Disposable cameras - Photo by Enzo Abramo from Pixabay

Above Image by Enzo Abramo from Pixabay

Are Disposable Cameras for Weddings a Good Idea?


I've been asked quite a few times if disposable cameras are a good idea for weddings and also have seen this asked a lot of times on Facebook wedding groups and other online forums.

I can see the attraction. The idea that guests will take some funny photographs. They'll make a nice addition to the official photographs for you to remember your wedding day with. Maybe perhaps capturing those moments that your wedding photographer can't or maybe after he/she has left for the day.

After all, they're pretty inexpensive. Anyone can use them. Pop one on each table and just collect them at the end of the evening.

Unfortunately in my experience the idea is far better than the reality. In practice I think they're a complete waste of money! Let me explain why.

We live in a Digital Age

Firstly let's be honest. We're in the digital age now. How many guests at your wedding won't have a cameraphone? Close to zero. In fact only the younger kids won't. And that's who usually ends up using them‚ if anyone at all. I've seen these sat on tables most of the time whilst everyone just uses their phones. Until eventually maybe an Auntie runs around snapping a few shots from each camera just to use them up.

The reason of course is you can instantly see your results on a digital camera/phone. Your guests share that moment instantly. Gone are the days of waiting a couple of weeks for the postman to deliver the photos. I guarantee you half your guests won't even know how to switch on the flash!

Cost (and quality) of cameras

Secondly the cost. Most couples buy a batch of these cameras cheaply from the Internet. At this current time they're selling on eBay for about £5 each. Cheaper if you buy them in packs of 10 (around £33). That works out at £3.30 a camera. Wait a moment‚ what sort of quality are you going to get from a camera worth £3.30?!?!! Including a film!

The answer is not very good quality. To the point where you might as well use a cameraphone! In fact I recently had to use a disposable camera (long story). Here's a couple of photos that eventually came back. I got a load of photos back of that quality and it cost me including development £15!

Developing costs

Thirdly and this is the bit which most couples forget to factor in. Developing costs! The cheapest I can find online to develop a roll of 24 photos is £4.25. It's more if you go to a High Street shop. So let's say you bought a pack of ten cameras. That's £33 + £42.50 to get the films developed!!!! A total of £75! All of a sudden that great idea of getting a few photographs cheaply doesn't seem so cheap after all. It wouldn't be THAT bad I guess if you were going to get back 240 photos for £75. Certainly much cheaper than hiring a professional.

But wait. Think back to when we only had film cameras. Out of the 24 or 36 photos you got back from the lab, how many of those came out? How many were dark to the point they were unusable or simply blurry rubbish? Quite a few right? Of course that was when you were using a 'proper camera'. But here you're using a camera worth £3! A camera that most people don't even use at a wedding and Auntie Mabel just ran around at the end to use them up!

So you end up spending a small fortune and get back a few poor quality photos that your basic camera phone would have taken much better and for no cost.

A better idea?

Instead here are a couple of ideas that you may want to consider instead:

  1. Disposable.app This is a smartphone app that you can email your guests before your wedding. Any photographs they take using the app will be uploaded to a gallery where you can later view and download. What a great idea eh? No processing costs too! What does this service cost? NOTHING. It's free!
  2. Another idea which I've done once at a family wedding is to get a few old digital cameras. You'd be amazed how many people have an old digital camera lying around that are no longer used. I printed out a few "Official Wedding Paparazzi" badges and let the kids go wild with them. The results were hilarious, kept the younger kids entertained whilst at the same time feeling helpful. Sure we got a lot of photos of the floor but some of the snaps the kids got were brilliant. I still don't know where one found a lobster! You can see a few of them below:

Which do you prefer?

I hope the above explains why I don't think using disposable cameras at weddings are a good idea and that you found this article useful. As always let me know your thoughts and if this article has swayed you one way or the other.

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