Christening Day Guide
How exciting your little one is having their Christening or Baptism.
You have planned every detail down to the last drop of holy water. You may have spent a good portion of your budget on photography to make sure everything is documented for treasured keepsakes. So to help my clients out here are some tips that will make your day and your photos go as smoothly as possible.
Pre Christening Day Tips
Names of Family
The names of your little one, immediate family including siblings and their ages along with God parents and sometimes grandparents. I know with experience know how much better it is to practice learning people’s names before I show up. I specifically requests all these names from my clients in your client questionnaire. At the same time, if you give me all those names, keep in mind that I have a lot to remember already and there is only one of me and lots of you. So I may have difficulty remembering everyone’s name.
Is there any family drama?
Are any parents separated and having trouble getting along, knowing this can help us avoid exacerbating the problem on the day. (This is especially important information during the family portraits, lets not make it any more awkward than it is.) It could feel a little weird discussing personal issues with your photographer, but it can make things way less unpleasant later. When there is family drama, big or small, I would like to know. A good photographer is out to capture the best of your relationships during the day. Even if there is drama there will still be smiling faces and honest heartfelt exchanges. I’d like to keep it that way. Please let me know if there are any family members especially parents or grandparent missing from the day due to death or health matters. It always helps knowing this before asking where someone’s loved one is.
I would love to have all the names and phone numbers of any co-workers or vendors contributing to your day. In some cases, it can be immensely helpful to know this information. That way, I can interact with them directly and remove you as a middle- woman prior to the day if need be. You can add these to your client questionnaire.
In Home Portraits
More often than not, where you decide to get your baby ready is overlooked in the christening/baptism day planning process. Here are some helpful and easy to-do tips to ensure your photos at home are as flawless as the rest of your little one's special day.
When it comes to photography, lighting is everything! Natural window light allows for the best photos. I will turn off any over head lighting and open blinds/curtains for the best lighting situation in your home.
An ideal spot to get dressed would be spacious with minimal clutter. Bedrooms usually give great light along with decent space for you to sit all together.
Pre-Church Dress Attire
If your little one is changing at the church sometimes it is helpful having the outfit and box with you at home. I usually try and photograph this as soon as I arrive. That way if it is a little rushed at the end the box is done and packed up so nothing is forgotten.
Have them organised. Have them ready.
When you are preparing for the day, make sure you have all your getting ready details as well as any other important things you want photographed together. Have them set out accessible for me to grab for when I arrive. This will allow me to greet you and grab what I need so you do not have to stop the getting ready process and run to schedule. Things might include: Box with candle, brush, necklace, rosary beads etc.
It is one thing you cannot control so don't stress over it. Do everything in your control to have a plan B, even if it isn't what you had hoped and dreamed for at least there will be less stress and panic on the day.
Whatever weather gets thrown at your on their special day own it and embrace it sometimes the most unexpected things make for the most wonderful memories.
Babies will be babies and cry to express themselves and it is totally normal for babies to cry during the service, I have only ever photographed a very small handful of services in which the child doesn't cry so don't worry about it.
If your baby takes a dummy they will most likely want it during the service especially if they are upset. I suggest to find a CLEAR/TRANSPARENT dummy so it looks less obvious in the images. From memory when I had my little one it wasn't easy finding them so start searching early. If you put (clear transparent pacifier) in google search you should be able to find a few online. The great thing about still photography is that it has no noise or sound so years down the line you will forget about how loud the crying was. Maybe get your baby to use it a few times before the church so its not an uncommon feeling in their mouth.
Family & Group Shot
Pre warn any family members prior the day that they will be requested to stay behind after the service to have some family portraits. I often find most families usually like to take photos with you and your baby post service so best to get these out of the way so they can head off. Although uncommon, if you would like to have all your guests in one large group photo I kindly request that you speak with the priest who might advise guests about the group shot is requested by your post ceremony. This will help make the whole process much quicker and easier and let you get to your family portraits much faster. It also will depend on the space or size of the church to make accommodation for this.
Just Immediate Members
Often I find babies do become overwhelmed or unsettled after the service with some many people fussing over them. Make sure that your baby isnt hungry during this time. Sometimes a quick cracker or fruit might help them push through until we can get all the family & individual portraits done.
Is there anyone who needs special considerations?
This includes things like hearing, vision, and mobility impairments or less obvious things, like strong aversions to flash lighting, a tendency to overheat or if someone sweats a lot more than average. Having this kind of information in advance lets me make more calculated decisions at more convenient times. I can build in some time to scope out a location either in advance or on the day of the wedding. I can make a more considered effort with this time if I know that someone in the family or wedding party needs a wheelchair or access. If it’s going to be a hot day, I can avoid the open field, so the best man isn’t soaked in sweat at the reception. If one of the bridesmaids has severe allergies, we could skip the garden.
As I am usually leaving the church much later than your guests and they tend to arrive at the reception venue before me. So often I cannot get a photo of the venue or room untouched. If available to you check with your venue to see if they can close off the room until I arrive and capture this and then allow guests to filter in and find their seat.
Natural light is key and although some venues are better than others I try my best to shoot with little to no flash.
If you are having a styled backdrop think about where might be the most suitable location. If you are placing your backdrop against a window understand that the background will usually not be visible in a photograph. Do to the nature of how a camera sees light it will usually use the correct exposure for the backdrop not the background thus it becoming overexposed and no longer visible.
I love shooting the DIY items. Because you put so much energy into these things, the photos become special reminders not just of the day, but of all those moments leading up to this special day. I would like to try and capture a sense of everything and document them in brilliant detail.
Surprises at weddings are fun, but photographers hate being surprised. During your wedding, I will have to employ multiple disciplines and groupings of equipment which are specialised to the task. Certain shots might need to be lit with an off-camera light, or off camera lights might need to be disabled for others. All of these things require attention and time to transition between, and, of course, the best of us can do it quickly. But still, if I’m setting ourselves up for a romantic dance that suddenly and unexpectedly turns into a dance that I really wish I had a different set of gear for, it’s going to be a challenge to capture those images in the best way. Leaving your me out of any planned surprises and you risk losing those images too.
Remember that I am a natural light photographer and use very little flash photography, nor do I bark directions or try and interfere with your day too much. I usually let most moments happen organically and approach them photographically in a journalistic way.
Remember to trust me your photographer, that's why you hired a professional!