There is something incredibly beautiful and traditional about a church wedding, and it’s my job as a wedding photographer to be able to capture all the elements that make up the ceremony, from the nervous wait outside the church door, to the first kiss and exit down the aisle.
All these elements form part of the story of your wedding day, but unfortunately there are often limitations on photographing weddings in a church. So here are five things you need to know if you are having a church wedding ceremony…
1. Learn the rules – and respect them
Make sure you have a frank discussion with the vicar or priest about photography well before the big day. Rules for photographing in churches vary greatly depending on the person officiating and an honest discussion in advance is much more productive than negotiations on the day when tensions are high. Respect the decisions of the church and try to find ways of working within any restraints in conjunction with – rather than against – the priest or vicar.
2. Plan for limited angles
I’m often told I am only allowed to photograph the wedding ceremony from the back of the church, which hugely impacts on the type of photos I can get. Even with the longest of zoom lenses, there are only so many angles I will be able to capture. If the vicar or priest sticks to their guns on this one, then try and negotiate ways in which you and your partner can stand and position yourselves to ensure the photographer can get the shots you want from the back of the room.
3. Good lighting is essential
I’m all for candlelit wedding ceremonies and the beautiful ambience they create, but if the lighting in the church you are getting married in is very dim, then it’s worth thinking about having some lights turned on (if permitted) for key moments that you would like photographed, such as exchanging of the rings or the first kiss. I never use flash in church (it’s usually prohibited as it’s too distracting), and although my camera and lenses can handle the dimmest of light, it’s always handy to have some extra light to boost things a little, plus it’s a good excuse to get creative!
4. Be aware of the paparazzi congregation
I strive to be as discreet as possible and always respect the rules of the church, however there will always be guests that will stand in the aisle or take photos with flash, which you might find distracting. And I may not be able to get the shots you have requested if Uncle Bob has put his 6ft frame and 12 inch telephoto lens between the two of you and my camera! You could always consider an unplugged wedding…
5. Confetti is complicated
Don’t assume confetti will be allowed at the church doors. Many churches ban it and those that do allow it specify it must be biodegradable (rose petals are a good option). Find out in advance and negotiate what you can use and where. (I’ll be writing about getting the perfect confetti shot soon – stay tuned!)
Jade Lisa Photography is a wedding photographer in Hampshire, who specialises in shooting weddings in a candid, documentary style, capturing moments as they happen without being intrusive or interrupting your wedding day. If you are getting married and would like a wedding photographer in Hampshire or surrounding areas then please do get in touch.