Photos at a Funeral: What’s the Etiquette?

Today, when everyone has a camera on their phone, pictures are being snapped constantly. Often, people are so busy trying to capture every moment that they actually miss out on experiencing those moments. At a funeral, it’s important to understand when and how pictures are appropriate.  

Whether you’re grieving a loved one or just supporting someone you know who has suffered a loss, you might want to put the camera down and just be in the moment. A funeral is a place where people connect, share stories, and begin to heal. Focusing on interacting with others rather than documenting the event can make your time more meaningful. If you do decide to snap some shots, it’s good to follow a few rules of thumb.  

  • Refrain from taking photos without permission. Sensitivity is key, so make sure you have the support of the bereaved family before snapping any shots.  
  • Wait until after the service. Before and during the service, photography is not appropriate. A funeral service is a weighty event, even if it’s positive in tone. After the service, however, the mood is often lighter. As people interact, the event becomes less formal and that’s when it’s ok to take pictures.  
  • Don’t use flash. Whatever you’re doing at a funeral, your focus should be on supporting the family. Anything that causes a distraction is disrespectful, and that includes the flash on a camera.  
  • Be inconspicuous. Just as it’s important to avoid causing a distraction with flash photography, it’s good to blend in at a funeral. The emphasis should be on honoring the life of the person who has died. No one in attendance should be prominent in attracting attention. Rather, all who are there should be supporting each other with kindness and care. 
  • No smiling selfies. It’s not against the rules to smile at a funeral. Sharing memories of a well-loved person can often bring up pleasant feelings. However, a smiling selfie shows a lack of decorum.  
  • Never post any photos from the funeral on social media. This is disrespectful and shows a lack of empathy.  

Photos are not necessarily a bad idea because it’s good to have a record of the day. A funeral can be a blur to those who have lost someone dear, and often it’s hard to remember who was there. Then, too, many funerals serve as family reunions, and photos taken together at those events can be very meaningful.  

If you’re planning a funeral, you might want to consider hiring a photographer who specializes in funerals. A professional photographer can provide meaningful images from that important day and having a photographer in attendance makes it easier to tell people not to snap personal photos. A videographer goes beyond what a photographer can capture, and those videos can become treasured keepsakes for the bereaved family, containing not only images of the day, but also supportive messages from people in attendance. 

At Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematorywe offer the services of a videographer. It’s just one of the ways we support grieving families, helping them to create funeral services that honor the lives of their loved ones and help them begin the healing process. For more information on all we have to offer, call us at (253) 948-9895.

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