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Old Feb 9, 2008, 4:50 AM   #1
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are there any 'unwritten rules' to follow while shooting at a funeral? or should i not shoot at all?

what are your thoughts on shooting at a funeral for (1) someone that was close to you and (2) someone you weren't very close to but were invited to the funeral by family.. ?

it is a time when no one really thinks about taking pictures, but at the same time, is an event that is very significant and shouldn't be forgotten..
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Old Feb 9, 2008, 8:53 AM   #2
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Very often families have social gatherings after the funeral for close family. That would seem a more appropriate time to take photos. Photos of the service itself or shots at the cemetary seem very inappropriate to me. I understand for certain editorial purposes they make sense but not for personal use.

But, it really doesn't matter what I think. If you really want to take photos for the benefit of the family - simply ask them. If you're not comfortable asking them if they'd like you to take photos then you shouldn't be comfortable taking them WITHOUT asking. In the end, you should not be a distraction. I would not want to be remembered as "that guy with a camera at the funeral". And imagine how bad you would feel if a family member had to ask you to stop? But again, maybe they would like some memories of it? The only opinion that matters is the opinion of the mourning family. So the right thing to do is ask them.
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Old Feb 9, 2008, 9:17 AM   #3
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This is interesting as I'm heading to a funeral when I log off here. I fall into the #2 category you listed. My corworkers father I had met only once. I had no intentions of photographing anything, but wanted to bring my camera as I'll be gong some place else afterward where I want it. But, the town we are going to for the funeral is not one I'd want to leave the camera in the car. So, I've been thinking of putting it alone with one lens in my purse and hoping no one notices my purse weighs a ton.

I agree with JohnG, though. If you feel the need to photograph, just ask the person who invited you what they think they or the family would think. I know how I am at funerals (bring plenty of tissues, even if I don't know the person well) and I wouldn't want my photograph taken in that case. Maybe you could just photograph the site after the ceremony and then at the reception afterwards.

Just my opinion. Patty
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Old Feb 9, 2008, 9:18 AM   #4
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JohnG wrote:
Quote:
Very often families have social gatherings after the funeral for close family. That would seem a more appropriate time to take photos. Photos of the service itself or shots at the cemetary seem very inappropriate to me. I understand for certain editorial purposes they make sense but not for personal use.

But, it really doesn't matter what I think. If you really want to take photos for the benefit of the family - simply ask them. If you're not comfortable asking them if they'd like you to take photos then you shouldn't be comfortable taking them WITHOUT asking. In the end, you should not be a distraction. I would not want to be remembered as "that guy with a camera at the funeral". And imagine how bad you would feel if a family member had to ask you to stop? But again, maybe they would like some memories of it? The only opinion that matters is the opinion of the mourning family. So the right thing to do is ask them.
Do it as John G says. I have photographed several and gotten the photos the family wanted and no more. Quite often they want a photo of the casket and flowers both at the funeral home and at grave side. Some times they want a photo of the dearly departed. The key here is to be sure to time everthing to not intrude any more than is really required to get the photos. It is a delicate thing to do this right but do not be surprised if Cousin Sue or an other reletive gets Irrate about it....As long as you are fulfilling the wishes of the closest relative you should not be bothered!

Dawg

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Old Feb 9, 2008, 11:31 AM   #5
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Death is supposed to be a celebration of the person's life. I think to photograph such an event is just as a legitimate is photographing a birthday. Here is what I would do.

1. Ask the people that arranged the funeral if it is ok. Tell them why you wan to photograph it and offer them an album with copies of the photos. I know myself I would love to have photos from the funerals of my family members. Especially now that I am the only one left.

2. Do not photograph the deceased. I think this is morbid and untasteful. I don't think anyone 5 or 10 years down the line wants to see an actual picture of the person that died. Photograph the coffin, etc. but not the person inside if this is an open casket affair.

3. Ask guests if it would be ok to photograph them, explain why and offer them copies of the photos. For everyone but the immediate family you could put a .zip of photos up on the web so they could download them. The immediate family you should do the printing yourself and provide them a small album of the images (as I mentioned in 1 above).

4. Don't be obnoxious about this. If someoen doesn't want to be photographed or if the immediate family isn't interested then don't do it. You can ask about photographing at the get together if there is one after the funeral.

5. If photographing at the funeral is ok with everyone make sure and go back a couple of weeks later and get some shots of the grave site as will be once everything is done and over with.

6. I would try to arrange any album or presentation in time order. Basically from start to finish. Please don't do any cloning or other such untasteful things. People want to remember not laugh at the funny things you did to people post process.

The main thing for me would be if the immediate family was ok with it. And, if they are that you be tasteful about it.

Robert
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