The church is a big family, with traditions, big events, milestones and accomplishments. Families take lots of photos across time -- they want to capture memories and stories of their journey through life.

Photos tell stories. They say, "we were here," "we did this," "we did this together," and "this is our family." We need these visuals to both remember and celebrate who we are and how we came to this place.

Some photos are better than no photos. But quality really does matter. Getting well done photography allows your church to not only tell your story, but to tell it with high values. If something is worth doing... it's worth doing well.

Over time, we'll explore ways to strengthen your church's photography ministry. For now, here are a few tips to get us started:

Gather Your Team Your church likely has several members who already love photography and have good skills. You may even have a professional or two in the congregation. Others may want to learn photography (including teenagers). Whatever the case, gather your team and recognize them.

Plan Ahead Keep an eye on the church calendar and make plans to have photographers present at fellowships, special services, service projects, etc. Being intentional about having people taking photos means you will always get shots to use and save.

Grow Skills Photographers like to grow their skills. Even persons new to photography are eager to learn how to do better. Plan some training opportunities that help grow and sharpen the skills of your photographers.

Use Good Equipment Good news... cameras are better than ever, and prices drop all the time. Many compact cameras can take terrific photos, and are easy to have handy. DSLRs are also growing in power and ease of use. But remember, the photographer's eye is much more important than the equipment. Click here to discover a great site for finding camera advice.

Share with Flair Photos are meant to be shared. These days, there are lots of ways to share them. Post them on bulletin boards (and remember, you can get large prints inexpensively nowadays), post them on your church website, use them in your newsletters and promotional materials. Gather them together for slideshows. Here's a photo site that reveals photos of a recent youth service project.

Archive Well I still have my family's photo album, handed down across two generations. It is filled with prints of weddings, graduations, fishing trips, growing children and holidays. It's so easy to take digital photos that we may be tempted to not give adequate attention to saving them. However, they are well worth preserving. The smartest way to save them is to use multiple storage approaches. For example, on CDs, on an online service (such as Flickr or SmugMug), and on an external hard drive for easy access.

We will explore each of these areas more fully in future posts. Until then... happy shooting!

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