As a Storyteller with a Camera for all these years, one thing I am sure about if you want a good reason to get friends and family together all you have to do is to send out an invitation for a Funeral, Wedding or a Christening.
I am sure many Church Ministers continue to find it so amazing how many people that comes to their church, you never see them inside of any church unless again because of a Funeral, Wedding or the registering of a child by a family into a church depending on the type of church or denomination, which will all have their own rules and names to describe the process.
From a naming ceremony, baptism, christening, first communion or confirmation, to name just a few names, these church ceremony will all be a good reason for many families and friends to come together, for just a basic service.
Or to a very pompous service based on years of ancient tradition of the church, especially the more established churches like the Church of England or the Catholic Church.
For me, these type of opportunities is a perfect example for a professional photographer to be involved in since many of these occasions have the same skills of organisations like a wedding, or even a funeral, as well as the amount of money spent on them.
Because after the church service there is normally food provided, for all in attendance from a simple buffet of food to a three-course meal, with music and entertainment that can sometimes continue well into the following day.
Many Church Ministers recognise that many who do not attend church, will probably freely acknowledge that they are just following family traditions, because of that they will probably recommend that the child and parents attend church for a short while so that they can qualify to have their child acknowledge by their church.
My personal experience is that many Church Leaders or Ministers are happy for a Professional Photographer to get on with their job of documenting the occasion providing they respect the church rules, like when to take photographs, when not to use flash or where the photographer should stay, in a certain location to capture the images.
Those who know me well, will tell you that I do have a touch of rebelliousness inside me, if I am being paid good money to be a family storyteller with a camera, and then to produce a Photo book in a Presentation Box, then the most important thing for me is to get the images that tell the story of the day.
At the same time, I will always remind the family booking me to inform the Church Minister, that they have booked a photographer for their child's special occasion.
And on arrival, I will always introduce myself to the officiating minister and clarify any church rules for a photographer.
On one occasion I volunteered my service for a family christening, and I was taken back how the Church Minister was very rigid in his church rules of no photography until after all the ceremony was over.
For me, that just triggered off a reaction like a bull to a red rag, because if I was being paid to produce a body of work, all the important images to tell the storey would have been missed due to outdated and unreasonable local church rules.
That situation did kind of backfire on me because it was said that all the memory of the day, would be remembered by the parents.
As a person and a parent getting up in age, I know that as you get older the memories you had yesterday become dull over a period of time, just like a mother giving birth will not be able to remember the details of giving birth some 20 – 30 years previously.
For that reason having a professional storyteller with a camera or a video camera to record some of the first chapters of a young child or babies legacy story, like a blank book with empty pages, has to be a priority, because once the occasion has gone, so has all the memories of the day.
The other point to be made is that many Church Ministers will tolerate a Professional Photographer than several people with a camera phone, trying to capture images and disturbing the ceremony or service.
The way I see my role as a Storyteller with Camera is that I have had the privilege of capturing some of the last images of family members attending their final family event.
Even for that reason on its own, having a Professional Photographer or Videographer at a family Church Service means that images of a family member or a loved family friends will be recorded for a young child Legacy Story Book, that will help them I am sure to appreciate the building blocks to their personal history and where they come from, when they are able to understand one day in the future.
So the next time you are organising a family event, please remember to book a Storyteller like myself because one day you will appreciate the value of the images captured because tomorrow is not promised to anyone of us.
Please check out a selection of Christening Images below that were all part of a Storytellers journey for various families, with a story behind each image captured...