Although photos aren't taken at every funeral, some families wish for them to be taken as a memento of having the entire family together. Despite the somber nature of the occasion, these photos can provide solace in the months and years ahead. Many families won't actually hire a professional photographer for the occasion, meaning that if you're an amateur photographer with adequate camera gear, you might be asked to play this role. This request can put you in a challenging position — you don't want to turn down helping the family, but you're not exactly keen on snapping shots of people grieving. Here's the best way to proceed.
Request That An Announcement Is Made
If there will be a few announcements at any point in the funeral service, ask if people can be told that a photographer will be circulating to snap some photos — and that this is upon the request of the immediate family of the deceased. Knowing that people have heard this announcement will make you less self-conscious about fulfilling this role.
Always Ask For Peoples' Consent
People feel vulnerable when they're grieving, which means that many people will not wish to be photographed. To this end, it's courteous to always ask permission before you take a shot of some of the attendees. You should expect that some people will decline; don't plead your case with them, simply move on to ask other people. Provided you get consent, plan to shoot your photos quickly; people might give you the OK, but they likely don't want to pose for more than a quick instance.
Turn Off The Flash
The bright light from your camera's flash going off around the room can be a distraction to people who are expressing their sympathy to the family members of the deceased. Set your camera so the flash stays off and make the necessary adjustments so that your photos will still be bright enough. This simple adjustment will also put less focus on you, as people won't be turning every time they see a flash. This is ideal if you're a little uncomfortable in your role.
Opt For Wide-Angle Shots
Given that many people won't want to be photographed from close-up, images shot from wider angles are an ideal option. Walk around the room and take shots of the crowd from various angles. This will still give the immediate family some images from the event, won't make individual people feel self-conscious and can also make your life easier, too.
For tips on etiquette, you might consider asking a funeral home like Elmwood Meunier Funeral Home for advice.