Great news for photographers and visitors to St Paul’s Cathedral in London. They have ended their ban on photography within the cathedral. This is wonderful news. Many people flouted the ban anyway (and if you did, you would get a telling off, as I did 15 years ago). Now, the Cathedral has decided to let everyone take pictures of this truly wonderful architectural jewel.
They made the announcement, appropriately enough, on their Instagram page:
View this post on Instagram
We hope your visit to St Paul's is a memorable one and we recognise you may wish to take photos to remember your experience. From 1 June non-flash photography for personal use inside the Cathedral is welcomed outside service times. Please share your photos with us using #stpauls 📷
The official website makes clear that they’re allowing ‘respectful’ photography. So, basically, don’t be a jerk about it. They do not want you hauling in equipment, tripods, lighting, etc to get your perfect snaps. And if you plan to sell the images or use them in a professional capacity, you still need to get permission. Also, this is important – NO SELFIE STICKS. They also say you can’t record video. I’m not sure how they’re going to enforce that when every camera takes pictures and video these days.
Here are the rules laid out on the official photography policy page here:
We hope that your visit to St Paul’s is a memorable one and we recognise that you may wish to take photos to remember your experience. Respectful non-flash photography for personal use inside the Cathedral is welcomed outside service times. Please share your photos with us on social media using #stpauls.
As a working church, there are some restrictions to this which can be read below:
- Photography is not permitted during services at any time.
- Photography is permitted during sightseeing hours (usually 8.30am-4.30pm), Monday to Saturday, and in a restricted area at the West End of the Cathedral on Sundays.
- Video and recording of moving images are not permitted.
- Photography of children and young people is prohibited without consent of the accompanying adult.
- The use of flash or additional lighting, tripods, monopods and selfie sticks are not permitted at any time.
- Commercial photography is not permitted without advanced permission.
Where can I photograph inside the Cathedral?
- Photography is permitted throughout the Cathedral floor, crypt and external galleries.
- Areas of the Cathedral may occasionally be designated as “no photography” on a temporary basis and this will be indicated at the time.
- Photography is not permitted in St Dunstan’s Chapel, which is available for private prayer and reflection throughout the day.<
- Photography on the Whispering Gallery is not permitted at any time.
It does not surprise me that they’re not allowing photography in the Whispering Gallery. You could easily drop your camera and it’s a long way down and would do serious harm if it fell on someone. It’s also dangerous to try and take selfies near the short railings. In the last two years, a few people have actually fallen (and died).
At the end of the day, it’s still a place of worship for some people, not just a tourist attraction, so try to be respectful of anyone who may be there to worship.