DPChallenge: A Digital Photography Contest You are not logged in. (log in or register
 

DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> new type of photo business
Pages:  
Showing posts 1 - 25 of 34, (reverse)
AuthorThread
06/13/2005 08:58:32 AM · #1
I recently attended a funeral and was asked the strangest question. I was asked if I had my camera with me. I didn't but it was close enough to my house to go gt it so I did. Upon my return I was asked to photograph the funeral (casket etc.) so they could send photos to whoever couldn't make it and so they could have something to remember that person by and show her grandchildren. So... I got to thinking. The have photographers for weddings and portraits and other evernts so why not get into photographing the dead??? What would I charge for something like this???

I mean no disrespect and I I sorry if I have offended anybody but the funeral business is a billion dollar industry and all I want is a piece of the pie.
06/13/2005 09:02:03 AM · #2
Can you be more specific about the things they asked you to photograph?

I never felt very confrtable about funerals, and I don't think I would feel different if I was photographing it. I don't know if there's a market there if I would go that way...

But is nice to get some news in first hand.
06/13/2005 09:02:39 AM · #3
My family always takes pictures of the funerals and I hate it! THey are just snapping away while people are crying and it is just tacky. My Grandmother even had a special "funeral" photo album of all of her loved ones! I had much rather remember my loved ones ALIVE not what they looked like DEAD. My opinion.
06/13/2005 09:07:56 AM · #4
Ok, I can chime in on this one...
When I was 20, my first husband was killed in a car accident. We got married when I was 19, and we had forgotten to have our wedding video taped. When he died, I didnt ask anyone to video tape it, but someone did. Afterwards, I have totally cherished that tape. It shows all the wonderfull things that people said about my husband, the people who sang, the gorgeous flowers that our loved ones bought for him, and all the people that showed up to pay their respects. I know to some people this may sound quite morbid, but even funerals are cherished by people, when the one they lost is so dear to their heart.
Just my opinion, but I think there is a career in funeral photography!
06/13/2005 09:08:06 AM · #5
Originally posted by Nuno:

Can you be more specific about the things they asked you to photograph?

I never felt very confrtable about funerals, and I don't think I would feel different if I was photographing it. I don't know if there's a market there if I would go that way...

But is nice to get some news in first hand.


I was thinking more or less NOT photographing while the funeral is going on but more or less after is has taken place (ie; before they take the body for burial) or before it is open for viewing to the public. They asked me to shoot the room, casket(altho this was a cremation) and the family photos they had all arranged around the room ie they layout. But it would/could also include the wake and burial if needed.

edit: my typing sucks. Bad spellers unite.

Message edited by author 2005-06-13 09:08:39.
06/13/2005 09:42:23 AM · #6
This would most certainly fall into the realm of "either you like it or you don't". On one hand it can be very meaningful to someone who has lost a dearly loved person as in smoon's situation. This event is not always a bad time, some people rejoice in the fact that the person is maybe out of pain, or has finally moved on to live with his creator. Although I would be broken hearted and morn them deeply I look forward to knowing that if my wife or daughter pass away they are going to a much more beautiful place with God.

Then you have the people that find it morbid and disrespectful and I'm sure in some religions it would be considered terrible to photograph a funeral or dead person.

I think you may have something here, afterall, its not like your showing up to just any funeral and taking photos then trying to sell them to the family, your service would be asked for up front. I would mention it to maybe the funeral director but keep it from being so much of "you want a piece of the pie" (they may find that very disrespectful no matter how true it is). Maybe they have had people wanting this but didn't know who to ask for, and now they will.

Good luck.
06/13/2005 09:45:12 AM · #7
Originally posted by notonline:

I recently attended a funeral and was asked the strangest question. I was asked if I had my camera with me. I didn't but it was close enough to my house to go gt it so I did. Upon my return I was asked to photograph the funeral (casket etc.) so they could send photos to whoever couldn't make it and so they could have something to remember that person by and show her grandchildren. So... I got to thinking. The have photographers for weddings and portraits and other evernts so why not get into photographing the dead??? What would I charge for something like this???

I mean no disrespect and I I sorry if I have offended anybody but the funeral business is a billion dollar industry and all I want is a piece of the pie.


Postmortem photography is not a new thing...strange but true. It was quite "popular" during the Victorian era. Victorian postmortem pictures are actually quite collectible...my husband has several...very haunting to say the least...many were of children and these were often the only image a family would have of the child...or relative, whatever the case may be.
06/13/2005 09:46:23 AM · #8
Originally posted by sabphoto:

This would most certainly fall into the realm of "either you like it or you don't". On one hand it can be very meaningful to someone who has lost a dearly loved person as in smoon's situation. This event is not always a bad time, some people rejoice in the fact that the person is maybe out of pain, or has finally moved on to live with his creator. Although I would be broken hearted and morn them deeply I look forward to knowing that if my wife or daughter pass away they are going to a much more beautiful place with God.

Then you have the people that find it morbid and disrespectful and I'm sure in some religions it would be considered terrible to photograph a funeral or dead person.

I think you may have something here, afterall, its not like your showing up to just any funeral and taking photos then trying to sell them to the family, your service would be asked for up front. I would mention it to maybe the funeral director but keep it from being so much of "you want a piece of the pie" (they may find that very disrespectful no matter how true it is). Maybe they have had people wanting this but didn't know who to ask for, and now they will.

Good luck.


Of course it would be done more respectfull then "piece of the pie" and it would have to go thru the funeral director as it would be a service THEY can offer(for a small commission of course). I meant no disrespect but you gotta remember the first 3 letters of funeral are "fun".
06/13/2005 09:56:02 AM · #9
I've done this before at the request of a good friend (and not on the day, but well in advance). It's unlikely to take off as a new business, but I suppose it could work if you have the right attitude and develop professional relationships with funeral homes; other traditional marketing techniques mostly don't apply. My guess is that the level of intimacy and the delicacy of the subject makes it hard for someone to go out and ask to have the work done professionally (or maybe they just silently wish there was a way to hire someone like that); perhaps that's why it's a friend who gets asked.
06/13/2005 10:52:58 AM · #10
*shudders on the thoughts of doing post processing work*
06/13/2005 11:39:10 AM · #11
Originally posted by notonline:

you gotta remember the first 3 letters of funeral are "fun".

LOL! Another one for my siggy. :P

Personally I think it's fine if arranged or asked for by the closest family members in advance. As mentioned, you could arrange a deal with the funeral director - he should be asking the family when they make the arrangments if they want a photographer or videographer and should explain to them the benefits (some mentioned in this thread) and if they choose to have one, the family member making the arrangements should make sure the attendees know that the photographer is there at the request of the family.

Good luck!
06/13/2005 12:13:49 PM · #12
I think that widows and widowers so tend to keep mementoes of the funeral (cards, messages etc) and a few photos are not out of place. However, I think that most people are not in the mood to be photographed.

I took some photos for my uncle at my aunt's funeral, recently. I took photos only of the flowers and the cards: pictures of positive symbols of support. I have other family members who have suffered the loss of their spouse and had no recollection of much that went on at the funeral, and in particular the flowers that are provided by way of support. There is some comfort for the deceased in seeing photos of things like the flowers, which are temporary and they may otherwise not remember.

I would hesitate to take photos of much more than that. The whole matter would have to be dealt with very sensitively: I think that it would probably be best organised through a funeral directors. Options on what should and should not be photographed would have to be confirmed by the widow or widower in advance, and care taken not to make other attendees think that you are photographing them unless asked to do so. If taking photographs of mourners, I can see no reason to take anything other than a candid group shots: no-one will want a portrait out of it.
06/13/2005 12:39:48 PM · #13
It's a viable niche business, and not a new one for that matter. There actually ARE people who pursue this business and make money at it. How many, I don't know; but they exist. Working with the funeral director would be the logical way to do it.

Kind of hard to imagine advertising your services in the church bulletin...

Robt.
06/13/2005 12:49:03 PM · #14
This is a really interesting and enlightening thread. I had never thought about photographs of funerals, memorial services, etc., but you have a point about the desire of many (not all) people to have such mementos. As I live in a pretty rural area (backwoods some might say!), I know the funeral director very well and will probably ask him about it too. I've worked in surgical pathology & autopsy (when I was pre-med), so I'm not weirded out by bodies or body parts. Of course, I think that when done tastefully, shots of this ilk could really add a lot to people's loved one's memories...
06/14/2005 07:16:08 AM · #15
But thats the best part is that I wouldn't be shooting the actual service but before it is open to the family/public and work only in coordination with the funeral director. He would have to be the "sales rep." so to speak and would naturally take a commissionfrom it. Kinda like greasing the palm of the godfather so to speak. You could shoot the service but all that would be as an option. I have a price list I am working out and will post it when I'm done. I do appreciate all the feedback tho and thanks for all your help.

edit: man does my spelling suck.

Message edited by author 2005-06-14 07:16:29.
06/14/2005 07:47:49 AM · #16
Never taken photos of the casket etc, but I did take photos at a couple of funerals a few years back...

In one case the extended family couldn't make it to the funeral, so they wanted pics of the flowers, and people speaking at the service.. This was very awkward, as many people attending didn't know I was 'supposed' to be there... I got some very dirty looks, and my camera wasn't all that quiet (OM4) so it attracted a bit of attention.

The other one was the opposite situation, where a large extended family had gathered for a funeral, and they wanted photos of the family all together.. Much better situation be in, as they had asked people to 'dress happy' for the photos. Made the funeral seem a lot 'lighter' as well..

Cheers, Me.
06/14/2005 08:04:19 AM · #17
My friend Bill and his family greatly appreciated the images that we got at the memorial service for his wife Sheila. During the service, they were too distracted to really see and remember everything that was so special about the remembrance. Later he said that the album was a wonderful gift.

Davies Memorial Service

Message edited by author 2005-06-14 08:04:33.
06/14/2005 08:13:23 AM · #18
FWIW - don't forget that you can make 'real fun' from 'funeral' ;)
06/14/2005 08:13:44 AM · #19
More then a few people/families, find it extremely tacky to photograph the deceased. Personally, I agree that it is extremely tacky and would rather remember the deceased in their most recent "live" photo wherein you see life in the deceased's eyes/face.

Honestly, I wouldn't advertise this aspect of your business. However, there is nothing wrong with advertising that you will photograph most any occasion, inquiries welcome.

That way, you open your business up to the possibility of having tacky (my opinion) people ask you to photograph the deceased at the next funeral without freaking out grieving families that one would be so 'callous' as to offer such services.

This is a tricky venture you are thinking about.

Message edited by author 2005-06-14 08:15:32.
06/14/2005 09:53:31 AM · #20
Funeral photography, or at least portraiture was popular 100 years ago. Not sure why it died out (sorry for pun, but i had to)

This thread on fredmiranda.com has pics a phtog took at a funeral - WOW, it can be done well and with taste.

the idea crossed my mind to approach funeral homes with the offer to record their work, for them or the family. Kinda creepy though maybe.
06/14/2005 03:16:41 PM · #21
When the family goes in to plan the funeral with the director, they could tell him what options of photography they want. Ex: Before everyone gets there, the speakers, carrying the casket, or some other options. Where do you live? I want to try this too. You could also try to go to alot of funeral houses so you would always have business.
06/14/2005 03:36:10 PM · #22
Originally posted by Tom2898:

When the family goes in to plan the funeral with the director, they could tell him what options of photography they want. Ex: Before everyone gets there, the speakers, carrying the casket, or some other options. Where do you live? I want to try this too. You could also try to go to alot of funeral houses so you would always have business.


There wouldn't be much money in it, its would be a dead end job.. I thankya.
06/14/2005 04:43:04 PM · #23
Let´s remember that portraiture was born from the need to remember the ones that were gone, and it's first manifestation were burial masks. It's only logical that photography in memorial services can be an important and lucrative business.
06/14/2005 06:36:10 PM · #24
There was a discussion just like this on another site in 2000. Look here - //www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=000u2o
Tom
06/15/2005 12:45:51 AM · #25
Originally posted by Tom2898:

When the family goes in to plan the funeral with the director, they could tell him what options of photography they want. Ex: Before everyone gets there, the speakers, carrying the casket, or some other options. Where do you live? I want to try this too. You could also try to go to alot of funeral houses so you would always have business.


I'm in Toronto Canada.
Pages:  
Current Server Time: 10/21/2018 03:46:12 AM

Please log in or register to post to the forums.


Home - Challenges - Community - League - Photos - Cameras - Lenses - Learn - Prints! - Help - Terms of Use - Privacy - Top ^
DPChallenge, and website content and design, Copyright © 2001-2018 Challenging Technologies, LLC.
All digital photo copyrights belong to the photographers and may not be used without permission.
Proudly hosted by Sargasso Networks. Current Server Time: 10/21/2018 03:46:12 AM EDT.