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Advise on christening photography

10 Sep 2012 6:32PM
This question has probably already been asked before, but I am after some advise on a christening, I wont be doing this professional, its just a family friend has asked me if I could take some pictures for her.

The main advise I am after is, is a flash necessary?

I thank you for your help infront Smile


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Graysta 13 1.1k England
10 Sep 2012 6:49PM
Depends how dark it is and what your gears like at high iso.
if taking pictures in the church then a good reflector can be usefull.
Watch out for he who must be obayed some say he's a vicar, some say he likes long dark gown's,and wears collars back to front.
all we know is he sometimes thinks he's his boss.
10 Sep 2012 6:53PM
Hi Graysta
The venue will be quite open, with moderate natural light, the camer and lenses I have are:
Nikon D3100
VR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR
55-200mm f/4-5.6 G IF-ED VR
Dave_Collier 12 236 2 England
10 Sep 2012 6:53PM
It all depends on the location of the christening. If it is in a modern church there might be plenty of light, but I suspect that flash will be required.

Don't take photos during the christening service, but set-up a few shots around the font with all the nescessary individuals, including the vicar and grand parents after the service is over, that way you get what is wanted and you will intrude less on the events of the day.
Graysta 13 1.1k England
10 Sep 2012 6:56PM
Dave has hit it on the head.
10 Sep 2012 7:37PM
Hi Dave,
Thanks for the heads up on that, I will definately bare this mindSmile
Is there any settings that you would use?
Dave_Collier 12 236 2 England
10 Sep 2012 8:43PM

Quote:Is there any settings that you would use?

It all depends on the flash synchronisation of your camera, I just set the shutter speed to 1/125 anf apeture at f5.6 or f8 ISO 100 and if your flash has an auto setting use that, or if all else fails put everything on auto.
MattK 6 63 United Kingdom
11 Sep 2012 9:09AM

I recently had exactly this situation - a family member asked me to photograph their daughters christening.

I used flash in the church as it was quite dark but like others have said if your camera is ok at higher ISO's then you might get away without it.

I had a canon 600D with a 430EXii flashgun and a 24-105mm f4 L lens. This was perfectly fine so both of your lenses should be ok. I made sure that my shutter speed was no lower than 125 to prevent handshake and allowed the ISO to compensate accordingly. I stuck my ISO on auto so I didn't have to play around and risk missing shots (took a few test shots and none of the test shots came out over ISO 1600 so was happy to leave on auto ISO). Flash wise I simply put it into ETTL and let it do it's thing. Occasionally I had to change the settings slightly but for most shots it worked fine.

I would advise seeing the venue before hand if possible (I wasn't this lucky). That way you can check for light and see where you need to stand etc. The reverend we had was brilliant - allowed photography at all times with flash and didn't care where I stood!

The key shot is to capture the Christening itself and the water being poured on the babies head at the "sink" so make sure you get to the "sink" early so you get the best shots possible. I had never been to a Christening so it was crazy for me as I didn't know what was happening and when! I was moving around like a mad man.I also had to fight with lots of other people as there were 2 christenings going on at once!

Based on my experience - simply knowing what is going to happen in what order and where the key areas like the "sink" are really helps as you can anticipate the shots and get your camera and view ready in plenty of time before Aunty Nora and the clan come rushing over and take your perfect viewpoint!

If you want to get an idea of some photos taken at a Christening feel free to look at the ones I took by clicking on the following link or by putting it in your browser.


Hope this helps.

11 Sep 2012 10:21AM
Hi MattK
Thanks alot, that has helped ALOT!
Just going through your pics now for some ideas Grin
MattK 6 63 United Kingdom
11 Sep 2012 6:42PM
No problem Simon - always glad to help!

The one thing I did try to do was focus on the baby and the parents as it is their day, then try to pick key people out like the grandparents as they are always wanted to be seen in photos at events like christenings for when the family look back at the photos in the future.

The one thing I wish I had done was round up a few group ones before everyone went in for the service and got them out of the way - I didn't really get much of a chance to get group shots after it all started so missed those a little bit.

If you get there a bit earlier you might be ale to catch everyone for some group shots and get some out of the way so that way you and they can relax knowing all they key people/couples/groups/families have been snapped!

Hope my photos give you an idea or a feel for the day and what kind of shots you could take Smile

Matt Grin
peterjones Plus
16 4.7k 1 United Kingdom
12 Sep 2012 4:04PM
All the above is excellent stuff but I would add have a look at the church first and if possible have a word with the vicar; a few are still stuck in the past when the church was part of the establishment and the vicar's word was law luckily they are dying out and modern clergy have a much more laissez-faire approach.

As a matter of course I rarely use a flashgun inside a church especially during any kind of ceremony because it is distractive and anyway I get much better images by cranking up the ISO; I prefer noise to flash.

13 Sep 2012 11:43AM
Thanks for that Peter,
I am definitely going to pop in and have a look around, however I don't think its your usual church, I believe its more like a Methodist church.

Thanks for the heads up Smile
MattK 6 63 United Kingdom
14 Sep 2012 8:14PM
Let us know how you got on when you have done it Smile
15 Sep 2012 11:14AM
I will indeed! Its Sunday 30th September, so 2 weeks away
STEVELIN 10 161 3 Ireland
24 Sep 2012 2:52PM
hi simon, iv done a few christenings and as said above they can be quite challenging depending on the rules of the church some will let you use flash some wont a lot of churches wont let you take shots during the ceremony itself which means to me you might as well not be there to start with. good advice from matt take a trip out to the venue check out where the light is coming from do your home work the water on the head is the money shot get this one and everyone is happy job done miss it and you have lost the momentimg-3390.jpg

if you can not be up and about find a seat in the church to give you a good vantage point of the font tell the parents what you are intending to do to capture the shot frame the shot up if theres light coming in from a window use it, and use a zoom this shot was taken with a 18-200mm find a spot out of the way a click click.
but go and check out first

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