How Should You Photograph the American Flag

This is a guest blog post from Tiffany Stoner, co-owner of Nathaniel Edmunds Photography, regarding the importance of flag code and photography.

Given the significance of Independence Day, it couldn’t be a better day for flag education. As the wife of a soldier that has been in the military for 28 years, I believe many of us need to understand the proper uses of the American Flag.

Because I work in a visually-rich, creative industry, I see the flag misused far too often. And while it is likely not malicious or meant to be disrespectful, unfortunately the actions are against Flag Code. In place of using the American Flag, bunting can have the same effect, so can other red, white and blue props.

The American Flag was not intended to be draped across the back of a vehicle or along the hood of a car. It is in poor taste to lay a newborn across an American Flag for a photo session. It is unacceptable to wear the American Flag as a cape or to use it as a blanket during an engagement shoot. It is unconscionable to drag the American Flag across the ground as you are walking in an open field for your Senior Shoot. Brides and grooms should not hold a flag up jointly behind them.

Perhaps people feel it is their right to treat the flag in any manner they wish. However, there are millions of people that are begging for the freedoms Americans share. And, more importantly, there are millions of soldiers that have fought to protect that freedom.

PLEASE, wave your American Flag proudly from a FLAG POLE today on the Fourth of July.

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You can go here for details on the Flag Code. In essence it states the following:

  • The flag should not be used as “wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery”.
  • The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
  • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose.
  • The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
  • The flag should never be stepped on.
  • In a parade, the flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle, railroad train, or boat.
  • When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.
  • When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.
  • When a flag is so tattered that it no longer fits to serve as a symbol of the United States, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferably by burning. You may drop off any flag at the American Legion for it to be disposed of.
  • It is considered disrespectful to the flag and the flag in question should be moved in such a manner so it is not touching the ground.

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