Taking photos at funerals is becoming more and more popular, but do YOU find it ethical? Some may find it disrespectful while others see an opportunity to capture an event that, in the moment, may seem devastating but once they’re past this tragedy they may want those memories to cherish for the rest of their lives.
Being a professional photographer for several years, I see it from both angles. I have photographed the funerals for Pastor Todd Wright for both of his parents who have passed. Although this seemed awkward and disrespectful for me at first, in the end I am so happy he asked me to do this for him. “Yes, these events were hard for my family as we went through them, but after it was all over, it was great to have the photos. The photos have helped us reflect on who attended, because as we went through the day it was all actually a blur.” – Todd Wright
Does your funeral home offer professional photography at funerals? This could be a great feature to add to your list of services you provide. However, there are still those families who find it ill-mannered and unethical, so always be gentle around the subject. If you do have a family who would like to hire a photographer, here are some tips for you and your photographer to go by:
1. How Discreet?
After shooting both funerals and weddings, I’ve learned some people want you to do whatever it takes to get the shot, while others would prefer you’re never seen. These events are similar because of their sentimental value. Be sure to ask your family their preference on how discreet they would like their photographer to be during the service.
2. Ask about Family Photos.
Funerals are, unfortunately, an occasion where family members and friends come together, even though they don’t often see each other. They’ve come together to support the grieving family. Ask if the family would like their photographer to take posed photos with these family members and friends after the services, since they may never gather together again.
3. No Flash!
Be sure to tell your photographer to shoot with no flash if at all possible. If this isn’t a possibility, make sure it is discussed with the family ahead of time, as this could become a distraction at such a sacred moment.