Visual storytelling is incredibly important on social media, as people process images 60,000 times faster than words. Therefore it’s crucial that you take the best photos you can and make the most out of what you have.
It can be tricky to take photos in a church when there’s poor lighting but you don’t need a photography degree or a fancy camera to take interesting, good quality photos.
Here are a few things to think about when taking photos:
1) Invest in a Tripod
● To keep photos sharp in lower light, use a tripod to keep the camera steady
● The tripod can also give access to new angles such as over edges and higher up in the air (just set the camera on a timer and lift the tripod up as high as you want. There’s a little bit of trial and error involved but it can create some interesting results)
2) Make the most of external sources of light
● If you’re taking portraits, take them outside where you can take advantage of the natural light
● If the photos have to be taken inside, use the natural light coming in through the windows.
● Make use of extra electric lighting – avoid using the flash inside as much as possible as it can make things look stark with harsh shadows
3) Pick your background Carefully
● Consider what the background of your photo is, be intentional
● Avoid backdrops which include things like bins, radiators, extinguishers, health and safety signage – anything which looks a little ugly or distracting
● Use what you have – all the great architectural features of your church
4) Don’t be afraid to get in closer
● Taking photos from the back of church is easy and unobtrusive but you’re too far away from what’s happening at the front of church to be intentional or to capture detail. Be part of the action and get in as close as possible.
● If you have a Digital SLR camera, invest in a longer lens which will let you zoom in even closer
● Communicate with your leadership team about what points in the service they’re happy for you to get closer and where is best for you to be without distracting them (this can be an ongoing conversation depending on the type of service, who will be there and the content)
5) Try different angles
● Taking photos straight on is easy and foolproof but can be boring. Be adventurous, try standing on a chair/pew to get a high angle shot looking down or lie down on the floor and shoot upwards
● Shoot through items, use doors and windows as frames, come up with unusual views which catch the viewers eye and makes the photos stand out from the crowd
● Be ready to take candid photos at events, keep your camera switched on amd finger on the button (some of the best photos can be candids as they look more natural)
● Think about how you are posing people when photographing them, try arranging them in something other than a line or a huddle. For example, have them sit together on some steps or in a group in a few rows of pews.
● Remember, you’re taking the photo so you are in charge. You tell them how you want them to be arranged.
● Be purposeful in choosing your composition (watch this video which explains the rule of thirds and other photography tips)
● Plan ahead and think about what photos you need to take and what you want you audience to get out them
● Not every event needs to be photographed and posted on social media. For example, photos of people sitting around tables paying attention to something isn’t all that interesting and doesn’t tell the audience much. Instead, choose the moments of action and emotion (the wow moments, the wonder and the fun)
8) Posting to social media
● Choose the best photos, don’t just post them all, edit the collection down by cutting out photos that look similar, are blurry or any that don’t help tell the story.
● Try and give all the photos you post to Facebook a description
● Make the most out of Twitter’s multiple image feature (you can post up to four photos at a time in a tweet)