Bryony enters the BBC reported ‘Wedding Photography Debate!’

(A slightly shortened copy of the recent BBC News Post- for the full post see

“Rude” and “abusive” behaviour by vicars towards wedding photographers needs to end, photographers say.

A petition, signed more than 900 times, has described vicars’ “humiliating” behaviour as a “huge issue” in the wedding photography industry.

Photographer Rachel Roberts said she started it to “reset the relationship”.

Vicars have told the BBC photographers should respect wedding ceremonies, but said they were sorry to hear of their bad experiences.

Ms Roberts said she wanted to start a “public conversation” about the relationship between photographers and clergy at church weddings.

“Some of the stories that have come out are quite shocking,” she told BBC Breakfast. “A lot of photographers and videographers say they now flat out refuse to go anywhere near church weddings.”

She was driven to start the petition after seeing a video on social media of a wedding photographer being “spoken to really aggressively” by a vicar in front of a church full of “horrified” wedding guests.

Ms Roberts said she had clergy members ask her to hide behind pillars or to stay at the back of the church and only take one photo.

One vicar threatened to pause the ceremony and kick her out if she took photos at the wrong time, she said.

Ms Roberts told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that at one wedding she was told to stay in one place and not make any noise, only for the vicar to welcome children to freely roam the church and play in the aisles.

The children caused an “absolute cacophony of noise” and “no one could actually hear the vows,” she said, adding this felt like a double standard.

“People can be quite dismissive of photographers for wanting the ‘shallow’ part of the day,” she said. “A lot of clergy members often say to us, ‘This is not Hollywood, it’s not a photoshoot’.”

Rev Bryony Wood said she has always had good experiences with wedding photographers, and she was sorry to hear about the negative encounters raised by Ms Roberts’s petition.

“I guess we do our best but some vicars can feel the pressure too,” Rev Wood told the Today programme.

Since a wedding is a legal process, “if we get it wrong, the couple might not even be married,” she said.

Rev Wood said: “I just think if you’re in a really quiet moment when the couples are sharing their vows, and there’s a click or a photographer’s moving around, then people will automatically look at what’s going on in the background rather than actually focusing on that incredible moment.”

But it is not just the priests who can cause problems with one reverend telling BBC Breakfast he had been pushed aside by a photographer, had one stand between him and the couple during the vows, and even had one stand between the bride and groom.

Dr Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, admitted some vicars could be a “complete pain” and “over controlling” with photographers, in an interview with the Sunday Times.

But he said it was “not unreasonable” to ask photographers to be respectful….

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