Yes of course they can.
Just about everyone now uses a phone or tablet with a camera at weddings. Is there a problem with guests using these devices at wedding and the answer is yes. There are three main problems:
- The person holding up a phone or tablet can get in the way of the photographer.
- Guests taking photos while standing in the aisle with their tablets or phones particularly when the Bride is walking down the aisle.
- The built-flash on these devices can cause exposure problems for the photographer.
One of my favourite lenses is the Nikon 70-200mm zoom lens. With this lens I can and often like to take my images from some distance from my subject/s. An example would be when the Bride (and her father) are walking down the aisle towards her future husband and I am about to take a photo looking down the aisle with the Bride and Groom in shot when a guest suddenly steps out into the aisle between myself and the Bride and Groom with their iPad. I have just lost a great shot and have to re-position myself to keep shooting. Another example is during the ceremony or signing or say the first dance, you can nearly always guarantee that someone with a camera will position themselves such that it is very hard if not impossible to shoot around them.
Have a look at the video below. Although it is about a Videographer, the same applies for the photographer.
The other big problem from the photographers perspective is the camera flash. Most smart phones have built-in led flashes and when a guest is taking images, the flash will usually go off. I shoot with Nikon D810 and D500 professional cameras and these cameras have very large and good image sensors such that I prefer not to use flash unless I have to get the best shot. If I shoot the same time as someone uses their smartphone or tablet (with flash) then my image will most likely be unusable. These two things happen at virtually every wedding these days.
I don’t mind guests using their cameras as the day is special and they like to get their own photos too but the Bride and Groom need to know that they can be a problem. I have even had guests push me out of the way so they can get their own shot.
Now the clients pay a lot of money to get the very best photos that they can afford of their wedding, to capture those special memories and they have every right to expect the photographer to deliver their best work but it is hard when others get in the way. Wedding photographers don’t usually get another chance at a shot particularly during the ceremony and they have a lot going on so what is the best thing to do to help them get the best for their clients.
I don’t like asking clients to request their guests not to bring and use their cameras but perhaps it is a good idea to ask the guests to keep their photography to a minimum particularly during the ceremony and to not move out of their seats or positions into the aisle or near the bride and groom particularly during the ceremony.
This is your call. Perhaps you could ask your guests to enjoy the ceremony and pull out the ipad/phones after the ceremony has finished and offer to share your photo gallery with them when your photos are completed.