Just come back from a brief walk around St Barnabas Church, Pitshanger Lane, Ealing and an informative pre-wedding shoot chat with Revd David Deboys the vicar there. It has left me wondering how many photographers bother to respect the fact that a church wedding is a religious ceremony and as such it has its own etiquette that should be observed.
Something I always do in advance of a photographing a church wedding is to chat to the vicar or minister who will be conducting the wedding to ascertain what they would be happy with (a request for no-flash (strobe) to be used during the service itself is quite common), whether there are any times they would like the photographer to not be moving around (e.g. prayers), and what areas of the church they don’t want any photographer treading on. The high altar should be obvious, but in larger churches there is often a slightly raised area that extends to the crossing (where the north and south trancepts meet the nave and chancel) before the choir called the chancel and this is also hallowed ground where many vicars and ministers do not want the photographer to stand. And in even then some vicars do not like you getting too close… I leave that to you to work out with each vicar what too close is, but they certainly don’t like being trampled over!
It pays to talk in advance to the vicar or face their wrath. I gather vicars can get quite irritated with photographers and videographers and it’s not been unknown for a vicar to ban specific videographers and photographers from doing events at that church in future.