As a church communicator, it’s your job to make sure everyone knows what’s going on and when. You also have to promote your church so people outside your church walls hear about your message and are inspired to visit your church the next Sunday. If that’s not enough, you have to find new and inspiring ways to keep your story fresh and appealing. One way to really enhance your communications ministry is to harness the power of photography.

Importance of Photography

How can photography change your life as a church communicator? It’s really simple. Strong photographs can tell strategic stories that might otherwise get lost in words on a page.

 

Known for their creativity in taking expert pictures, National Geographic photography expert Dan Westergren explains, “In the simplest of terms, a storytelling photograph must show what the story is about. As the stories we want to tell with pictures get more complex, it becomes harder to fit all the elements into one frame. However, trying to make that happen is a great exercise.” 

 

Here, we’ve rounded up ideas to help church communicators hone their photography skills.

 

Ways to Improve Your Photography Skills

Learn Your Camera

Whether you have a Nikon, Canon, or another form of a professional camera, it’s important to know how to use your device. Take some time learning about shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and exposure. Learn about the different modes your camera has and how to operate each mode. Reference YouTube video tutorials to learn how to use your specific model of camera or you take a local photography class. Learning these skills will make you a greater asset to the team and your church will be able to use high-definition, quality images to connect with church members and future attendees. 

 

If your church hasn’t purchased a professional camera, here are a few cameras we suggest:

 

Photography for Church Communicators

Nikon D3400

Expertise Level: Beginner

Starting Price: $399.95

 

Photography for Church Communicators

Nikon D7500

Expertise Level: Intermediate

Starting Price: $799.95

 

 

Photography for Church Communicators

Nikon D5

Expertise Level: Expert

Starting Price: $6,499.95

 

 

Photography for Church Communicators

Canon EOS Rebel T5i

Expertise Level: Beginner

Starting Price: $799.99

 

 

Photography for Church Communicators
Canon EOS 6D

Expertise Level: Intermediate

Starting Price: $1,699

 

 

Photography for Church Communicators

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Expertise Level: Expert

Starting Price: $3,099

 

 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice makes perfect, right? This age-old saying goes a long way when it comes to photography. Try taking pictures at different times of the day when the sun exposures vary. Discover what looks best for your purposes. If there is an event going on at your church, try taking as many pictures as possible at multiple angles so you can have a plethora of choices to use afterward. You’ll never regret taking too many pictures, but you will regret not taking enough. After you spend time practicing, you’ll become more familiar with the way your camera operates and sharpen your photography skills.

Tell a Story

Use the pictures you take to tell a story. Imagine there is no such thing as a photo caption and you need to tell someone something simply by taking a picture. What would you need in that picture to tell a story? Who or what would be the main focus? What needs to go in the background to define the message? Does something need to be missing in the photograph to make the point you want to make? These are all questions that need to be considered when telling a story through the art of photography. Storytelling is important because it breaks down the barriers of language, culture, and other key aspects that bring people together. Let’s take a look at how this works by looking at two different pictures taken.

Picture One

Photography for Church Communicators

This picture shows a crying boy in front of a house that was destroyed. The message you should receive when look at this photograph is pain and sadness. Here is the story behind the picture: 

 

“Hhaing The Yu, 29, holds his face in his hand as rain falls on the decimated remains of his home in the Swhe Pyi Tha township, near Myanmar’s capital of Yangon (Rangoon), on Sunday, May 11th, 2008.  Cyclone Nargis struck southern Myanmar a week ago leaving millions homeless and has claimed up to 100,000 lives. Experts have warned that Myanmar now runs the risk of a public health crisis that could take an even greater toll, as the country’s military government has been slow to allow in international aid.” This was sourced from Verve Photo, which collects images and shares the power each photographer has to capture such events.

 

Let’s look at another example.

Picture Two

Photography for Church Communicators

This image shows an excited Vacation Bible School leader sitting next to a happy student. The background enhances this image of joy because it shows others smiling and having fun. You don’t have to explain that children had fun during this year’s Vacation Bible School because the picture takes care of that for you.

 

Whether you are capturing moments on a mission trip or joyful moments at a church event, pictures can help those in your church understand the heart behind what you’re doing. 

Next Steps

Photos aren’t the only images that can help a congregation connect with your church’s message. Graphics can have a similar effect. Check out Sharefaith to begin a free trial and access to $500 in graphics and worship media to supplement your amazing photography.

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