Are we allowed photography during the ceremony?

Dec 3, 2017 | Wedding advice & ideas

This is a question you’d naturally assume need not be asked. Why wouldn’t you be allowed to have your ceremony photographed? It is after all the official part of the day that makes the wedding complete and I’m sure you’d want to look back on those moments when making your life promises.

There have been occasions when I’ve been told that ‘no photography is permitted during the ceremony with the exception of when there is singing/clapping.’ It is at this point that my heart sinks as I believe that I am not able to fully accomplish my role of photographing the entire events of the wedding day. Being made to sit at the back of the congregation is an extremely frustrating experience and somewhat disappointing as this important part of the day will not be featured in the final collection of photos.

When meeting with clients I like to make them aware of certain rules surrounding photography. These rules are often known as ‘house rules’ and they can vary dependant on who is running the ceremony. Mentioning ‘house rules’ early allows the couple time to speak with the vicar/register in order to gain clarification of what can and can’t be photographed. I have had some couples change their church so that they have permission to take photos.

On arrival at every ceremony, I make it one of my priorities to speak with the vicar/registrar, not only to introduce myself but also to establish how they will be conducting the ceremony and to discuss where both myself and my second photographer are permitted to best position ourselves whilst remaining non-obtrusive but of course ensuring we capture the best possible shots. One rule which must always be observed is that photography of the official signing of the register is not permitted because it is a legal document which contains other peoples details.

The only occasions I have been asked to not take photographs has been in a church environment. There can be numerous reasons for this, for example, the person conducting the service may have had a bad experience with a non-professional photographer where they were not aware of the unwritten rules. The unwritten rules are simple and can be:

  • not moving around too much
  • not becoming a distraction
  • not using flash if possible
  • being respectful of the environment

I met a Vicar who had had a bad experience where ‘said’ photographer was getting extremely close to the couple and accidentally fired the flash in her eyes. Anyone who has ever had a flash go off in their eyes will know how little you can see for a few moments afterwards. This made her nervous about working with other photographers but I reassured her that we were professional and would work in a respectful manner and she duly granted us the right to photograph.

To anyone getting married I would highly advise speaking with the vicar/registrar about photography. I have had couples who thought photography was out of the question and that it wouldn’t be permitted but when explaining that they had hired a professional wedding photographer who would work in a non-intrusive manner, permission to photograph was granted.


Am I allowed wedding photos in my church?