A Greek Orthodox Baptism

Baby getting hair cut during baptism by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams

Or, No Camera Flash in Church

It has always been my philosophy to not to use my camera’s flash in a church. No matter how dark the venue and how necessary the additional light may be, a flash popping off is disruptive when guests are trying to focus on the ceremony at hand. The gravitas of the words being said in a church deserve my respect. So with that challenge in mind, let’s see how this NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer handles a beautiful, though poorly lit ceremony.

Baby wrapped in towel by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams

Little Nicholas was baptized on Saturday in the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. This Greek Orthodox church is one of the most beautiful places of worship in all of New York. Like most churches, the nave is quite dark. But with the ceilings being so high, even if I did use my flash there would be nothing of which to bounce it off, thus rendering my flash virtually useless. Luckily, the main altar area is well lit, with supplemental lighting coming from stained glass windows along the side of the church.

Interior of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams
Interior of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

For any photography nerds out there (like myself), my settings were as follows: ISO of 3200, aperture at f/3.2, and shutter speed of 1/100. The photos of guests in the pews were the darkest (and thus, the noisiest in terms of pixel grain), but they still turned out great. The only time I did use flash was for the family photos after the service, with my flash pointed straight up to my bounce card. A tip for all photographers out there: if you do have any photos which have too much pixel noise, remember that everything looks better in black and white where noise turns into ‘film grain’ for an artistic edge.

This was the most elaborate church service I have ever photographed, including an Armenian orthodox wedding I shot several years ago. The baptism involved dunking the baby three times fully under water, anointing him with olive oil, cutting his hair in the shape of a cross, and wafting incense all around. On account of all the incense alone, Nicholas smelled great by the way. And while Nicholas loudly voiced his objection to being dunked (as would we all), he was the best baby during the service. If you would like to learn more about the ceremony details, please check out this helpful link.

Following the service, the family had dinner at Arabelle Restaurant in the Plaza Athénée hotel. The room was beautiful, and the perfect size for an intimate event with only 38 guests. Alexandra planned the entire event herself, and selected a carousel theme for the party, complete with a stunning cake from Cake Alchemy. I left before the cake was cut, but the cake proved to be irresistible to one of the younger guests.

Little boy about to touch cake by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams

Enjoy the photos!

Vendors

Church: Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

Reception venue: Arabelle Restaurant at the Plaza Athénée hotel

Cake: Cake Alchemy

Baptism supplies, from towels to ‘witness pins’: Blessed Celebration

Would you like to see images from another Greek baptism?  Check out photos from baby Penelope’s baptism at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Brooklyn here.

If you would like to see more images from NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams, then please visit her website – KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com

Baptismal fount of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

Mother testing temperature of baptism water
Testing the baptismal waters to make sure the temperature is just right

Uncle looking at baby by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams Light shining on baby by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly WilliamsGrandparents during ceremony by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams Priest administering rights in cathedral doorway by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams Baby looking into baptism basin by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams Priest during ceremony by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly WilliamsParents watching baby during ceremony by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams Baby with feet in the air by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams Priest and godparents during ceremony by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams Grandmother holding baby by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly WilliamsLittle girls holding candles beside godmother by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams Close up on burning incense lantern by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams Priest giving spoon to baby by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams Priest holding necklace with crucifix by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly WilliamsParents and godmother during Greek orthodox baptism ceremony Portrait of parents, baby, and godmother after Greek orthodox baptism Table setting at reception following Greek orthodox baptism Place setting with carousel horse Carousel-themed cake for baptism reception at Arabelle RestaurantBaptism ribbons for guests Guest wearing baptism ribbon by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams Guest holding little boy in lap by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams Older guest holding baby by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams Grandmother holding baby by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly WilliamsUncle holding baby by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams Grandfather holding surprised baby by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams Parents and baby making speech during baptism reception Guest hugging baby by NYC Greek orthodox baptism photographer, Kelly Williams

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.