How to take photo in church

Almost everybody from us is from time to time forced into photographing in churches, which is place with some real photographic challenges. People today still celebrate christening of their children, funerals and marriages (it’s really pity they do not celebrate divorces too – would be more jobs for photographers…), so there is a good chance you would happen on some of aforementioned situations with time.

First let’s bring some general rules and later we’ll come into detail. Photographer is very often not direct member of family which celebrates some situation, so it is advisable to keep photographing as discreet, as possible. Of course, turn off any digital camera sounds – no peeping especially.

D-SLR in church

If you take photos with D-SLR with very loud mechanics which may disturb common talk of priest, it is recommended to photograph with telephoto objective from some range (the farer, the better – if you do not have good objective, then higher ISO is a must). You may also try to cover your D-SLR with handkerchief (clean one please…) or other textile, it surprisingly helps.

Church photography

Church photography

How to set up the camera for taking photos in church

Churches are dark places with high contrasts, but because you are interested in good expositions of persons, keep bright windows from influencing your exposure too much into dark. You may of course use EV corrections, but we recommend true M, A or S modes. It also would be most probably necessary to set ISO higher than usual in any case. So be prepared to shoot some testing photos to find ideal combination of time, the lowest ISO and aperture. There will be luckily almost none quick moves in scene, so you should be able to take nice clear shots even with relatively low timing (even 1/40 s +/- on 38 mms).

As for using of flash, it depends definitely on situation. On wild marriages no one really cares, but on funerals it is sign of good manners to discreetly ask somebody from near mourners about number of photos, flash and whether they wouldn’t mind your barging across church.