part 1: why hire a photographer?
part 2: 9 things to consider when hiring a funeral photographer
Why hire a photographer for a funeral?
Why have a stranger wandering around with a camera to catch you and your loved ones at your most vulnerable, during a time of grief and pain? This may not resonate with everyone. And if not, that’s okay! This is not for everyone, and there is absolutely no pressure or obligation to consider a photographer if you don’t think this is the right fit for you, but there are a few reasons to give the idea some thought.
Funerals pass in a blur. There are often dozens of people, there is a cloud of grief, and it is difficult to remember any details about the day, let alone who attended. And you will want to remember who was there. You may want to look back on these images and think about how many people cared for your loved one, about your community that came together to support you, and a reminder of who wished you condolences.
You may want to remember details from the day. You may want to remember who spoke, what the flowers looked like, whether it was a cloudy day or a sunny one.
Funerals are often moments where many people who you may not often see congregate together. This may be the first time in years where members from both sides of a family, from one’s different communities come together, and it is a unique opportunity to capture many people you love and who love you all in one place.
Even if you do not immediately think you want photos, chances are, some of your guests will want to capture some of the moments or details from the day. Hiring a photographer means that guests are able to put down their phones and focus on what’s important without being distracted, or distracting others.
To summarize, these are all things that, in the thick of grief, will be difficult to remember. You may not want to remember them, and you may want to forget all about the day. However, there is also the distinct possibility that one day, you WILL want to remember. It may not be the next day, or even the next year, but one day you will probably be exceptionally grateful that you have these images to clear some of the haze for you.
9 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN HIRING A PHOTOGRAPHER FOR A FUNERAL:
- Choose the right photographer. Choosing a photographer who is a good fit for you is important for any service, however it is particularly important at a time of grieving, when having a stranger wandering around with a camera can be potentially distressing. You want to find a photographer who is compassionate, can inconspicuously capture events, and who you feel comfortable around. There is often not much time to plan funerals, however having someone you trust hop on a quick phone call with potential candidates can quickly weed out individuals who cannot meet your needs.
- Assign someone else to coordinate the photographer. Don’t do it yourself. Have someone who is able to take on that role, direct the photographer and answer their questions.
- Inquire, (or ask your photographer to inquire) as to whether there are restrictions on photography at the venue.
- Know that not all guests will be comfortable being photographed— consider a sign or a memo explaining the presence of a photographer, and ask them to indicate to the photographer if they are uncomfortable having their photograph taken.
- If there are specific shots that are important to you, give a list to the photographer. Additionally, if there are specific moments where you do not want images, indicate that to the photographer.
- If there is a ceremony, place the photographer in a single, well-positioned location in order to minimize distraction
- You may not want to look at the images right away, however, it is very important to BACK UP your images. Ask your photographer if a) they can back them up for you (this will probably come with an additional cost, as most photographers delete images after a few months), or b) give you multiple modes of delivery (i.e. an online gallery AND a USB), or c) ask a trusted friend of family member to save and back up the images
- Cost. This is an emotionally and technically challenging task for photographers, and most will charge accordingly to insure the best service for you. However, there are organizations that occasionally offer free photographic services to individuals going through tragedy, such as…
- Make sure you have a CONTRACT. This is important for any photographic service, however it is especially crucial here. Death often comes unexpectedly, and turn around can be quick, which means details like contracts can easily fall through the cracks and be forgotten. Contracts are there to protect both you and the photographer, and the last thing you will want to do is have to spend time chasing down a photographer because you didn’t receive your images. It will also ensure that you and the photographer are on the same page, and this will give you peace of mind that the photographer can meet your needs.