Helpful Tips for Capturing Your Child’s First Holy Communion


Photographing moments like a first holy communion can feel overwhelming.  If you don’t have the option of hiring a professional photographer, I put together some helpful tips for capturing your child’s first holy communion.  Hopefully, these tips will give you a starting point in documenting this special milestone.


I’ve been fortunate to have photographed First Holy Communion portraits for many families over the years.  It’s a special ritual that I absolutely love.   Little girls in white dresses and little boys in suits, rosaries, crosses -all of these can help- so many little details to capture.


Whether you hire a photographer to document the occasion or try to take the photos yourself, I thought I would share some helpful tips for capturing this moment because having more pictures and better-looking pictures is always a good thing.


Tips for Capturing First Holy Communion Photos #1 – Look for the Light


If you’re planning on capturing the ceremony or even just some portraits in the sanctuary, be ready for limited light.  Many churches have very poor lighting by photographer’s standards.  When you’re in your church, look for where the light is.  The best places are typically windows and doorways where light streams in.  These are the spots that you should try to use for inside photos.  You’ll want your child to stand facing the light rather than having the light at their back.  Often light marble floors will act as a reflector and bounce light up filling their face in a really nice way.


You want to resist using a flash.  Often the light from the flash is too powerful and too close to the subject to create pretty light.  The flash will instead just look way too bright and your child will look washed out.  Before the day of the ceremony, take time to practice with your camera in low light to see how well it handles the light.  If it’s not creating the images that you want, keep the inside photos as snapshots and follow my next tip for your more formal photos.

first holy communion portraits in Wexford church

Be prepared for low light


Tips for Capturing First Holy Communion Photos #2 – Find a Pretty Spot Outside


If you are nervous about tackling the lighting in your church, plan to take your first holy communion photos outside.  Many churches have lovely little green areas around them that are perfect spots for portraits.  To get ideas, you can search for your church and wedding images to see what spots other photographers like.


Just like inside, you’re going to want to look for the light.  Try to avoid a bright, sunny spot.  That will give you squinty eyes.  Try to find a shady spot.  It will be easier on the eyes and will help your images to have beautiful colors.  If it is on the bright side, have your child and any other subjects stand with their back to the sun.  That will be a big help.

first holy communion portrait at Wexford church

Tips for Capturing First Holy Communion Photos #3 – Don’t forget the details


This might be my favorite in my list of tips for capturing first holy communion photos. When capturing a milestone like this, there are so many great details that can add richness to your child’s story.  Be sure to capture those.  Rosaries, a prayer book.  His little tie or her little veil.  You can capture these in your child’s hand, set in the pew, or even in the yard.  And objects are much easier to photograph because they stand perfectly still.


Also, pay attention to the little moments with your family- Mama giving that last blessing before the service, Grandma giving a hug.  Remember that these milestones are not just about capturing the formal portrait, but recording your family memories of the day.


cross, rosary, little girl with prayer book

Hopefully, these tips for capturing first holy communion photos get you off to a good start.  Here are a few more of my favorite  First Holy Communion images.

little girl in white dress and veillittle girl in white dress and veil for first holy communion portraits at Hartwood Acreslittle girl in First Holy Communion dress and veil at Hartwood Acres

little girl with hands in the air celebrating her first holy communion outside Sacred Heart Church, pittsburgh

Don’t forget the moments!!

And if you think you might like to have a professional capture these milestone images for you, contact me!

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Hi there, it's Jodi!

I hope you enjoy my work and please let me know if you have any questions about photography, art, or anything at all.

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