Recommendations for photography at a Christening

This week I replied online to a plea from a photographer wanting information about how to photograph a Christening. He had been persuaded to fill in for another photographer, and, although a good landscape and architectural photographer, and aside from pictures of family and friends, he was walking into new territory.

I have photographed christenings before, and, other than the unproductive time sitting and waiting during services, the event is actually pretty enjoyable. To that worried photographer I commented how I would photograph everything and included a suggestion not to make things complicated and to have fun.

I advised that he should to be as versatile as he could be, and I suggested he leave his fixed focal length (prime) lenses home. Today there is lots of interest in using non-zoom lenses like 50mm, 35mm or 85mm. But in the limited space of a family packed room or child’s bedroom I prefer a short zoom like 24-70mm or even something wider like my 16-85mm that allows me lots of versatility without the hassle of carrying and continually changing lenses.

I am not concerned about a wide aperture because I want family members to be in focus so lots of depth of field is important. I always use a flash, and with small children keep the diffuser cap on and aim toward the ceiling so the light bounces around filling the space.  I shoot like I am at a sporting event, quickly making exposure after exposure in hopes of catching that fleeting smile on the infant’s face.

Nevertheless, I’m always patient; I don’t want parents to get frustrated as they try to entice the perfect expression from their child, and advise them its okay to do something else and we’ll try again later. I learned years ago that when photographing children one needs to just wait until they are ready.

Modern photographers suggest a second flash held by an assistant off axis for more flattering light. I surely agree if there are two of you.

If I can I will use a second flash, but in tight spaces, or a room filled with people, finding a place for a stand-mounted second flash becomes a problem and in situations where family is important, I would never presume to clear the room so I can be an artist. In my opinion it’s all about making each place and time work.

The photographer also questioned about the church and restrictions. In a Catholic ceremony like he was about to participate in I suggest finding the priest before things begin, introduce himself, tell him he is working for the family, and ask what the rules are.

I have been working in the same town for years and am familiar with most clergy, however, even when they recognize me I still ask them if there is anything they would rather I refrain from doing.

Then, after I am done I always – always, take the time to thank them. I want their trust, and to be remembered as the kind of photographer they like at their church service.

During the baptism I am continually moving around. I use a flash and choose shutterspeeds like 1/125 or 1/160 of a second so I can incorporate ambient light. I want the priest in the picture as much as I can, and position myself so both he and the parents are visible. Fortunately, it’s possible to lighten those in the background during post-production.

Photography inside a church is much the same as any indoor location. Light the subject, try getting as much as possible in focus, watch the subject(s), make them look as good as possible in the photograph, be patient, capture as much of the action as possible, and have fun.

These are my thoughts for this week.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me. Email your comments and suggestions to me at or phone 250-371-3069

John Enman owns and operates Enman’s Camera at 423 Tranquille Road in Kamloops, selling an interesting selection of used and new photographic equipment and offers professional wedding and event photography.  Check out








Just Posted

NTFFRA looking for 2018 Ambassador Candidates

North Thompson Valley Grade 9 to 11 students eligible to participate

Should grade 7s be moved to high school?

Parents and students attend public meeting regarding moving grade 7 students to Barriere Secondary

Barriere family loses home to fire

North Thompson Star/Journal A Barriere family have lost their home to a… Continue reading

RCMP Report: Trucker drags sign

Tractor-trailer driver goes over highway meridian at Vavenby, drags sign to Little Fort

TNRD survey looks at economic impact of 2017 wildfires

457 of the 492 businesses in the study area were affected “in some way” by the 2017 wildfires

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Okanagan Falls winery showing international photo project

Liquidity Wines will be sole Canadian show of National Geographic’s Photo Ark

Lawyer for one suspect in beating of man with autism says he’s not guilty

Ronjot Singh Dhami will turn himself in, lawyer said

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Most Read