Priest Halts Wedding Ceremony and Berates Photographer for Getting Too Close

Ask any wedding photographer and they will tell you that a wedding needs to run like a well oiled machine, which isn’t very easy to do. In order to make that happen, everyone needs to be on the same page—from the guests, to the wedding party, to the vendors and the officiants. If they’re all on the same plan, chances are things will go a lot more smoothly. This video is a great example why:

The looks of confusion and worry on the bride and groom’s faces are telling. As the priest was telling off the photographer for not minding his space, the happy couple experienced a moment of panic, ruining their special day.

This fiasco could have been avoided if the people involved in the event had more effectively communicated with one another. As a photographer, it is not safe to assume anything. Better to ask questions about the venue’s and officiant’s rules and requirements. While the priest may have taken extreme measures and, to some, acted inappropriately, if the two had simply communicated beforehand, this event could have gone a lot better. What are your thoughts on this? Join the discussion in the comments below or on Facebook.

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17 responses to “Priest Halts Wedding Ceremony and Berates Photographer for Getting Too Close”

  1. Sam Cox says:

    I’m thinking this priest won’t be doing many more weddings for a while.

  2. Denise C says:

    For some, a wedding is nothing more than a celebration. For others it is a religious ceremony. Communication is the key, especially if it is a religious ceremony. The photographer needs to know the expectations of the bride and groom. The photographer, as well as the bride and groom, needs to understand the expectations of the priest, pastor, or other religious leader. I can understand the bride and groom wanting a record of the ceremony, but IMHO, the photographer needs to be as discreet as possible. Sometimes I wonder if there is more of an emphasis on the photos and videos that there is on the actual ceremony.

  3. Scott says:

    I’m not a wedding photographer, but I’d say the priest did the ruining here… Seemed to more about him than anything else.

  4. Tom says:

    Here in switzerland, at least in church, if a priest or pastor don’t want the photgraphers to get to much into the ceremony, they tell in the beginning of the ceremony to all people not to take pictures until he allows it. In the church he has the sovereignty, so we accept that. Outside weddings are not so often here, because we have enough (a lot of) nice churches.

  5. Priest may have had a fairly harsh reaction, but I can see his point. The videographer was behind them…he was literally the backdrop for the ceremony from the perspective of anyone from the front. That is inconsiderate on the photographer’s part to not take that into consideration.

    I’m not a wedding photographer, but it’s got to be assumed at least that you’d be shooting from the sides and rear. Put on the telephotos to get in close. But from the back? As a backdrop? Consider that area out of bounds.

  6. J. R. Kirkham says:

    The photographer should have checked out the rules ahead of time. Religion is a loaded topic. Let’s replace that setting with say, a football game. Let’s say the quarterback wants some good shots during the big game and the photographer decides to walk out among the players and get a good angle. Would the officials be justified in stopping the game until the photographer moved to the sidelines?

    The vast majority of all photographers are sensitive to the nature of a religious service. Different churches have different rules. I saw one photographer, who didn’t check out the scene ahead of time, parked himself right in front of the door where the groomsmen entered the sanctuary. They didn’t know he was there, stepped out the door, and tripped right over him.

  7. Bronney says:

    I agree with the directly behind the pastor comment. It’s quite wtf to be the backdrop of a religious ceremony. However I do know couples here in hong kong that wants a religious ceremony only because of the visual quality it presents. They signed up to be a catholic for the sake of a church wedding a year prior. In that case, the film crew should’ve asked the pastor to wear a GoPro instead. Wait.

  8. Paul in Scottsdale says:

    I shoot weddings, and I have this odd thing in my camera bag called a 70-200mm lens that allows me the same shots but WAY back. They were outside, they had room. As photographers we nned to show that we understand the event we are shooting and respect it. That photog had no business being that close even if the priest didn’t mind. It’s a distraction to the ceremony for all the guests, they’ll be watching the shooter bop around back there and not focus on the main point, the union that is being formed at that ceremony. C’mon fellow shooters, let’s repsresent our craft in a way that people enjoy and respect our presemce and our effort to capture the memories and moments in a professional and respectful way. That priest was 100% correct amd I’m glad he did it, and I’m not a Catholic.

  9. Mike Penney says:

    When I see a photographer or videographer who shows up to a wedding dressed in shorts and athletic shoes a t shirt, or goes up on the altar during the ceremony or walks into the video by being behind the bride and groom so the congregation is distracted… in other words… when the photographer becomes part of the event…. I only can think of one word…”idiot”. If you do this while working for me you are fired! Where is anyone’s common sense these days? A wedding is not some damned soccer game where all the parents run to their kid with a phone to take piles of crappy photos….

  10. c-bob says:

    I hate shooting weddings, but have done so for friends. I always contact the person in charge of the weddings (wedding arranger, etc) to see what the photography rules are way in advance. Then, I like to go to the rehearsal to check out lighting, etc. & how I can get the best shots within the restrictions given. What will the lighting, white balance, exposure challenges be, etc.? Do I need to or can I use flash?

    I have never said, “Hey, I’m going to be out in the park practicing my photography & videographer skills on Saturday at 2pm. If you wanted to get married there at that time, I’ll shoot the wedding. Please tell the officiant not to get in my way.”

    I’m sure this ruined the wedding for the couple, but don’t lay in on the Priest. Unless he failed to inform them the photography rules, etc.

    My favorite thing is to be shooting from the back so as not to disturb the ceremony, and someone in the congregation hold up an iPad to get a shot. YIKES!

  11. Ben says:

    Sure, the priest was well within his rights to ask the videographer and photographer to move. And certainly they chose a distracting shot to be in but that doesn’t mean the priest had to be so rude. Really, if he’s going to halt the ceremony to berate these people he could have walked off and asked them politely to move because they were too close and distracting. There was no need to be so rude unless he had already asked that they move and they ignored him.

  12. Joe says:

    I think the priest should not have threatened to stop the ceremony, that was uncalled for.

  13. sg. says:

    you are right. a little communication could have avoided this situation, yet, on the other hand, this priest should have known and should have understood that photos and videos would be shot, and he could have been more nice about the whole thing. he is a creep and I would never use , or recommend him for any service period…

  14. Nigel Felangue says:

    Hi, As a wedding photographer for many years, the videographer should have talked to the minister
    prior to the ceremony as a matter of courtesy, Filming from the front of the ceremony would have been
    a much better tdea , as it would have reduced the risk of such a confrontation !

  15. David says:

    That priest was 100% justified. I thought he was perfectly polite but assertive. He explained clearly that it was a religous ceremony, not a photo shoot! The photographer and videographer were obviously in the wrong place. With all their clicking and high visibility they were a real distraction both to the minister and the congregation and were diminshing the sacred character of the occasion. Clearly they had no sense of the sacredness of the event. They could see bo further than getting the perfect shot. I would have done exactly the same as the priest and I applaud him for his restraint in what were obviously very trying circumstances.

  16. Leon says:

    The pastor was totally out of place in stopping the ceremony and making a scene. Although the photographer should have talked to him before hand and they should have been “working together” to create a beautiful and memorable day for the couple.

  17. Rik says:

    It’s a memory being captured, no one has the right to disrupt the wedding in such a manner as he did. Any objections he may have had HE himself should have voiced to the couple as well as videographer and photographer. Not during the ceremony let alone halt the proceedings.

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