Uh oh. Pastor Blasts Photographer During Wedding Ceremony

In Marketing/Business by Jim Harmer73 Comments

If you said, “Uh oh” when the Pastor turned around…. you were right.

Angry pastor warning photographers.

Ready for you to pin this on Pinterest!

“This is not about the photography.  This is about God.”  That's how a pastor BLASTED a photographer and videographer in a scene recorded on this Youtube Video.  Right in the middle of the vows, the pastor whips around to chastise the photographer whose DSLR shutter sound had apparently annoyed the pastor.

Few details are known of the story behind this unfortunate occurrence and we don't know the back story here, but two things are certain: (1) All this bride and groom will remember of their all-important, life-changing vows is that their Pastor lost his temper–making a tiny annoyance into a massively embarrassing scene.  Did you see the bride and groom's faces?  (2) Photographers should always, always speak with both the couple and the officiator before the wedding ceremony to understand proper etiquette for that particular ceremony.

What are your thoughts?  Was the pastor right?  Was he justified?  Was the photographer right?  Was this simply a miscommunication?  Should photographers carry bodies with electronic shutters while photographing certain ceremonies?  What about the couple?

 


About the Author

Jim Harmer

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Jim Harmer is the founder of Improve Photography, and host of the popular Improve Photography Podcast. More than a million photographers follow him on social media, and he has been listed at #35 in rankings of the most popular photographers in the world. Jim travels the world to shoot with readers of Improve Photography in his series of free photography workshops. See his portfolio here.

Comments

  1. When shooting a wedding, my goal is to stay as discreet as possible. Long lenses can help. When in need of a shot that places me in the center of the action, I don’t linger. I certainly wouldn’t get right up in the alter.

    At the first word from the pastor’s mouth, the photographers should have left. No debate, no argument. For the couple’s sake. All they did was prolong the embarrassment. They should have discussed things with the pastor beforehand.

    1. Hi Nick,

      I am the photographer, I did discussed the Minister before, I knew what were the ground rule, he did not mention anything about not going behind the alter, I will post a photo of the setting, so you can figure out. Also, I was I using 70-200 lens.

    1. MT,

      No, photographers are not always right, we make mistakes too. Before the ceremony I went up to him and introduce myself. Hello, I am the photographer. I asked him “Is there any rules or restrictions, where I should be and where I shouldn’t be”. He told me “DO NOT COME IN THE AISLE” YOU CAN BE ANYWHERE ELSE, I DON’T CARE”. I said okay great!

  2. WOW. That is a tad over the top for the pastor. I’d bet this isn’t his first wedding ceremony with photographers, so, there has to be more to this story than those 0:41. Either that, or he’s just really grumpy.

    1. Hi Kevin,

      After the ceremony, I asked him – why did you snapped like that? He replied “you guys always do this to me” and I said what you mean you guys? He replied “You photo and videographers” then I said but this is the first time I am working with you and hopefully last time.

  3. I’ve only shot two weddings but I always went to the practice dinners… Where the priest/pastor always was! And I always made sure I chatted with him. My first wedding I was lucky to work with an awesome guy who had worked with many photographers before… so he directed me well, told me where to go for what, etc. My second wedding was very very religious (similar to this guy!) and he was way more strict on where I should go/be during certain parts of the ceremony… So yes, I agree, ALWAYS chat with both parties! But I have to say… I think this guy was a little out of line.

    1. Yes, I agree. I have had really lenient, easy to work with pastors/priests, and a few strict ones. At the most recent wedding I did, the priest was fine with me being in the centre aisle, but didn’t want me past the first two pews. However, another guy from the congregation started taking photos and went right up to the front and the priest did sometime very similar to this and told him to go sit down. How embarrassing. Apparently he had actually stopped other ceremonies before too. I was really happy I talked with him beforehand so I knew where I could/could not go. Wow.

  4. You’re right, everything to do with the ceremony should be agreed upon in advance. The pastor was more of a distraction then the photographer/videographer. HOWEVER, from the apparent location of the videographer in the last couple seconds of the clip, it seems like a more unobtrusive location and a longer focal length would have been in order.

  5. Wow. if it were my wedding, I would likely find another church after that tantrum. Reverend Richard Cranium was presiding over that ceremony.

  6. Obviously a photographer and videographer are hired by the bride and groom and I think this Man of the Cloth was out of line creating this scene. God was indeed a part of the ceremony, but it was about the couple being married! If I were the bride, I would be jittering and near tears, Im sure. How many of these joyous ceremonies has he performed where the bride and groom do NOT record the event? Ive never thought about something such as this happening and of course, the advice to communicate with the couple and others involved about placement and expectations is appropriate and may save the day!

  7. I think it was probably a case of the straw that broke the camels back. More and more, weddings are being overrun by zealous photographers eager to get the perfect shot. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen the photographer right smack dab in the middle of the ceremony with no regard for the privacy and sanctity of the moment. Instead of focusing on the bride and groom and their beautiful commitment, I am focusing on the annoying photographer and how I wish I could see the wedding and not his back!

    1. Debbie,

      I‘ve done many weddings as a photographer, I’ve also been to weddings as a guest. So I know some amateur photographer can be distracted to the guest. When I started, I was jumping around too. But over the years with lots of wedding experiences – I am well aware of, where to be and where not to be. This particular wedding had a large wedding party nine bridesmaids and nine groomsmen – including the minister and couple there were 21 people standing in front of the guest. Also, the place had little slope. So I wasn’t being disturbing at all.

  8. USUALLY outdoor weddings are laid back. I ALWAYS talk with the officiant before the ceremony and ask what the rules are during the ceremony. I always chat it up a bit with the officiant and get to know them. We are all on the same team.

    As soon as the pastor said “please leave” the photographer/videographer should have moved.

    Concerning the couple, it is out of their hands at this point. Any intervention could have resulted in an escalation and the pastor actually leaving.

  9. I agree. It’s a moment that should be taken very seriously and no shutter noise, distractions, or arguing should be a problem. The pastor was right. It was a moment between God, bride, groom, and the pastor and the photographer should have been standing back. That’s why they have MANY different lense for things like this.

  10. I have never shot a wedding before as the photographer but i have done wedding as the DJ for the whole event. I agree with Kevin that the pastor was a little over the top but without knowing the back story it’s hard to so whom was right or wrong. The ones who suffered the most in this was the bride and groom.

  11. You can not judge the pastor being out of line with this short snippet. The photographer/ videographer could have been a real jerk and needed to be called out for being inrtusive.

    I have no compassion for the photographer here.. Be professional and talk with the officiant BEFORE the ceremony.

    1. Author

      @Ed – Good point. As I mentioned, we have no idea what the back story is here. I looked for details but could find none. The photographers may be justified, the couple may be justified, and the pastor may be justified depending on the circumstances. I’d like to figure out where this came from and get more of the story.

    2. @Ed…I have to ask how you can say you can’t judge the pastor from such a short clip, yet you can judge the photographer. As you said, it is a short clip, and you know nothing of the background. You have no idea whether or not the photographer spoke with the pastor BEFORE the ceremony or not. So just as you can’t judge the pastor, you should not judge the photographer.

      I think that no matter the circumstances or background, BOTH could have handled this a bit better.

      1. I find that judgement easy to make. It’s not the pastor’s job to be out of the way – it’s the pastor’s job to preside over the ceremony. It IS part of the photographer’s job to be in the background recording the event and not a conscious part of the action.

        One of the two clearly failed — it wasn’t the pastor.

        I couldn’t agree more that a pre-ceremony huddle is the obvious missing element and they both share some responsibility for that lack of clarity.

        1. @ Don…You’re straddling the fence it seems Don. You first say that the Pastor did not fail, but the say he has some responsibility. Can’t have it both ways.

          It’s very easy to see that they both made mistakes. But to say that the Pastor did not fail is simply wrong. Is it the Pastors job to blow up like that? It is his job to make a bad situation worse? Is it his job to threaten to stop the ceremony? The answer to each is no, so the Pastor clearly failed in this fiasco as well.

      2. It is easy to judge the photographer. If the photographer just moved on.. Situation over. In my opinion, the photographer acted unprofessionally. Maybe the photographer apologizes and moves like requested.. GEEZE….. Kinda makes sense to me.

        I got scolded by a venue manager for moving a stupid table.. I apologized and moved the table back. Now had I taken a road like this photographer, I am sure the situation would have escalated.

  12. If you’re going to be compassionate toward anybody, be compassionate toward the bride and groom. The pastor could have endured the annoyance for their sake and spoken with the photographer after the ceremony. At the point he turned and said “I’ll stop the ceremony if you do not leave” he made it about HIMSELF – not God, not the bride and groom. I doubt that any noises from the camera made God feel less honored. He created the universe! Give him some credit. Having said all that, yes, I believe that the photographer should have spoken with the pastor, as well as, the bride and groom so they were all on the same page.

  13. For the photographers, i think they deserve that beating. Had they have done their homework first,this embarassment could have been avoided.

    For the pastor, being a Man of God, he shouldn’t have lost his temper and waited for the ceremony to finish. I can imagine how the couple felt that time, one of the most important event in their lives ruined.

  14. My husband is a pastor, my father is pastor. Even my mother is an ordained minister who has done weddings! I have photographed only one wedding, but you could say my perspective is unique.

    I have been to weddings where the only thing people could see was the photographer who constantly chose very distracting places to be, including in between the couple and their attendants or focusing over the bride or groom’s shoulder.

    You can get lovely shots while respecting what is happening. The goal is the wedding, with photos capturing it. The goal is not a lovely spread of photos, for which we will orchestrate our day.

    In my opinion, a good photographer is nearly invisible during the ceremony.

    Some couples want something different – I must agree, talk it through. I would suggest bringing up this matter with the couple. “I can get you great photos, but with these positions, I can get you AMAZING photos.”

    Encourage them to talk with their pastor ahead of time. This will allow them a chance to communicate preferences and convictions. It will also allow them time to find a new officiant, if this is critical to them.

    The priest/pastor here did certainly create a very awkward scene, but I do wonder what he was responding to. Interesting post!

  15. Most churches/synagogues have rules or standards that they like the photographer/video crew to follow. It’s easy to just ask before hand and they will tell you.

    This pastor should have waited to express himself since he did not do so before the ceremony.

  16. All I can say is, no matter WHO was right or wrong…The pastor could have waited till the end, then pulled the photographer aside and made some points. He did not have enough patience and consideration for the bride and Groom. He was also wrong. A pastor knows that there are photographers shooting weddings. If the photographer didn’t approach the pastor, then the pastor should have approached the photographer. Both need to be held accountable! In this, I am sure that both parties are to blame, no matter WHAT % each carries.

  17. The pastor was way out of line. It was he, and not the photographers, who caused a scene. In so doing, he made the ceremony not about “God” or heaven forfend the couple, aka his clients who were paying him to perform a service with professionalism, but about him.

    Ultimately, though, this is the couple’s fault. For hiring a “Pastor” incapable of controlling his self-righteousness, even at the expense of their wedding memories.

  18. All things being equal it should be cleared with the pastor first. Since that didn’t happen the minister had NO GOOD REASON to threaten to stop the service. It is the couples day. Clearly, this was not about God. It was about him. He singe handily ruined this couples special day and as an employee of the couple he should not be paid. I once attended a wedding for a cousin and since I am a photographer, but not THE photographer, I took dozens of pictures including the ring getting caught on the brides dress. After the service THE photographer came to me and asked how I did that (take pictures). I still find it is easier to apologize then ask permission.

  19. as A photographer, I work for the Bride and Groom..not a self-rightious pastor…It was an outside wedding. Now if I’m shooting a wedding inside a church I would ask for any rules the church has about photography. Beyound that I could care less what a pastor thinks…

  20. From the limited information in the clip this should have been over very quickly when the pastor asked the photographer and video team to leave. At that point things get worse because the two groups have different agendas.

    At this time in the ceremony, the control belongs to the pastor and the photo crew should respect that. If this was during a different point and the pastor got in the way of a good shoot, the the photo team would be in control and have the same right to ask him to move.

    Lastly it is the responsibility of the photo team to get with the pastor and others to ensure that they know the ends and outs of things, as many have said here.

    At the end of the day, the couple will eventually find this funny and be an anecdote about their wedding. However, no matter what people think about who is at fault, the person most hurt by this at the professional level is the photographer, as that is where people will see comments and ask for names.

    I doubt that many people will say “stay away from that pastor, he does not like photographers”. That is why at the end of the day, if you want to succeed as a wedding photographer, you must look at this entire scenario as the fault of the photographer for not doing the work up front.

  21. I think standing right behind the pastor during the ceremony is not necessary, but it was a good shot… that said – it should have been a quick shot and then gone. Although most religious ceremonies don’t allow that perspective. Communicating before hand is key. Beside, who wants to look back on their wedding video (you can see the camera setup dead center) with the bride, groom, pastor, and the entourage behind him during your vows? As a photographer you should be discrete, not paparazzi. The purpose is to capture intimate moments while they’re happening, not make yourself a part of the event – and you want to keep the equipment out of the shots as much as possible. As others have said, there are different angles and different lenses for this purpose. You can hear the shutter on high speed right before he turned around. I think he might have been less annoyed had it been selected pictures, but to just be up there holding the shutter button down like they’re doing a sporting event or fashion shoot wasn’t necessary. I can understand why he turned around to ask them to leave – it was distracting. However, he didn’t have go on to say that he was going to leave, etc. At that point, when he turned around they should have (silently) apologetically left, and that was the end of it. I feel bad for the bride and groom, they looked mortified – what a thing to remember from the day!

  22. I can’t say that I blame the pastor here. The ceremony is THE event here. It is more important to allow the event than to ruin it by placing cameras front and center to the assembly. Never place a camera in the middle of the altar where is becomes the centerpiece. Try to be unobtrusive for everyone’s sake.

  23. so, no one sneezes, coughs, laughs or cries during a ceremony? Those darn shutters are such a distracting thing…..What if that shot was the one to die for? skip it? This is just beyond me, sorry.

  24. I think the pastor was a bit ridculous, seems like it was his first wedding. Maybe he has something against photographers.

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