Need input..

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Oct 22, 2008
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Neosho, Missouri
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Keith Jalbert
I been sitting here racking my brain... We have birth photography, wedding, birthday, anniversary etc.... I am trying to get insight Im looking to make attempt at funeral photography.... Heres why I wish I had photos of when my brother was murdered funeral. It was a military funeral and I was the flag bearer. Sounds dark I know but I know I am not the only one who would have liked photos from that last day with family. I have a very large family and it was last time I seen everyone in over 20 years. Am I losing my mind or maybe a decent idea? You all help in so may ways shapes and forms which is why I turned to the forum and not FB or other social platforms. thanks in advance
Keith
 
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Ken
First, I am very sorry for the loss of your brother. And while I also share your desire to get shots of family and friends who have not gathered or seen each other in some time, I think that there may be some opportunities for you to do so, but as a member of the family and not as a photographer. I know that funerals are broadcast and sometimes recorded on video, but these are passive means of recording and photography is active. And I think that being active with a camera may not always be appreciated by people who are in mourning and perhaps in a highly emotional state. My suggestion would be to not take photos at the actual funeral, and try to take some images at any kind of memorial or gathering after the formal service. That is when people share stories and start to feel a bit less tense. If you really wanted a record of the service, I would recommend placing a camera or two in very discreet locations and turn them on and just let them run until the service concludes. And if you do bring something other than a phone to photograph, try to be very discreet. A small camera with a pancake lens, no flash and a silent shutter will be much less obtrusive than a large DSLR/zoom/flash rig, and probably will cause less angst. This is a great case for a pocketable 1" sensor P/S camera.

Finally, my recommendation is to take as many photos as you can at births, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. I know this is a bit of a water under the bridge piece of advice for your specific situation, but your family's next generations may appreciate this advice. People may want to see these images at later gatherings, like your brother's funeral service, and they may find them comforting (and possibly be more willing to be photographed). So, be sure to load up family images on your phone or tablet as well when seeing family.

--Ken
 
Joined
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I photographed a memorial service held in a church and the follow-up luncheon held in a hotel and I photographed a burial at Arlington Cemetery when a friend asked me to be the event photographer for those happenings. Photographing the memorial service taught me never to take on that task again when I knew the deceased well. That's because it's extraordinarily difficult to photograph when tears are building up while looking through the viewfinder.
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2005
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Winter Haven, florida
I had the same thoughts at a family funeral- pre pandemic.
I do not see a respectable way to do this. We certainly do not want pictures of every table, etc.
I took a couple of images myself at graveside- and do not enjoy even looking at them as they make me sad.
At least my thoughts are our society is not ready for this yet.
gary
 
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I do not see a respectable way to do this. We certainly do not want pictures of every table, etc.

Respect is in the eye of the beholder. I was asked to make sure that I photographed everyone that attended and, if possible, to photograph everyone both individually and as groups at the tables. Everybody was very happy to have their photo taken.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 14, 2005
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Winter Haven, florida
I could see photographing a luncheon afterward.
Done properly I feel such luncheons can be a celebration of life rather than a mournful dirge. Careful photography there would be great.
Graveside I would think it was a little creepy.
During the religious portion of the funeral I would feel photography was out of place. People mourn in their own ways, and may not want that preserved forever.

At the same time, note I used the words "I feel" in each of the above scenarios. This will be a personal decision- but not a service I would use.
gary
 

Butlerkid

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What is your business model? Would you contact funeral homes hoping to offer your services through them to their customers? Or would you "free lance"? In that case, how would you advertise? Or would you just contact families based on death notices? Or?
 
Joined
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During the religious portion of the funeral I would feel photography was out of place.

I used a 70-200 lens on a crop factor camera, which allowed me to remain at a respectful distance.

People mourn in their own ways, and may not want that preserved forever.

True. On the other hand, some want that memory preserved forever.
 
I remember years ago when my father-in-law died that my mother-in-law wanted photos of all of us gathered at the house together after the funeral..... At the time it seemed morbid to me but I guess she wanted the comfort of being able to later look at those photos, especially since we didn't often all get together as a family anyway.

When my husband died, it absolutely never occurred to me to think about photography, and no one mentioned or suggested it to me. Had they done so I would've said "no."
 

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