Church Photography Restrictions (For A Wedding) Part 1

Church Photography Restrictions (For A Wedding) Part 1

One thing that may slip your mind as the photographer when meeting your clients (who have opted for a Church wedding) at that very first consultation meeting is “What are the Church photography restrictions?” Most Brides and Grooms may look a little startled when you ask them this question. However, it is a necessary one. It is very common for Churches to have certain restrictions and specific rules that wedding photographers have to honour during their job on the wedding day. You may be surprised yourself as the professional photographer to hear this, but even if you’ve shot many weddings at Churches before and have not known to ask this question, we suggest that from this point onward, you start!

You may not have crossed wires with a Church venue before, as some Churches say something along the lines of ‘Go ahead and do what you like in order to get your photos!’, while others say that photography is prohibited, which of course means that the couple may have to consider picking another venue to hold their ceremony at, or they’ll have to settle for their vows not being captured on screen.

Asking About Church Photography Restrictions - If the reason isn’t already obvious, you should ask this kind of question as early as you can when first meeting your clients to avoid any clashes when it comes to planning the wedding. Wedding photography is your domain so, it is your job to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible. You won’t want any nasty surprises in the day of your client's wedding, now will you? So, let’s talk about the common Church photography restrictions that you may come across during your career as a wedding photographer...

The Typical Church Photography Restrictions - The first that you may expect from a Church venue is the rule of no flash photography so, you’ll have to ensure that you don’t use a flash during your client’s wedding ceremony. Another rule would be one that you’re unlikely to break, but the Church may insist that you don’t move yourself and or your equipment around the Church to capture different angles during the ceremony. This is where a second assistant could come in useful. You may also be expected to stay at the front of the Church behind the Vicar/ Priest. Alternatively, your camera assistant must remain at the back of the venue. The last one will put a stopper in your work, but some Churches will not allow for any photography at all!

Avoiding Church Photography Restrictions - So, what can you do if you are imagining you will get photos of the full ceremony but your officiant refuses? Once the ceremony starts, the vicar or priest is in charge and he/she can stop the ceremony at any time. As a professional wedding photographer, we simply are not able to ignore the rules we are given and it would be unfair to ask us to do so. The best time to deal with these restrictions is well before the wedding. Our advice would be to firstly ask the official when you are booking the Church. If you don’t like the rules, you can speak with them at this time to see if you can come to an agreement. Churches often introduce these draconian rules as a result of bad experiences with previous photographers. So, if you can convince them otherwise that you are different, then there may be some room to negotiate with your client’s wedding ceremony in mind.

Indeed, we can all picture some terrible stories of photographers who have run around the Church distracting guests from the solemn occasion. Or perhaps they’ve machine gunned their way through the ceremony firing their flash a million times turning the Church into a nightclub experience. Respectful and peaceful does not come to mind.

What we suspect has happened a lot in the past is that couples have asked a friend with a camera to photograph their wedding. He/she has no idea of how to behave. Since the Church officials cannot easily tell a professional from a friend of the clients with a camera, they enforce draconian rules on everyone. The loser is ultimately the Bride and Groom of course who lose out on precious memories. It also seems incredibly strange that professional wedding photographers could be prevented from photographing not just an important part of your couple’s wedding day, but the single most important part of the day! The wedding ceremony is the whole reason why everyone has gathered on that day.

We really hope that you’ve found our first article on Church photography restrictions informative! If you’d like to get in touch, please feel free to leave a comment down below to begin a discussion, or get in touch with us via our Instagram page @weddit.io. We’ll see you over there soon... Oh and we’ll be back with Part 2 in the next couple of days!

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To get started with our wedding photo editing service, you can create an account here. Photo + editing credit: All images in this blog post edited by the team here at Weddit and photographed by Lukas Griffin. 

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