Bernadette’s Baptism at Sacred Heart Caterham
It was a pleasure to photograph Bernadette’s baptism at Sacred Heart, Caterham – even though it was January and the weather was a bit grey cold and drizzly…
Bernadette was very well behaved and stayed calm and relaxed through the ceremony, despite Father Sean Finnegan splashing her with water at the essential moment! Her big sister Veronica on the other hand was a lot more lively, and decided to rush around the church during the service. But of course nobody minded too much…
When I photograph a baptism (or christening – not sure if there’s a difference) my first priority is to be respectful of the church surroundings and the religious character of the event. I always check with the minister before the ceremony starts to find out if they have any concerns or “dos and don’ts” for me to follow. In this instance Father Finnegan was very friendly and accommodating and was happy for me to work as I wished.
My Fujifilm cameras are very quiet in operation (no loud “clunks”) which helps, and my basic rule is not to get between the congregation and the ceremony unless it’s impossible to do so. Fortunately Sacred Heart in Caterham is a good-sized church and I was able to use the nave and the aisles to move around in.
Obviously when it comes to the actual baptism ceremony at the font I have to move in closer, but again I’m always conscious of not blocking anyone’s view.
Churches can be quite dark places, but I avoid using flash during the ceremony as it’s too intrusive. With modern cameras like my Fujis that’s not a problem as they work well even in low light.
Family group photos
After the ceremony was over, we did some family group photos in front of the sanctuary steps. If the weather had been kinder I would probably have done these outside, but hey, it was January in the UK! No point in having everyone get cold and wet! I set up a small studio flash with an umbrella on a tall stand for these pictures, to create some clean even light. The altar and stained glass windows made a nice backdrop (and the Christmas tree which you can just see in some of the photos!).
Once the group photos were done everybody walked across to St Thomas’ Hall for lunch. I took a few photos of the party in the hall and then my coverage was done.
Here’s my selection of photos from Bernadette’s baptism:
Many thanks to Frank and Helen for asking me to photograph Bernadette’s special day. If you are having a baptism/christening ceremony for your child and would like me to photograph it, please do get in touch.