Laura was a big proponent of having all our rituals and events photographed. It became a given that someone was going to be running around with a camera and sometimes, two or three somebodies. The main one the last several years has been me.
Since most of our rituals are in what is considered public space I technically did not have to ask for permission to take someone’s picture. If someone says they don’t want to be photographed I will try to avoid them but if it is a public space I really don’t have to do so. Public space is a park or a beach and can be building if it isn’t locked or closed to outsiders.
I would not have had the amount of photos to choose from for her memorial if I hadn’t been there to take pictures.
So what makes a good ritual photographer?
Be unobtrusive, dress like everyone else is going to be dressed. Stick to the darker colours so people’s eyes aren’t drawn to you and not what they should be watching. It’s not about you.
Have a black non- reflective camera, having a shiny new camera or a red one is not going to make you fade into the background.
Keep out of people’s line of sight if you can. Use a zoom lens instead of barreling into the middle of whatever is happening.
Don’t use a big tripod, get a monopod that can stand right in front of you or brace it on a chair or a tree if you need to stabilize the camera.
Take 3 times as many photos if you need to, to get the right one. Bracket, Bracket, Bracket! If you don’t know what that means, take one that may be overexposed and one under exposed and one you think is just right. Then you may get the perfect one especially if the lighting is a bit dim and people are moving. There are people who are incapable of standing still even during an invocation. If they are moving a lot, hold your breath to click the shutter so you aren’t contributing to the movement.
Use a real camera and not a cell phone. Cell phones have loud shutters and take longer to aim and shoot than a real camera. If you have a digital camera, TURN OFF THE SHUTTER SOUND EFFECT! You might as well shout you are taking pictures in a part of ritual that is supposed to be quiet.
Take the moment before the person becomes aware of you or a few moments later. You’ll get a better shot. Be patient! The hardest thing sometimes is waiting for the moment you want.
Remember, you are part of the magic. You are performing the act of being a Bard in recording the moment. Take it seriously as I said before, it’s not about you. Be vewy, vewy qwiet.
Moments to watch for:
The act of anointment in an ordination and the moment after.
Calling the Goddess
When the circle is cast
Candle light, sunlight, moon light, reflections