Your wedding photographs are possibly one of the most important aspects of your day, but not everyone at your wedding appreciates this....
I've photographed hundreds of weddings at churches, chapels, registry offices and venues all over the country and most of the time we're able to get beautiful shots of the ceremony that really help the bride & groom relive their vows. Occasionally however, I'll come across a celebrant, be they a priest, minister or otherwise, who refuses to allow photography during the wedding ceremony.
There can be many reasons why a celebrant won't allow photos during your ceremony but most of the time, it's because they've had a bad experience in the past with another photographer. I'll often hear stories about other photographers interfering with the ceremony, making lots of noise and generally being a nuisance. I've even heard of photographers climbing over pews during the ceremony, or popping up in-between the priest and the couple during the vows!
Unfortunately us photographers tend to get "tarred with the same brush" and as a result of past bad experiences, strict rules are put into place by the celebrant to prevent a repeat occurrence. This is a real shame, as it means future brides and grooms won't have any photographs from their ceremony to look back on.
So, what can you do?? Well, if having a permanent record of your ceremony in photographs is important to you, there's two things you can do:
- Talk to your photographer and air your concerns. A good photographer knows how to capture a wedding ceremony with the minimum of inconvenience to all the participants. Personally-speaking, as a photographer I'm very respectful of the wedding ceremony. I'll choose a spot in the church and stick to it (usually well out of the way - I can capture the details will a long zoom lens), move around as little as possible, make as little noise as possible and not use flash so there's no distractions. Make sure your photographer adopts this way of working too so there's no issues on the day.
- Most importantly, talk to your celebrant and tell them your feelings - you've got a right to have your ceremony photographed regardless of the celebrant's rules. Re-assure your minister or priest you've discussed this with your photographer so they know what to expect. Remind the celebrant that photos are important to you and ask them to reconsider their photography ban.
Ultimately, your photographer will need to abide by the rules set by the celebrant but you may be able to negotiate with your minister or priest so that everyone's happy. After all, if it's ok for a Royal wedding in the highest church in the country to be televised & photographed by an army of TV crew & photographers, I'm sure your own priest or minister can allow it too!
Whilst we're on the subject of photos in church, it's well worth asking your guests not to take photos inside the church once you've arrived. I've lost count of the number of times a guest has ruined an otherwise beautiful photo of a bride walking down the aisle by standing in front the official photographer trying to take photos on their own phones or cameras. Tell your guests to leave their cameras and phones in the bag and enjoy the ceremony - leave the photography to the professionals (this may also help reassure your minister or priest that the ceremony won't end up as a photographers circus!)