1st Communion need advice...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by crystal_lynn, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. crystal_lynn

    crystal_lynn I am sure I sound childish

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    I am looking for advice on three points...

    1) I am not Catholic - I have been told that there are no flash restriction or movement restrictions, however I am sure there is some etiquette that I should be aware of such as things not to touch or moments not to photograph??

    2) What parts of the ceremony should I be aware of that are important?

    3) Even though I can use my flash, what settings will most likely be appropriate? I will probably shoot in shutter priority...

    Any advice would be appreciated.



    Well, I survived the day! Here are 2 photos that have not been edited...

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  2. ScottS

    ScottS TPF Noob!

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    I have 2 views on this.
    1. Be as incognito as possible.
    2. talk to the people that are running it and see if you could take pictures of all the kids. That way, you have a purpose to be there, and can be right up there when they are actually giving the kids first communion. Then you can make 4x6's of everyone, and have the parents pick them up a week later. When you give them their pictures, i suggest putting them in ziploc with a paper that has your name, and contact info.

    I did this a while back, and not only had people want to order more of that same photo, but hire me for other things. Its great marketing.
     
  3. RKW3

    RKW3 TPF Noob!

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    My tip: avoid using flash if possible.
     
  4. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    Regarding the etiquette and the ceremony, the easiest thing is to contact the parish priest and ask him exactly what you asked in this post. He will greatly appreciate your concern.

    If possible, get to the church a day early and check the lighting. (Again, ask the priest when might be a good time.) If possible, avoid flash. However, if you must use flash, my suggestion is aperture priority with the lens opened up to somewhere around f/2 (if your lens can do it). I don't use Canons but I fully expect that the camera will choose 1/60 second shutter speed as soon as you connect your flash (or turn on the pop-up). Depending, of course, on subject distance and lens focal length, the f/2 opening will keep the subject crisp and the background softly out of focus. Post back with the lenses that you have and I'll try to get a bit more specific.
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's been SO long since I had mine, so I have little recollection of the exact happenings, but like any ceremony in a church, I would try to use the flash as little as possible.

    If I was you, I would make sure I had lots of fast glass and a camera that did well at higher ISO. Yes, you have permission to use flash, but I think that I would reserve that to pictures taken after the actual ceremony in a different part of the church.

    At the ceremony, it is unlikley that your child will be the first, so take a look at what it happens and look for the best places to stand and times to shoot in the ceremoney. As your child gets closer, use the info to your advantage by placing yourself and taking a few quick shots, as all the time you will have is several seconds.

    I would not use shutter priority, I would use either full manual or aperture priority. Since your subject will be posing and relatively motionless, you can likely go down low as 1/60th shutter speed with success hand-held, if you have good technique.

    For the after ceremony, I would find a place where I could set up a small area that I could place my off camera strobe(s) at, take 2-3 test shots to test my setup and then take nice pictures of my subject ala strobist techniques. ;)

    At that point I would want to go all out and setup 2-3 strobes and use at least 4 ideas that I have at the top of my head to get nice shots for a memory or portrait. I would possibly even see if I could stay till after the ceremony and take specific pics after the people left of the subject near the altar, or the organ or near any defining statues or stained glass windows.

    The options are near limitless at that point! :D
     
  6. patrickt

    patrickt TPF Noob!

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    I'm neither a Catholic nor a Mexican although I live in Mexico so when a friend asked me to photograph her daughters baptism I didn't have a clue.

    The professional photographers who were there and make a living at baptisms and other church activities were very helpful to me.

    You can also visit with the priest ahead of time. It's their business and they can certainly tell you the rules. At the baptism I went to, all the photographers stood out front chatting and checking out each others equipment until a young priest came to the door, whistled, and waved everyone in. Two of the photographers said, "Stand right there and we'll take care of it." There were six children being baptized, my friend was the only one who couldn't afford a professional, and every aunt, uncle, grandparent, and neighbor had a digital camera. When Dahlia's turn came one of the photographers started waving to me and said, "Here, we saved you a spot." I got my pictures.

    Oh, and I was the only person with a camera not using a flash.
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Baptism and Communion are 2 different things.

    A Baptism is basically a longer ceremony that entails some splashing of holy water on the head... a Communion is essentially where you receive a communion wafer and in some cases a ceremonial slap on the cheek.

    Baptisms are done on babies normally, a Commuion on children 9-13 years of age.
     
  8. deudeu

    deudeu TPF Noob!

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    Whatever rules may apply as far as picture taking during the office is up to the priest. Usually they talk about it before the ceremony, but if you can catch him in advance, it's probably the best thing to do.

    Things to watch for in the ceremony: The eating of the little piece of bred. This is what communion mean, it is the first time you are allowed to eat the "body of christ" and thus be redeamed for you sins.
    Usually there is no drinking of the "blood of christ" during the first communion, you have to wait for the second one... Bummer!
    I have seen sometimes when the priest would give some grape juice, and once again this is up to the priest. One more reason to check with him before the ceremony.

    As far as positioning is concerned, it would be nice to be able to hang out behind the hostel (spelling.... ummm... not sure). From there you would be able to get a nice shot at the whole audience. Once again, it is up to the priest to let you go up there or not.
     
  9. KOrmechea

    KOrmechea TPF Noob!

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    Every First Communion I've witnessed (including my own), happened during a regular church service.

    Pictures were taken at mine and all of my siblings'. While these weren't professional pictures, I'm sure no one would mind if you were to venture out of your seat to get a good shot, especially if you've been asked to document the event. Obviously be respectful (don't interrupt, stand on the altar, etc). But, as stated, talking with the Priest and whomever has asked you to shoot before-hand is always a good idea.

    Things to shoot? There will be when they receive communion the first time, of course. Also, a bit of a ceremony before-hand for everyone who's receiving for the first time. After the service, there's generally a party/reception as this is an important event. Gifts are given, generally religious in nature (I received my first Bible and Crucifix). Also, if it's a girl's First Communion, she'll probably be dressed in a special dress; white, with a veil, and sometimes gloves (almost like a wedding dress). These are generally important as some are handed-down through generations (or are just plain expensive) and symbolize purity.

    I hope all of that helps, good luck.
     
  10. crystal_lynn

    crystal_lynn I am sure I sound childish

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    Socrates, I have a 50/1.8, a 18-55/3.5, and a 75-300/4. I do have a diffuser for my flash, but it seems the general consenus is no flash?

    BTW I have issues with Priests so there is NO WAY I will be talking to him beforehand.
     
  11. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    Then there's NO WAY that you'll be able to perform at the best of your ability.
     
  12. crystal_lynn

    crystal_lynn I am sure I sound childish

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    That is what the family is for, I do not have to speak with the priest. As a matter of fact I am only going to the mass because the family asked me, my reason for never wanting to step into a Catholic church again is a very good one. I am already going to have to face that, I do not need to add talking to a priest onto my lists of things to do.

    Now, if you are still willing to help me figure out the best lens to use I would be much appreciative.
     

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