In terms of wedding photos, you probably plan to hire a photographer or videographer — but what about all those amazing snaps your guests are going to take? Creating a wedding hashtag can help you locate some pics on social media, but it can't capture all the photos your great aunt Edna and Internet-shy cousins took too. And you want to see Every. Single. Picture. Right? Here are some programs and technologies out there that can help you gather all the photographic goods.
1. Set Up a Real-Time Auto-Sharing Archive
Spreading quickly by word of mouth, Veri is an app that allows users to easily auto-share all their great footage—no uploading or tagging required. It takes less than 10 minutes to invite your guests with a personalized link to a free app download, then you pay $97 for an event, which includes unlimited photo and video uploads. (You can also purchase a discounted three- or five-event package if you want to use Veri for your bridal shower, bachelorette, and/or rehearsal dinner.) Couples typically get between 80 and 1,000 photos and videos from the app alone; that's in addition to all the content from your professional photographer. And everything is uploaded in real time, so you'll have instant access. If auto-sharing seems risky to you, though, don't worry. Users can turn off or pause sharing at any time and also delete any photos or videos, as can the bride and groom.
2. The Mother of All Dropboxes
Burner — a mobile app that works with both iOS and Android to create temporary phone numbers — has a special Dropbox Burner Connection that can store all those photos your guests take in one easy-to-access folder for the bride and groom. Rather than spend your honeymoon on Facebook and Instagram searching for any elusive pics you might otherwise miss, ask attendees to text their snaps to your dedicated Burner number, either as they're being shot or after the wedding. This requires an extra step from your guests, but it's totally worth it since you'll have private access to all the photos (with the option to share the folder too), which may be appreciated if they aren't social-media inclined. You can also use Burner to keep track of all RSVPs, use it as a voicemail “guestbook” to collect messages from your friends and family, or have it act as a wedding-guest text-message hotline to answer FAQs regarding your ceremony and reception. As a new user, you can snag a number for free for 30 days, then pay $4.99 a month after that.
3. A Free Photo-Sharing App
Couples looking for a free iPhone or Android app should check out WedPics. There are premium features available for a price, but a basic photo-sharing folder—to be filled with either recently taken pics or those taken in the app itself—comes free of charge with unlimited storage. Decide whether you want to order custom invite cards with your names, wedding ID, and simple user instructions. Or digitally streamline the process and send custom generated emails, text messages, or Facebook invites. Guests who are toting digital cameras or other mobile devices can also upload their snaps to the WedPics site. And you can even print photos through the program.
4. The More Expensive (But All-Inclusive) Option
At the other end of the spectrum is Eversnap, a full-service app that does it all. Dish out $99 to $399 and you'll get 200 instruction cards to either include in your invite envelopes or toss into those fun guest bags. Then, wedding-goers can snap pics through the app and use special photo filters or upload from their fast-growing galleries during the big day. It'll even work if you're in an area with bad service and there's no connection. Digital-camera mavens can add photos through the website while Windows or Blackberry phone users can email them to a unique address that will automatically add them to the main folder, which you can then share with your guests if you wish. You can also set up a live moderated slideshow during the reception so everyone can view a livestream via projector or screen as the fun unfolds for up to six hours. Plus, the folder will pull and add all photos from social-media channels with your personalized hashtag.
When it comes to tracking down all those amazingly candid guest photos, these apps and programs can only go so far. “The biggest thing is to include instructions early and remind guests,” says Katelyn Wollet of Katelyn Wollet Photography. Whether those reminders are in the invitations, on your wedding website, or at the reception itself in some form, it's up to you as a couple to spread the word about taking and sharing footage.