Does anyone know if this is generally allowed in Catholic Churches? I know there are some faiths that do not like it. I wouldn't want to photograph a church when mass or services are going on, but if I find the door open, can I walk in and take a photo of the inside? I am finding a lack of inspiration in these winter dreary months.. so my new fascination is to photograph the inside of churches.... Not sure which religions tolerate it. Any help would be most appreciated
i would ask the priest in charge what's ok. i'm guessing its ok, as long as it doesn't disturb others. not sure what protection they have up either, like would they frisk you. i never wanted to just wander in unless i knew it was ok. or i had to use a bathroom, then sneak a shot in.
Thank you, Mike... Even if photography is allowed inside, I wonder if one is allowed to sell that photo as "art".... I wonder if I would be safer photographing the church "OUTSIDE".. and selling that.. Ugh.. I never know exactly what is legal to do.
Usually if they don't allow it, there's a clear sign. Sometimes it will say not at all. Other times it will ask you that you not take pictures of the services. It's been my experience to be the exception rather than the rule.
Usually it's a place where they'd rather you buy their photos (read very heavily traveled churches) rather than the entire church be covered in camera flashes. One exception was a small Catholic church in Mexico. We were told the locals who were mostly Indigenous didn't like photos taken of them or their church. The explanation was that it wasn't really a religious reason but that they felt exploited by it.
Anyway, even there, there were clear signs that they didn't want photos inside their church.
PS Oh and some will allow photos but ask you not to use flash. But my experience is all of this is clearly posted near an entrance. But you can always ask if you're unsure.
PPS Selling is a whole other kettle of fish. I doubt you're gong to get two answers that are the same. I will just say I have some but I'm selective about it and definitely none where it was prohibited to take photos when I was there. And I see ones frequently for sell of places I know there were signs saying not to take them...
Diana, it could be completely different in other countries, but I was just in Cuba and photographed an amazing church inside while the priest stood talking to some people. There were actually about 20 people there doing the same thing. No problems at all. I guess your best bet is to ask first though. If it isn't allowed, there would likely be a sign.
Diana, I have a number of pictures of church interiors. In most cases, my photography group has contacted someone ahead of time and arranged for the shoot. When that hasn't been the case, I pay attention to signs. This has been mostly in the US, but some in other countries, as well. I never impose on someone's private spiritual moment.
It's totally okay....as long as, like you say, you don't walk around taking pictures during Holy Mass or other services....but I recommend being as quiet and reverent as possible as there are often a few people praying by themselves during the hours that the Church is unlocked.
As far as selling the pics you should be fine too, as long as the Church (and it's artwork/statues) is over about 75 years old. Most of the really old stained glass windows are so gorgeous. I have a lot on my gallery from a Church that is over 150 years old.
Mark, most of the time that "no flash" is used is only during the Mass or at Sacraments like 1st Holy Communions....it is distracting to the seriousness of these Sacraments if flashes are going off all over. Lately I've seen that they allow flash pictures after/before the main services.
Rose - see Abbie’s response - that was always the stated reason for no flash photography anywhere I’ve seen a sign prohibiting it. Never hung around for services. Whether the damage threat is true or not, see Peggy’s link.
I’ve been in churches and museums where they were literally screaming “No flash!” as if the art would disintegrate at any moment.
Thanks all....about the flash, I have never seen a sign to say "don't use flash" in any of the old (or young) Churches I've been in.... I totally agree about in museum as the flash can ruin/damage the artwork...most of the art I've photographed in Churches is too far away to do damage, but some of it has been low enough to do so....perhaps just standing as far away as possible and using a zoom lens would be okay?
I thought they didn't allow flash inside a museum because it disturbs other patrons. I'm sure that's at least part of it.
I was seen photographing a church window from the outside when a "priest" or minister came along to inquire what I was doing. I explained and he ended up inviting me to come inside to photograph. I was on my lunch hour, otherwise I might have taken him up on the offer.
Some towns that have festivals or make money from tourists also often invite people in their churches (especially if they're historic in some way) and are allowed to photograph when they're aren't services going on. This was an occasion for me during a festival in St. Michaels, MD. There was even someone there to answer questions.
Each year I've been to the Easton Waterfowl Festival on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, they have a church which is open to all for pondering. There's another which is used to house and show several venues (photographs, wood carvings, sculptures, etc.) during the festival hours.
This is one of the captures I took of the St Michaels Christ Church's Organ pipes, after I added Lon Chaney to try and create a memorable work.
I have been shooting inside European churches for decades with no issues whatsoever.
There are some common sense rules: do not go in while in service, do not use flash at any time because it is damaging, bothersome and more often than not ineffective. Do not get forever in conspicuous places. Dress accordingly.
I normally use a tripod, which I extend in silence. I tend to move and act slowly and in complete silence. I have taken pictures of small unknown and big famous churches, from Spain to the Vatican.
Great touristic places usually do not allow tripods, but it's a matter of practicality, not respect.
I have also taken pictures inside mosques in Istanbul keeping to the same rules. Cero issues.
I have also been shooting inside many churches with no problem. But one time in Stockholm, Sweden. I was asked to not to by a priest. She said that the sound of my Nikon D750 was to loud. It was ok to continue with my mobil though...
I have shot the interior of The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah. No problem at all and I am not sure if I asked but they were well aware. I want to shoot it again with all the knowledge and gear I ave gained since.
To give another way to look at the question - think weddings. It is common for weddings to have a photographer inside the church - and they are most definitely selling their services to make a profit. They are also highly likely to have visited and photographed the church before the ceremony to work out lighting, positioning etc.
While on first thought a lot of people will say "that's different" if you think about it no it is not really that different. It may be arranged by the couple getting wed BUT permission has been given for it to happen so if a church will give permission for that why not for art shots?
Again so long as respect is shown and any requests honoured (whether it be no flash or to ensure no people are included in shots or whatever) I cannot see there being a problem.