Petition highlights strain between wedding photographers and clergy

Wedding photographers

A petition for better working conditions for wedding photographers in churches has garnered nearly 1000 signatures, shedding light on tensions between photographers and clergy during wedding ceremonies.

The petition refers to a “huge issue across the wedding photography industry”. It alleges clergy are “rude, humiliating, aggressive and abusive”.

Hosted on, the petition calls for a “public conversation . . . to enable change”.

Wedding photographer Rachel Roberts was inspired to start the petition after seeing a video online of a photographer being ‘spoken to really aggressively’ by a vicar. This happened as ‘horrified’ wedding guests looked on.

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

One vicar allegedly told a photographer they’d be kicked out of the church if they snapped pictures at the wrong time. At the same time, guests’ children are often allowed to make noise and run around the venue without restriction. Rachel called it a “double standard”.

Storm in a teacup

Ed Lloyd Owen, a prominent society wedding photographer, downplayed the severity of the situation. He described it as “a storm in a teacup”.

“There is always going to be some friction between two people trying to do their jobs and getting in each other’s way slightly” Lloyd Owen said. “It’s overcome by simply making sure you speak to each other.”

Lloyd Owen emphasised the importance of cooperation between photographers and clergy. He attributed any friction to the nature of their respective roles.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams, echoed Lloyd Owen’s sentiments. “While some vicars can be a complete pain and over-controlling to a degree, clergy too need to be able to do their jobs.”

It was reasonable, he said, for officiating clerics to ask wedding photographers “not to be intrusive during a service when something significant is supposed to be taking place at the spiritual level”.

So far, more than 900 photographers have signed Rachel’s petition, with many sharing their own stories of conflict.

The dispute highlights a growing trend of couples opting for non-church venues for their weddings. This trend contributes to the decline in church weddings.

Recent discussions at the General Synod addressed the importance of marriage ceremonies as opportunities for ministry. Additionally, a reduced fee for weddings in churches was approved, aiming to make these ceremonies more accessible.


Church Times





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