No Photos in Church Please – Wedding Photography

“No Photos in Church Please” – Wedding Photography

As a wedding photographer this may seem like a crazy statement to see or hear, Wedding Photography is all about taking photos in Church or a Gudwara or any other religious place, but this has literally been what we have ben told in some churches when covering some weddings “No Photos in Church Please”.

You may be reading this with a puzzled look on your face, I certainly thought that the first time I was told this by a Minister.

Some churches (and I find this is common in churches of a certain denomination – naming no names, we have never had this in any other religious ceremony) and we cover all kinds of Weddings in Birmingham and beyond, from Muslim Weddings to Sikh Weddings to Christian Weddings to Hindu Weddings and secular weddings.

This seems to have been a topic in many forums, with wedding photographers firm on each side.

CAMP A

There are photographers who believe that the Minister’s wishes for his / her church are paramount, and will happily sit at the back of a church for the whole ceremony, and only get shots when he bride is walking in, walking out and signing the register, which is what is allowed by that Minister.

CAMP B

There are other photographers who believe that their clients (the Bride and Groom) wishes are paramount, and if they want images of their ceremony, even if that means going against the Minsters wishes, so be it

I genuinely find that many couples do not know that some churches do not allow Wedding Photography or are not friendly to Wedding Photography at their venue. I photograph a lot of Asian Weddings where it is common for at least 4 photographers and cinematographers to be at one wedding, but not uncommon for there to be as many as 8 staff capturing the day.

So what are the reasons for this, these have been reasons we have been given:

1. Over zealous previous photographers, rolling on the floor etc to take photos.

I have never personally seen over excited photographer rolling on the floor etc during a service . I do not  know any photographers that have personally seen this at a wedding, and I have a lot of photographers in my circles.

2. The couple need to concentrate on the vows they are making before God.

You have to question if having pictures taken make them think any less about what they are undertaking.

3. It distracts the guests / couple.

Wedding Photography and Cinematography are now such a normal part of a Wedding Day, again I would question who it distracts. I know that when I photograph weddings, I wear soft loafer shoes (as do my other staff), and dress in all black, a ninja would be hard pressed to be more slight than me.

On the guests side, I find guests phones pinging, children crying in church, and guest photographers with iPhones and iPads that need to go right up to the Bride and Groom or couple to get a shot, much more distractive.

Churches have people in them, as such there will be children playing, people crying, people laughing all kinds of things that people COULD get distracted by.

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Guests in church

 

4. The couple will remember it better if they concentrate on what is happening.

I find that for many brides especially, the day goes by in whirlwind, they have been planning their wedding day for years, and before they know it, their wedding day is over. So what do they have to remember their wedding day by? Their Wedding Photography and Wedding Cinematography.

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Wedding Photography Birmingham

5. It is Gods House and it is disrespectful for anyone to be snapping away or moving about the place.

Some churches stream church services to millions across the world. Images taken in churches are so common now.

Some churches have no problem with wedding photography, so it makes you question what is it about particular churches that do not see it in this way?

We live in a world documented by images, and sharing so many parts of our lives.

Imagine if on one of …if not the biggest day of your life, and whole chunks of it are missing, because the minister was not happy with it? In fact if you have a minister like this, and you follow their wishes instead of stating yours, you may end up having more photos from your works trip to Nandos than you do of your wedding ceremony? This somehow just does not seem right.

6. Data Protection (especially when signing the register)

When this reason is given you may question, if the data that is being protected, the data of the same Bride and Groom whose wedding you are photographing for them? It’s their data, their signatures, their names?

This data later becomes a publicly available document that can be looked up in any library or obtained online for a few pounds? So if you are given this reason, does it add up.

Previously we have photographed weddings where Ministers have suggested a shot where the Bride and Groom hold up their register towards the camera. So not every minster feels this way, which points towards the idea the idea that this is the personal choice of each minister.

7. We simply do not allow it! No Photography in Church please!

If you are given this reason, you have paid for a photographer to deliver a service. You have also paid to have your wedding at a church and a Minster deliver a service. If one vendor (the photographer or Minster) obstructs the other and stops them delivering that service, are they doing the best for their customer? The Bride and Groom or wedding couple?

The guests on the other hand, can snap away at any point, and more than a few with have DSLR cameras …. for all of us at Lensi, the Wedding is always about the Bride and Groom, we will advise  so that they get the best from their day, and always do our best for them.

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Guest taking photo

Now this is not meant to sound like a moan about churches or other religious or wedding establishments, we have worked with some fantastic Ministers, Churches and places of worship and celebration, in fact most of them have been, but just a short post for you to consider when choosing a church for your Wedding Day.

If you have read this and thought … oh that wont apply to us, we are getting married in a …country house, register office etc. Think again, we have also seen this at non religious establishments.

If you have already chosen and booked your church, this is something worth explicitly stating to your minister or person leading your service.

It is something most couples do not know, so we share it to make your planning journey a little bit more informed.  This has genuinely only happened at weddings we have photographed a few times, but when it has happened the Bride and Groom were not made aware of this rule about wedding photography, and therefore did not have the chance to question it.

Their photographer has either had to ignore the Minsters wishes, much to their disdain. Debate with the Minster, again also much to their disdain, or not get any pictures during their ceremony, only images of them coming into church, walking back up the aisle, and signing the register! And thats it!

So when you are looking at a venue for your Wedding Photography, consider all the things you normally would for your wedding day. The sentimental links that church may have to your family, its location, how beautiful it looks, if it can hold all of your weddings guests, how far it is for you to travel….and also if they have issues with photography!

If you are happy with limited images during your ceremony, none of the guests or mom and dad smiling or crying during the service. If you are content with no close ups of the special exchange or rings moment, none of the bride looking into the yes of the groom or vice versa, this is fine.

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Exchange of rings

If not think about asking the question on their approach to photographers in the ceremony! And decide if you want photography or not, it may be such an issue where you have to consider changing your venue (if you want Wedding Photography!).