared photos you can display during the event.
- Cost money (but reasonable prices).
- I'm the founder of Kululu so I'm biased! 😂
3. Using Instagram Wedding Hashtag
Wedding #hashtags are a big thing in some countries. The idea is to generate a unique hashtag for your wedding and then ask all your friends and family to tag photos and stories they upload to Instagram with this hashtag. At the end of the event, you can go to the hashtag page on Instagram and view everything tagged with it. That's an elegant solution, but you'll probably end up with fewer photos because not everyone uses Instagram (or is willing to share on social media). They are also likely to upload only a few selected photos. But it's pretty easy to set up, so you can always use it in addition to other solutions.
💰 Price: Free.
- Simple and easy to use (for a young audience).
- Easy to find all photos by just going to the #hashtag page.
- Guests can add a personal caption to images.
- You significantly get fewer photos.
- Not all guests can participate (requires Instagram or the willingness to share on social media).
- Reduced photo quality because of Instagram's compression.
- Not private - everyone can see it on Instagram.
- Needs a bit of work to download the photos to your device.
4. Disposable cameras
If you want to spice things up, you can hand over disposable or polaroid cameras so guests can use them during the event. At the end of the event, you take it all back and collect everything your guests took during the event. It adds to the wedding atmosphere and people might enjoy participating. The main cons are; first, it can be very costly if you have a lot of guests. Second, it's not the most elegant solution as some say, and requires additional "operational work" to get it right. But for a small number of guests or people who want to get this "vintage vibe," I totally see why it's worth it.
💰 Price: $5-$60 per camera (depends on quality).
- A unique and fun way to collect wedding photos.
- It can add a lot to the atmosphere.
- Works well for small weddings (under 30 people).
- Not cheap.
- It might be too much to ask guests to carry it with them.
- Photos are not of high quality (it depends on the camera).
- Clunky: You must manually collect all the pictures from each camera (like in the old times, you know).
5. The Guest App
The Guest is a well-known app for collecting wedding photos from guests, built back then in 2010. It works by having your guests download the app during your wedding and join your event album. From that moment, every photo or video they take will be uploaded to the album automatically. It might sound good at first, but some people find this app too invasive because EVERY photo the guests take will be shared. Moreover, guests must download the app to participate - which usually leads to fewer guests participating. The app might work well for small events, but getting everyone on board is probably more complicated for larger events.
💰 Price: Free
- Built especially for wedding photo collection.
- It can work well for small weddings (under 30 guests).
- Requires guests to download a special app to participate.
- Might be problematic for larger weddings.
- Privacy issues - guests can share unintended photos by mistake.
- Some people mentioned in the reviews that the app is buggy.
Tips for collecting wedding photos
Let your guests know about it - Make sure your inner circle (close friends and family) knows your plan to get your wedding photos. For example, if you're using a digital album kind of solution, share the link with them ahead of time and personally ask them to upload photos during and after the event.
Avoid using app-based digital albums - Some tools and services require you and your guests to download an app to participate. The problem with apps is that it requires much more effort from your guests - (download for the app store, install, sign in, etc.) as opposed to a web-based album where you open it in the mobile browser and you're good to go. It's not 2010 anymore, and people are not in favor of downloading apps. Fewer guests participating means fewer photos for you.
Make it easy (and visible) to participate - In addition to the previous point, you must ensure it's easy for guests to participate without any struggle. You should also make it bold and visible so guests know where they can upload their photos. For example, you can put a print with a QR code for uploading wedding pictures on the tables or at the reception. You can also add a link for your album in your digital invitation / after-event SMS/email. If you are using Kululu, you can leverage the Live Photo Wall, which has a bold QR code for your digital album. Anyway, I hope you get the idea - the more visibility, the more photos you get.
Summary - what's the best option?
As you've seen, there are various ways you can leverage to collect wedding photos from guests. Some are free, some cost money, some are easier to use, and some might get you fewer photos.
You should make a decision based on your situation - each has its pros and cons, depending on your budget and the size of your event. If you're on a strict budget, you might stick with the free solutions, but you might get less.
In my humble opinion - a wedding is something that happens once in a lifetime (hopefully), so you better get the most out of it with a proper solution that is genuinely dedicated to this goal. That's why we built Kululu, an elegant and fun way to collect wedding photos (for free/affordable prices). But again, as the founder of Kululu, I'm opinionated. 🙃
Regardless of your decision, don't forget to have fun at your wedding! That's the most important thing, of course.