It seems to be pretty rare these days but on occasion I have a bride and groom whom opt for a Catholic or Christian church wedding ceremony. Now, one thing I’ve learned over the years of photographing church ceremonies is to talk with the priest beforehand regarding the lighting setup and flash photography. Because often times, the lighting gets over-looked and the church rules blend into the background of all of the activity and excitement. The last thing I want is to be yelled at in church. I’ve seen this happen many times in my hay days as an apprentice but I can say it’s never happened to me. I would be the deer caught in the headlights. And no doubt, completely petrified!
So if you are getting married in a church, here are 4 important things to keep in mind:
- Ask the priest or minister about his/her photography policy during the ceremony. If it’s a poorly lit church, make sure flash is allowed. Inform your photographer.
- Visit the church around the same time your ceremony will take place. This is what the lighting will look like. If you feel there is cause for concern, inform your photographer.
- If your church is dimly lit and there’s not enough natural light coming in, ask about bringing in outside lighting equipment. Never hurts to ask.
- Inform your photographer if there’s a no-flash policy so they can come prepared with proper lenses and equipment such as a tripod.
I know I’m totally redundant on the inform your photographer part but I can’t stress this enough. Some church rules are more strict than others and wedding photographers need to know where the boundaries are.
One particular church I’ve been to in Scottsdale will not allow wedding photographers to step past the area where the pews begin. And on top of that, there is a no-flash policy. So a telephoto lens and a tripod were needed for most of the ceremony although I tend to forego the tripod most times and hand-hold my camera.
Here are a few more images from a recent Scottsdale wedding ceremony to give you an idea of how dimly lit the church is and the way I made use of the available spotlight situation. By the way, I absolutely love the negative space in this image.