Photographing a cremation service is a way you can give families a powerful visual memento of the day when a family is saying good-bye to a loved one. Since it's a time when loved ones are paying their last respects, be extremely respectful and considerate of the family's wishes. If your photography services have been requested for the event, keep these do's and don'ts in mind before, during, and after the service.
Do Make Sure Everyone Is Notified About Your Photography
It's very important to get information about how people at the funeral will be notified about your photography. Ask whether notification will be given in the funeral program or simply explained verbally. Be sure that you get this information from the family or funeral coordinator before most people start arriving. Those who requested your photography services should let everyone know that there will be a photographer at the service, and they should also advise you on how to respond if someone asks why you're taking pictures.
Don't Stand in Front of Anyone
It will be hard to capture all the important moments of the cremation service without attracting attention, so you can expect funny looks from some guests. However, the experience of mourners should be respected. Never walk in front of others to grab a shot. Try to be in the background as much as possible and be sure to have a zoom lens for taking photographs at a distance. The key to being a good cremation service photographer is being as unobtrusive as possible.
Do Choose a Camera That's Good in Low Light
Although many cremation services are held outdoors, never rely solely on natural lighting when photographing them. You also don't want to have flashes going off during the ceremony. It's important to choose a camera that captures high quality images in low light. The camera needs to have a silent mode or a silent shutter.
Don't Hesitate to Introduce Yourself
If someone has noticed your photography and seem to be curious about what you are doing, it's okay to introduce yourself and explain why you are there taking photographs. You can simply state that the family wanted the special moments of the ceremony captured for posterity. Keep explanations simple and refrain from answering antagonistic responses. Remain friendly and compassionate since you never know how much grief these people may be in.
Finally, keep in mind that each cremation service is different. Some are irreverent with a crowd that is there to focus on the celebration of life without a focus on the sadness. Others are formal, somber affairs with those who cannot contain their grief. Be sensitive to the unique mood and preferences of those at the service you attend and adjust the photos you take accordingly. A picture can definitely be worth 1,000 words for those who can no longer speak to their lost loved one and want to remember the service with photographs. For more information, funeral homes, like Clary-Glenn Funeral Homes & Crematory, can serve as a good resource.