Beautiful Greek Orthodox Baptism

Oakland Greek Toddler Baptism
When capturing photos of a religious ceremony, it’s important to me as a photographer that I capture the meaningful moments in a respectful way. Attending my first Greek Orthodox Baptism was a beautiful experience and I am excited to share about it with you.

The baptism, which officially begins your life as a practicing Christian, took place at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral Church in Oakland. The ceremony was beautiful and consisted of two parts. First, the baptism, and then Chrismation. During the baptism, the little one is submerged in water and cleansed of sins. Following the immersion, the priest places the child in the arms of the Godparents in a new white sheet symbolizing the soul’s purity. It was through the Godmother’s sister that I met this family and was asked to photograph this important day.

Following the baptism, the little one is Chrismated (anointed) with oil to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Three locks are cut from the child's hair in the form of a cross. The child is then dressed and the baptismal candles are lit. Finally, the Godparents, priest, and a few chosen children walk with the baptized child around the baptismal font three times.

Since I had never photographed a Greek Baptism, I wanted to be prepared. I spoke with the priest prior to the service to learn appropriate places to stand and to ask if I was allowed off-camera flash. I highly recommend photographers ask about this because some locations will not allow flash to be used and you want to prepare for this. Poorly lit environments can create blurry, grainy images. To deal with this, in low light, you need to increase your ISO to high levels. This can mess with colors, reduce your dynamic range, and cause noise in an image. By bringing in an off-camera flash, I create a primary source of light that is brighter than the dimly lit church.

With the advice from the priest about where most of the "action" would be, I positioned my off-camera flash at a 45-degree angle from where my subjects would be standing. By doing this, I was able to freeze action, keep the "noise" down in the images, and maintain the vibrant in the colors. Had I not planned and communicated with the priest, we would not have captured the moments as well, and I would risk being in the way of the ceremony.
 Following the formal baptism, they had a stunning reception. The theme was Snow White, and guests enjoyed beautiful place settings and delicious food while the children were entertained with guest appearances by Snow White and Prince Charming.

Greek Orthodox Baptism Cake in pink and white

MikponEyxovotion Greek Orthodox Oakland
Greek Orthodox Baptism Oakland Service

Photograph showing the oil into the Godparents hand at a Baptism in Greek Orthodox Church in Oakland CA

Christening showing the oil and Baptism in Greek Orthodox Church Oakland CA

Greek Orthodox Baptism Oakland CA Family Photos


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