An Alternative To Disposable Wedding Cameras

By Harlan | Photo Help, Wedding Tech
15 Mar 2011

Disposable cameras have remained a staple at most wedding receptions. The idea behind using them is great because for a relatively low cost, you actually get your guests to take photos the wedding photographer would otherwise miss.

Silver Disposable Wedding Cameras

Typical disposable cameras found on wedding tables. Click image for more information.

Often, you’ll place a disposable camera at the dinner table for your guests to use but the problem is that most of the time, there are only a few pictures taken with each camera! Lots of wasted film! Who shoots film anymore? Well… some photographers still do. Plus you’ll have to take them into a store and process the film. To me, that’s a big hassle and poor use of time.

Disposable Digital Cameras Don’t Exist 

When I wrote this article, I had doubts if my advice was actually relevant because I though I’d heard of disposable digital cameras. But I quickly found out that disposable digital cameras don’t exist… At least not anymore. There were a few models released around 2004 that were true one-time use digital cameras with LCD screens but the quality was low and had a limited amount of exposures. Today, if you do a search for disposable digital camera, you might think you’ve found the high tech alternative to traditional disposable film cameras. But that would be incorrect. 

Disposable Digital Camera

Click on image for more information.

Camera manfacturers make the packaging a bit confusing for consumers by placing the words “digital” on their so called disposable digital cameras which are really disposable film cameras. They still carry film in them! That’s right! Check out this excerpt from the description of the Kodak Plus Digital One-Time Use Camera

“Preloaded with 27 exposures of Kodak Max maximum versatility film, this one-time Plus Digital Camera offers great pictures in a wide variety of lighting situations. Ektanar lens delivers pictures as clear as with reloadable 35mm “Plus Digital” cameras. Return entire camera for film processing.” 

As you can see, the camera actually contains film and you still have to bring the camera in for processing. The term “digital” in this case means that the pictures can be transferred to Photo CD as digital images, but they originated on traditional film. In any case, I’d like to propose an alternative method for getting candid shots at weddings.

A Great Alternative To Disposable Wedding Cameras 

I’m confident that over half of your wedding guests will have a digital camera with them. Not to mention smart phones that can also take high resolution pictures. So here’s an idea that can help you get great candid shots without using a disposable camera on your wedding tables. Get some SD memory cards for a few of your best friends at the wedding and have them insert the cards into their cameras. That way, they can snap shots throughout the night and return the cards to you or your wedding coordinator after the festivities are over. Might be a good idea to make a list of the people who have your SD cards with contact information and have one person be in charge of that list. 

This way, you’ll have additional memories captured as digital photos ready for upload to your website, Facebook, Flickr, etc. 

A 2GB card is cheap and sufficient if you want your designated photographers to take only pictures. However, if you want your photography team to shoot HD video with their digital camera, I’d recommend at least 4GB-8GB cards. Shooting video with their digital cameras allows you to have additional footage of your wedding that you can upload to YouTube, Vimeo, make a DVD or wedding slideshow, etc. 

I’ve seen 4GB SD cards for less than $10! So next time, consider buying a handful of SD cards for your wedding event instead of disposable wedding cameras. Afterwards, you’ll have some extra memory cards you can use in the future in other devices you might own!

BEST Value Memory Cards 

Here are 2 deals that I think will deliver the best value for you if you decided to use digital cameras instead of disposable cameras at your wedding, especially if you’re going to buy a few of these memory cards.

Kingston 4GB Class 4 Memory Card 2-Pack

A two pack of 4GB SD memory cards provides excellent value. Click image for more details.

Transcend 8GB Class 6 with USB Card Reader

This 8GB SD card package comes with a USB memory card reader. Click image for more details.

Here are some memory cards that would work well for this purpose and wouldn’t really cost any more than if you were to use disposable wedding cameras along with film processing. 

4GB SD Memory Cards

Great for shooting mostly pictures. Might run out of space if shooting video.

Transcend 4 GB Class 6 SDHC Flash Memory Card 

Kingston 4 GB Class 4 SDHC Flash Memory Card 

Kingston 4 GB Class 4 SDHC Flash Memory Card 2-Pack 

Sandisk 4 GB Extreme III SDHC Card 

Fujifilm 4 GB Class 6 SDHC Flash Memory Card 

Kingston Digital 4 GB Flash Memory Card 

Kingston 4GB SDHC Class 4 Flash Card Kingston 

8GB SD Memory Cards

Great for shooting both pictures and video. More memory capacity to work with.

Transcend 8 GB Class 6 SDHC Flash Memory Card 

Kingston 8 GB Class 4 SDHC Flash Memory Card SD4/8GB 

SanDisk ULTRA SDHC 8GB Class 4 Flash Memory Card 

PNY Optima 8GB SDHC Class 4 Flash Memory Card 

Transcend 8 GB Class 6 SDHC Flash Memory Card with USB Card Reader 

16GB SD Memory Cards

Excellent for shooting pictures and video. Ample space for lots of HD video.

Kingston 16 GB Class 4 SDHC Flash Memory Card SD4/16GB 

PNY Optima 16 GB SDHC Class 4 Flash Memory Card 

Transcend 16 GB Class 6 SDHC Flash Memory Card with USB Card Reader 

I hope you take advantage of this high tech alternative to disposable wedding cameras for your wedding day. I believe you’ll get better pictures using this method as well as getting more high quality shots. Not to mention being able to have more video from your wedding day as well! Let us know what you think of this idea!

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