I cannot count the number of times that an officiant has said “no flash during the ceremony” during my career as a wedding photographer.  “It interferes with the solmenity of the ceremony” they say.  Well, some say.  Some simply ask us to be as descrete as possible out of respect.  Those who do not impose restrictions, however, are not the subject of today’s article.  I want to shed some light, pun ever-so-slightly intended, on the topic of flash restrictions during a wedding ceremony and how it can impact the photographer and the clients.

The fact of the matter is, whether you’re an officiant, a photographer or any other vendors, we are all there for the bride and groom.  We are their team of vendors, and as such, we should have a strong respect for each other and not interfere with any part of any other vendor’s job.

I feel it necessary to say this before continuing – talented, respectable and professional photographers do not use flash simply to “get attention” or to try to “take away attention” from what is going on.  We use it because it serves a purpose.  It helps to illuminate a dark location, it help our cameras focus and get a tack-sharp image, it helps us avoid silhouette-like images when photographing against a bright background and it helps us keep our ISO as low as possible which allows us to provide the client with an image that is as smooth as possible.  It is a technique that we use as a part of our job.

Many photographers try their best not to use flash unless it’s absolutely necessary as natural light imagery is very popular and authentic.  When a photographer uses flash, it’s usually because they have to compensate for a lack of light in order to maintain a high quality product for the client.

For the client…

… that’s the key.

no flash during ceremony 1 - No Flash During the Ceremony: Let's Lighten Up a Bit
An example of being restricted from using flash during a backlit ceremony; the bright outdoor light causes a silhouette.

We aren’t doing it because we want to be obtrusive or because we want to be noticed – we do it for our mutual client.  We do it to produce the best quality product.

Asking us to refrain from using flash puts the clients product directly as risk because you’re telling us that you do not “allow” us to do a part of our job.

On behalf of any photographer who you feel has overstepped their boundaries with flash in the past, I apologize.  I ask; however, that you please do not judge me on the actions of others.  While I understand that restricting me from walking on the altar in a church is reasonable, asking me to refrain from using parts of the technology that I need to do my job – especially if we are not in a church – is simple not reasonable or respectful.

As a single photographer in a world of hundreds of thousands, I would like to ask all officiants if we can please call a truce on this “flash vs. no flash” battle?  Can I ask that we simply respect each others jobs and that we do not makes each others jobs more difficult for one another?  Can we please acknowledge that we are both here for the couple and to do the best job possible for the couple?

Can we please just lighten up on this whole “no flash during the ceremony” argument?