You’re hiring a photographer to cover the wedding, but what about all the great shots that your guests are going to take with their digital cameras? There’s a good chance you won’t end up seeing many of the photos that your guests take, and that’s a shame. That’s why I loved reading about the invention of a computer-based kiosk that allows wedding guests to insert  their camera memory cards and upload photos on the spot. A wedding photo download station! The New York Times online writes:

“{Rush Hambleton’s} invention is a computer-based kiosk for events like wedding receptions. As guests leave, they are invited to insert their cameras’ memory cards into the device. The kiosk stores the photos on a thumb drive that the bride and groom can take home. (His research showed guests didn’t want all those photos.)

The kiosk, the size of a small cabinet, has been to 11 weddings so far as well as summer camps. The next step is to raise half a million dollars to pay for miniaturizing the kiosk — he wants it small enough to be packed and shipped.

What if you don’t live in New York and have no chance of renting this device? Create your own. That’s what Nikki, who hails from Calgary, Alberta,  did at her May 2008 wedding. She and her groom didn’t want any of their guests’ photos getting away, so they set up their laptop at the reception and had Nikki’s aunt man the ‘download station.’

“We set up the laptop near the door at the reception.  The hall we rented had a coat check area right at the door with a counter that had the necessary plug ins,” she says. “My aunt took care of the station.  She did everything, I just gave her the laptop and card reader (which I bought at Walmart for $25) and she took care of the rest.”

The MC and DJ let guests know about the download station throughtout the evening, reminding them to copy their photos before they left the reception.

The result?

“It was SO worth the effort.  I would have missed some amazing shots as well as some group shots of friends.  I ended up with close to 700 extra photos.  At no cost!,” she says.

Her advice?

“I would highly suggest having someone take care of the station for you, that way you aren’t worried about it.  Also, as my aunt loaded photos, she had a slide show rolling for people to watch.  There was always at least two people standing around and watching the pictures.  It is also so much easier than asking everyone to mail you a CD or trying to track people down to get certain photos of people.  I now have enough candids to fill in the parts of the day/night that the photographer missed,” she says

If you are considering a ‘download station’ at your wedding, here’s some other things to keep in mind:

  • Do not leave the laptop unattended.
  • Make sure the person manning the laptop gives easy instructions to your guests and assists them in downloading. You don’t want drunken guests messing with your laptop.
  • Drinks and laptops do not go well together. You are taking your chances if you have guests milling around with drinks in hand.