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Is using flash in Church Illegal??

Andrew_Hurley 12 71 73 United Kingdom
31 May 2010 11:15PM
Yesterday a friend of mine went to the christening of one of his granddaughters. Whenever he wants to take pictures or video in a church he always approaches the minister and asks permission and asks about any restrictions. Yesterday's church official was very friendly and accommodating but asked him to refrain from using flash. Fair enough. But he then informed him, much to his astonishment, that it is fast ILLEGAL to use flash on a sacred premises. My friend (and I) have never heard this before (and have used flash before with permission but not recently) and it sounds outrageous to both of us. Had this man not been a churchman, and therefore not liable to bend the truth, my friend might have privately laughed his claim off. My friend's only conclusion is that he may be misinformed or in fact his claim may be ridiculous, but true!

Can anyone enlighten me or my friend?

I know there is a church in Mexico that bans flash or any photography, but in the UK I'm not sure. It can't be illegal surely!

Andrew on behalf of KC

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cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
31 May 2010 11:37PM

Quote:conclusion is that he may be misinformed

That is the most likely case, As we have a member of the clergy ( a Vicar ) in our family, I'm sure this would have been mentioned at some time, If it had a any foundation.

For a starters, Assuming that some kind of religeous law was passed, Just how far back in history did they first use " Flash " lighting in/on any sacred premises.

Its a bit like saying the lord says you shall not watch TV on sacred premises, Or use Radio Mikes, Or central heating.......Smile

Whatever, Just sounds like a jobs worth reading from the wrong scripture to me.......Wink
Overread 9 4.1k 19 England
31 May 2010 11:39PM
I highly doubt that its "illegal" though I greatly suspect that the church you were shooting in has a house rule that flash is not allowed. This might be part of a singluar choice by those in charge of that church or it could be a move by the central organising bodies that run/organise the whole setup of churches/belife that that church is attached to.

There might also be select religions that ban/prohibit the use of flash/photography though I suspect they are very few and far between (espeacilly in western cultures).
captmcl1 7 1 United States
1 Jun 2010 2:20AM
On Saturday here in the US, I attended my grandson's christening in a Greek Orthodox Church. The priest let me use an external flash on my dslr and even allowed me to stand in a corner by the baptismal font to get my pictures. He could not have been more accommodating. All religions are different so check with a different minister of the same denomination you were at, It could be a local church rule.
peterjones Plus
16 4.7k 1 United Kingdom
1 Jun 2010 8:05AM
I can't imagine that using flash inside a church or any other religious premises is illegal unless there is some mediaeval law prohibiting light other than the Lord's kicking around in a cupboard somewhere.

Many vicars prohibit flash during a marriage or other service for various reasons but mainly because it puts them off; personally I won't use flash in a church because it disturbs both the ambience and the ambient light.
sherlob Plus
12 2.9k 129 United Kingdom
1 Jun 2010 10:01AM
I thought flashing was illegal everywhere Wink

Sounds as though he was miss-informed.
roxpix 14 2.2k 11 Scotland
1 Jun 2010 10:17AM
It's well known that most ppl connected with churches/religion have no idea what the word illegal actually means!

A desire will change to a preference which will become a guidline then an instruction then a rule, then a ban moving to a law & finally becoming a sin applicable to all expect the person who's desire it was in the first place!
timbo 15 596 United Kingdom
1 Jun 2010 10:18AM
Not illegal but each church is free to set it's own rules. Stopping flash prevents important occasions being turned into paparazzi shoots. You usually find the official photographer is free to use flash at certain points during the ceremony should they wish.
MeanGreeny 12 3.7k England
1 Jun 2010 1:06PM

Quote: But he then informed him, much to his astonishment, that it is fast ILLEGAL to use flash on a sacred premises.

Sounds like a word-of-mouth rumour from a [religious] place that banned flash photography because of its detrimental effect on old tapestries/paintings/icons/painted statues etc
keith selmes 14 7.3k 1 United Kingdom
1 Jun 2010 1:51PM

Quote:ILLEGAL to use flash on a sacred premises
That'll be Sods Law, the one place you really need flash, its not allowed.
bricurtis Plus
12 2.2k 49 England
1 Jun 2010 6:37PM

Quote:ILLEGAL to use flash on a sacred premisesThat'll be Sods Law, the one place you really need flash, its not allowed.

Should that read Gods Law Smile
Phil1958 9 272 4 Wales
1 Jun 2010 9:22PM
I thought illegal was a sick bird!Wink Seriously I always ask the Minister/Priest etc before hand about flash but Peter Jones does have a point about it disturbing the ambience and ambient light - answer, use a fast lens/bumb up the ISO/use a lens with IS or all three if you're really clever Smile
peterjones Plus
16 4.7k 1 United Kingdom
1 Jun 2010 10:29PM
using a D3s and a f/2.8 lens I have shot at 7200 ISO and got perfectly acceptable pictures in the gloom of a church; the main problem I have in churches is the quality of the light; when the sun is shining it will be in all the wrong places and you can't use fill in flash therefore you have to move about to get the best angle ..... moan, moan, moan .........
Phil1958 9 272 4 Wales
1 Jun 2010 11:13PM
Just spotted my spelling mistake - should have put "bump" up the ISO oops! Smile
tigertimb 10 40 66 United Kingdom
2 Jun 2010 11:59AM
I'd guess he was simply misinformed or had misunderstood something he was told, maybe arising from the fact that in general law in the UK, my understanding is that it becomes illegal, simply because you've been asked not to. (I'd assume all churches are open to the public, but still private buildings)

From the weddings I've been to, I'd never use flash during the service; but for the entrance, the exit, the kiss and the signing of the register, photos and flashes are often openly invited.

Always worth a friendly chat with the vicar/minister when you arrive; make it clear that you don't want to be a nuisance where their job is concerned and they'll often be accomodating and helpful for you.

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