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How to photograph the baptism of a child

I am not a clergyman, and therefore I cannot know all the subtleties of this or that sacrament, rite or ceremony, I don’t even really know how to name some of them, but then I know how to take them off. Therefore, let the believers forgive me for incorrect expressions about what and how the priest does, or what happens during the baptism ceremony.

The introductory word that in the traditions of the Orthodox Church the rite of baptism is a very important church sacrament, which takes place only once in a person’s life, we’ll omit it, because everyone knows about it, let’s go straight to the point.Usually filming a baptism begins 15–20 minutes before the start of the ceremony itself in the temple. These 15-20 minutes, I recommend to take a baby in a stroller, in the hands of parents, to make common photos with guests. It may happen that at the baptismal ceremony the child will burst into tears so much that afterwards he will not be able to stop for a long time, and alas, you will not correct his make-up, as a result, you will not receive normal pictures after baptism. In any case, you need to get the camera from the coffer on the street, before entering the temple.

If the shooting takes place in the winter, I recommend starting shooting directly from the temple, for one simple reason – in order not to freeze the equipment, which in the warm atmosphere of the temple will immediately begin to mist up and she will have to give for 15-20 minutes to warm up. In this case, general pictures with the temple need to be done after the ceremony, since when putting the equipment on a cold street from a warm room, it will not sweat and allow you to shoot further, after which you put the camera in a case and go home or leave by car to continue shooting (if it is planned, for example, at a banquet in honor of baptism). In any case, the camera will have time to stand, and you will not have to shoot at this time.

In different churches, the ceremony itself may be held in different ways, but the difference itself is not very important. I will explain here how everything goes in an ordinary Orthodox church or temple. And it all goes according to the following plan:

1. The priest explains to the participants of the celebration how everything will pass. A good father and a photographer will tell you where to go, where you can not, where it is better to stand, where it is better to shoot – but this is rare. Usually no one explains anything to anyone, it comes to the point that during the shooting I have to help people at the ceremony understand what is happening and what needs to be done. For photographers who are baptizing for the first time, I recommend asking the priest where and how you can move around the temple and warn you that you are “A cool photographer with a mirror that publishes heart-rending clanging shutters”. Believe me, all the clergy have long been accustomed to video and photography in their churches, and it’s not difficult for them to consult you in two or three words. Particularly interested people can ask for a blessing for shooting, I asked for it a couple of times, but I didn’t hear anything other than “Yes, shoot it,” and now I just greet the priest and say that I will not interfere with anyone.

2. The child is given to the godfather, the godparents are placed “at attention” at a certain place, and the priest begins the ceremony. At this moment I shoot 1-2 frames per minute, just letting everyone get used to the sound of the camera shutter.
3. The father reads prayers over a cross, a kryzhma (such a special robe for a child that needs to be bought for baptism), a font, etc. At this point, he can light candles over the font. Usually 3 candles are placed over the font. I love to shoot the moment of burning candles over it. This is a good frame for “dilution” in a photo book or album. Also, the priest still sets fire to 2 candles for godparents, which they hold during the entire baptism ceremony.

In fact, only one of the godparents holds both candles while the second is trying to “cope” with the child.

4. Batyushka gives godparents to read a piece of paper, ak. “Symbol of Faith”, usually the godmother holds a piece of paper on which they, along with the godfather, read the right words. You can make 1-2 common frames, it will look like a kind of “oath”. At such moments, I take off more of the child while he is quietly sitting in the arms of the godfather. By the way, godparents can be not one pair, but two, and even three! In such cases, they all stand in the service before the father, usually the father forgets to transfer the child from one parent to another, as a result one couple gets more photos with the child than the second.

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