image source: chinatibet.people.com.cn
Religious events are sacred. They deserve respect from everyone involved, including photographers; even professional photographers. But now what’s become a pattern is, photographers seem to waive the ethics and respect needed when capturing such events. As photographers, you should always be empathetic and forever respectful of the goings on of the proceedings. They are, after all, praying and is not there to pose for a photograph.
This means photographers should not move about in places that may catch unwanted attention and break the concentration of the worshipers in the event. Position yourself as a fellow worshiper that would not want to be disturbed when worshiping to their respected Deity.
Here are a few technical tips:
1.Don’t get too close. Getting too close may disturb the worshiping party. You’re also at the risk of being in “the line of fire” and can get into your fellow photographers’ shot. Use a zoom lens if you want a close-up shot.
2.Minimize the use of flash and tripods. Use flashes only for the utmost emergency. You’ll lessen the risk of disturbing any one. Also, tripods may also get in the way of any goings on of the event. Use flash and tripod wisely.
3.Only bring what you need. One or two lenses is enough, no need to carry heavy artillery. Don’t bring any over-sized camera bags that may get in the way and may bump into people. Bringing the bare minimal also means you’re carry a light load, meaning more energy to photograph.
4.Hit and run. Shot what you need, as fast you can, and quickly get out of the way. There’s no need to stay long at the same spot because it may (again) disturb the proceedings. And different spots mean more creative angles and objects you photograph. Review your photos after you’ve gotten out of the way. This also gives way to any other photographers that would also like to record at the same location.
5.Be self-sufficient. Don’t bother the event organizers by asking for this or that like charging batteries or asking them to keep some of your stuff. All of the things you need to do to guarantee a successful photo shoot needs to be done before the event.
Now here are some non-technical tips:
1.Read and ask questions about the event you’re about to photograph. Learn about the subjects you’ll be recording, plan the shooting time, and plan out the angles you’re about to photograph from.
2.Dress neatly and respectfully. Don’t make yourself be the center of attention by dressing flashy or inappropriately. Dressing accordingly is a way of showing your respect of the sacred event. It’s best to dress as the people in the event dresses.
3.Follow the instructions of the event organizers and pay attention to any prohibitions. This is to respect the place of worship. Be empathetic and follow the event’s customs.
4.Respect cleanliness. Throw any trash in the designated trash cans.
5.Stay calm. The atmosphere of a worship ceremony is usually quiet and peaceful. Turn off any communication devices and only talk quietly as little as needed.
6.Don’t give a bad example to the others. When photographing in groups, one person’s behavior may affect the rest. For instance, don’t cross any boundaries the worshiping party may have set out. It may lead to others copying you.
7.Get there earlier. By arriving early, you’ll get the chance to scout for the best locations to shoot from before it gets crowded.
8.Share information. Before and during the shoot, don’t get stingy with your info about the ongoing event. By sharing useful info, you and your fellow photographers can help each other achieve the best photographs possible.
Respect and Be Respected!