COVID-19 taught us a lot. I sadly lost a friend or family member every month for over two years and I quickly came to realise that besides paperwork, and a headstone, not much documentation of the funeral actually takes place.
As a documentary photographer, I started to document these real-life moments for those who, during COVID could not attend. All of this was simply on my phone. there was no planning involved, it just felt like the right thing to do.
Hiring a Funeral Photographer
People have different reasons why they wish to hire a funeral photographer to capture the day. Sometimes family members cannot attend for varying reasons, such as ill-health or living overseas (my sister had to video stream into my grandad’s funeral). Or simply because they want a record of the day, part of the celebration of the life lived.
Funeral photography is about documenting moments of kindness, compassion and raw emotion. Photographing a funeral as friends and family pay tribute demands experience, respect and professionalism. I am discreet and sensitive throughout. I will not disturb proceedings; I simply capture the day as it naturally unfolds with the minimum fuss or flare.
We photograph all moments of life but not the sad ones. Life, however, I believe, is like a song; each note is to be enjoyed and celebrated at the end for its magnificence.
In 2020 my grandad was very ill, and eventually, he did pass away. While in hospital, I took photos of him and my nan on my phone. Little did I think at the time, the impact a small photograph of them holding hands would have. Not only for me but for my nan, who says it’s the most perfect photograph she’s ever seen.
The pandemic is a weird time for us all. Sadly, having known many people passing away during its time, I found it poignant that we didn’t document the moment for ourselves and future generations. After all, life is only made beautiful because it does indeed come to an end. Life is not about only recording its best moments. Life is full of experiences and emotions; if we focus only on the happy ones, we miss the key part of being human.
There’s nothing to be worried about at a funeral. It’s natural to cry and to let it all out. Showing your raw emotions at a funeral is to express your love for someone. Expressing all of your feelings is an essential part of the healing process with grief. Funeral photography can play an important part in this process.
Here are some reasons why funeral
photography can help you heal:
Funeral photography is a visual record of who attended.
Funerals are similar to weddings in that it is not always possible to spend time with everyone in attendance because you are caught up in the moment. Unlike weddings, however, you do not always know who will attend a funeral because friends and colleagues from down the years might decide to call in and pay their respects. You won’t know all these people, but having a photographic record of them paying respect to your loved one will be comforting.
The emotion will be remembered.
A funeral is an emotional roller coaster of remembrance of a life, which is thankful for happy memories, tinged with sadness that no more will be shared. There is beauty in all forms of emotion. Having those emotions recorded visually is to remember and commemorate the love so many people held.
How you chose to honour your loved one will be remembered.
A lot of thought and planning goes into a funeral. Everything from the service to the speakers, hymns, flowers, location and more has to stand as a fitting tribute to the person passed. A funeral reflects the personality of the loved one lost, but time will fade some of those memories. A photographic record can help to keep the essence of the personality alive.
The wake can be recalled as a celebration of life.
It has become a tradition for family and friends to gather together after a funeral, to share stories, remember happier times with fondness, and to offer a shoulder to cry on. There is often a visual display to remind people of the life lived, such as old photographs. Hence, it is only natural to mark the final chapter of that life, when people got together to honour your loved one with laughter and tears.
A photographic record can ease the grieving process.
Grief hits people in different ways, and it may be some time before a person can come to terms with what has happened. Remembering your loved one through photographs brings the memories back to life. The funeral photographs of this day will help remind and reassure people of the love felt for the particular person.
Last Words About Funeral Photography
Hiring a professional funeral photographer to take photographs at a funeral is not necessary. However, you can if you feel that it is appropriate to.
If there is someone who will not be too emotional on the day, who has the experience and can competently take photos in a funeral situation and to be discreet, then ask them. But please also respect their answer if it is a ‘no’ as they do not feel confident enough.
Please do not leave the funeral photography up to an immediate family member or close friend as they need to be fully absorbed in the moment, to grieve, and not hidden behind the lens of a camera.
If you would like to talk about funeral photography, then please do contact me below.