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Question: Role of photography in your church

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Jim426, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. I've been searching for a place to get opinions, advice or shared experiences from fellow believers for a little while now.

    I regularly volunteer for my church to photograph various events we are hosting. I have always looked at is as using the talents God has given me to assist the church in spreading His word and attempting to show the good works that brings out in all of us.

    But I always viewed it as me doing the churches mission. I certainly personalized it, but it was, in my head, to live up to high standards of others who serve or have served doing the same thing.

    But recently at a Bible study, a friend told me I needed to talk to people within the church to assist with, "your ministry." I had never personalized it that way before and certainly had never thought of it as my own ministry. I have asked others and they said they always felt that way.

    This has added a weight to it I hadn't felt before. It's not going to stop me from doing what I've done, but it's certainly weighing on me in a new way.

    I think I realize seeing it as presenting the church, I had their approval in a physical, present way. Feeling now as though I am presenting something for God, I don't feel qualified...
  2. well..I don't know technical side of photography but I used to work in a photography business keywording images. This wasn't for church this was just an office job. I saw thousands of images, mostly for magazines and other publications, and had to keyword them all. BIG JOB. I could not handle it after a few months of 8 hours five days a week in front of a computer.

    There are many times when an image can mean a lot to a person like a graduation photo or wedding pic or just a funny photo can brighten someone's day. My dad is a photographer...for the family. He volunteers his time and its his hobby. The best pictures are animals and babies. God's creation. They grow up so fast. It's always interesting to look back on family photo albums and see people change and grow. I suppose it can be a ministry..think of it like you recording people for the book of Life. He has all our names written there.

    My dad usually develops his own photos and not need any help but scrapbooking and filing etc can be a job someone can assist you with. Or captioning. Keywording is when you have them on a database kind of like tagging images on facebook, so you can find them all. I'm not a photographer myself, only amateur..but when I do I mostly like to take pictures of rainbows as they so fleeting.
    Jim426 likes this.
  3. I'm not quite grasping the problem, if you are a decent photographer and enjoy doing it, you are qualified.
    God is pleased by any sincere effort we put forth. He does not judge us by our talents (or lack thereof) but by our willingness to put in the effort.
    Where is the Messiah and Jim426 say Amen and like this.
  4. Maybe the lesson to learn in this for me is that putting forth the effort is enough. But I guess I feel I need to figure some things out and I'm not completely sure what those things are yet.

    I'd show some of my images, but that's not why I posted. I am fairly confident in my abilities, but like any passion, there's always more to learn or things I'd like to improve.
  5. Years ago, I did some photography as a hobby. I had taken some photography in college and enjoyed photographing the very small (macro stuff). Several friends asked me to take pictures at their weddings, baptisms, and twice I was asked to take pictures at memorial services.

    I always talked to the preacher (and/or funeral director) prior to the event. This was back during the film days and I had one camera loaded with film appropriate for flashless photography during the actual ceremony as the preacher allowed, and another loaded for more setup shots with flash, if necessary. So I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible and respectful that the Ceremony was a worship service.

    I am less skilled now and my old Cameras have long since been discarded/given away. I am a point & shooter now.

    My advice to you is that as long as you respect the worship character, and both solicit and follow the requests of the Church, you are in good shape. It may be that the Church may feel the need to discuss with you what is acceptable or faithful in displaying their character. Or, they may have need of your talents to provide images for outreach (web-site, brochures, etc).

    The only other thing I want to say is that some people truly do not like their picture taken. Some even believe it is making graven images. Always be respectful of personal wishes. Discuss who may not wish to appear in photographs with your 'client'.
    Jim426 likes this.
  6. Siloam,

    You've actually hit on one of the things that has weighed on me before. I have someone I submit my finished images to who is sort of an editor prior to anything going out. We've had discussions about things which we are not comfortable shooting, even when they are some of the most powerful images we can share.

    I've gotten around it by taking those shots of people I know and then asking their permission prior to sending them in for use. But there are several moments which are private, painful or emotional moments. Even though they are taking place in an open public forum, these moments to me are private to the individual to many degrees and I try to respect them as such.

    But some of these moments are things that I feel strongly need to be represented to fully illustrate the power of the moment and God's impact on His people.

    Thanks for your response.

    (Not old enough to have had a ton of experience with film, but my father has been in the business for over 30 years and I miss the time spent in the dark room and the magic of waiting for a photograph!)
  7. I truly understand, but a persons privacy must be respected.

    There was one 'commission' I had where a friend was going to use the pictures as part of an advertising effort (local paper stuff). Because this was by design going to be a very public display, I went as far as getting written permission from my subjects, even though they knew they were there to be photographed for publication.

    In your case, the things you want to say are relying on using your subjects in ways they do not feel comfortable.

    I spend a considerable amount of time in another state that has a sizeable Amish and Mennonite population. I find their farmers market to be a particularly photogenic scene (as well as having wonderful veggies). I also know that they do not want to be photographed. I don't even ask. I know that they are troubled by photography.
  8. I think it is a great idea as long as you have permission from the leadership of your church. Don't worry about feeling qualified, the Lord will guide you in every thing you set your to do, and the more you do it the better you will get at doing it. I have taken my digital "SLR" camera to many Christian concerts and had lots of fun shooting picture. The only thing I would suggest is you will probably need a camera that can shoot high "ISO" with little noise. Using a flash is pretty much out of the question in these kinds of venues.
    Jim426 likes this.
  9. CCW95A - thanks. I have a Canon 6D which is really good for those situations and fast glass which helps too. I think I'm off track and may need to search myself for some of the answers. It's more an inward question of how I want to represent things or what the lines are that I may need to figure out and talk to my pastor about. I have a meeting Sunday night, so maybe I can get some advice there.
  10. Jim426 likes this.

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