Weddings can be stressful to plan because every bride is like a 17 year old buying a car; they’re about to invest a lot of money into something they aren’t quite sure about how it works. Well, wedding planning is similar! The most challenging part is booking vendors because brides often don’t know what questions to ask.
Side bar: here’s a full list of questions you didn’t think to ask before booking your wedding photographer.
Many churches have rules regarding how the photographer can work – and unfortunately, most of these rules are not communicated to the bride and groom upfront. Often times, couples are notified of these rules and restrictions just days in advance of their wedding or even minutes before the start of their ceremony.
It’s important to meet with your church representative before your wedding to to talk about rules and restrictions. Here are some questions to get you started!
Where can my photographer be during the ceremony?
Depending on the church, some have more restrictions than others. In some churches, the rules make it difficult to capture the more intimate moments of your ceremony, while other churches allow the photographer to shoot from any angle the bride and groom feel comfortable with.
For example, it’s common for churches to prohibit the photographer from shooting on the altar. Since I’m always shooting from a distance at ceremonies, this is no prob-lay-mo for me! In more difficult cases, the photographer is not allowed to move throughout the ceremony at all. Rather, they must pick one spot in the church and shoot only from that angle. Sometimes, the church will pre-select a spot for the photographer, like a balcony or at the end of an aisle.
In the most extreme case I’ve experienced, the church did not allow the photographer to enter the church and only allowed photography from open doorways.
Can my photographer use flash?
Often, churches prohibit flash photography during wedding ceremonies. Be sure to ask the contact person at your church before your wedding day so we can set up accordingly. I almost never use flash during a ceremony anyways because I want to be as stealth as possible but it’s at least nice to know if it’s a restriction.
Why do these restrictions exist?
Unfortunately, some photographers in the past have behaved in an unprofessional or inconsiderate manner while photographing weddings at their location. As a result, many church officials have found the best way to manage all the photographers who work with their couples is to have policies in place for ALL photographers to prevent disrupting the ceremony.
What can I do to work around restrictions?
When deciding where to have your wedding ceremony, you may want to take their photography restrictions into consideration. Some couples choose to hold their ceremony in a church where they regularly attend and have completed sacraments, while others choose a church based on proximity to the reception venue.
If your decision is based on proximity, it may be a good idea to explore other churches nearby with less photography restrictions. If the church was selected by significance, be sure to know all rules and restrictions well before your wedding date so you can coordinate with the photographer before hand. It’s best to know about any restrictions early in the planning process so we can determine an appropriate course of action.