How To Take Photos For Your Church’s Social Media

As Christians, we are called to spread the gospel to the world. Social media is an asset your church can use to spread the gospel and welcome new faces to your community; photography plays a huge role in both.

In general, there are four priorities for photographing church social media images. First, take time to plan your photos. Second, use various composition techniques. Third, edit your photos using software such as Lightroom. Finally, ensure your photos authentically display your church community.

Keep reading as I explain each of these in more depth and give some tips for best practices.

Take Time To Plan

The first step in taking outstanding photos for your church’s social media is to take the time to plan. This means both hands-on planning practices, such as creating shot lists, and contemplative planning, considering the story and message you aim to convey and the audience you want to reach. For context, imagine you’re planning to shoot a youth group event. You should focus on capturing the energy and excitement of the event rather than just taking group shots of the youth.

It’s also important to note the location, lighting, and any potential changes to those when planning your shoots. Make sure you have all of your gear prepared and any batteries charged.

If your shoot is outside, you’ll need to think about the time of day and the sun’s angle to ensure the photos are lit well. Consider any lens filters you might need, such as NDs or polarizers. If you think you need to compete with the sun’s light, you may want to use a flash to avoid harsh shadowing.

If your shoot is inside, you’ll need to think about the lighting in the room, the potential need to bring in additional lighting, and the colour of the lighting. If the location for your shoot is dark, consider bringing a flash. Also, consider getting a white balance card; these are used to manually set your white balance if the lighting is excessively warm or cool.

Use Composition Techniques

Composition is essentially how you frame your photo and how its elements are organized. It can be used to create a visually engaging image and to tell stories. One essential compositional technique is the rule of thirds. It divides a photo into even thirds, vertically and horizontally, creating a three-by-three grid with nine segments. The rule of thirds creates four intersects on which the subject can be placed. This creates a more visually pleasing image and draws the viewer’s eye to the subject.

Another essential compositional technique is to use leading lines. Using leading lines is a composition technique that uses lines in an image to lead the viewer’s focus to the photograph’s subject. These lines can be naturally occurring, such as a treeline, or human-made, such as a hiking trail or road. Leading lines can create movement and make for a more dynamic photo.

For a more in-depth explanation, I have an article explaining how to improve your church photography with composition.

Edit Your Photos

Editing does not just mean Photoshopping your images; it also could be as simple as adjusting the exposure and colours of your photos. Some standard editing software includes; Lightroom, Photoshop, and Luminar Neo.

There are two main aspects to editing your photos; making adjustments and retouching. The main difference between these two is that adjusting only changes existing elements of an image, whereas retouching adds and removes elements.

Adobe Lightroom is an industry-standard when it comes to adjusting photos. Though you can do basic retLightroomlightroom excels at making adjustments to your images. You can change your exposure, white balance, highlights, shadows, and more. You can even adjust individual colours in a photo, making them brighter, darker, or more intense (saturated).

Adobe Photoshop is an industry-standard photo retouching software. Photoshop gives you more flexibility with your imaLightroomLightroom but has a significantly steeper learning curve. With Photoshop, you can add or remove elements or change features of existing ones. If you want to change the colour of your shirt, Photoshop can do that. If you’re looking to remove some garbage from your image, that is also possible.

Be Authentic

The last and most important aspect of taking amazing photos for your church’s social media is authenticity. Your photos should capture the heart of your church community and its events. One of the best ways to display authenticity is to take candid photos. Due to its importance, I wrote an entire article breaking down why candid church photography is important.

Another big part of authenticity is diversifying your photos. This can be done by capturing different people, perspectives, and activities. One way to capture different people is to capture different age groups; families, youth, young adults, or elderly congregation members.

Consider shooting from different angles or focal lengths to capture different perspectives. Capturing different activities means not focusing on the most prominent moments in the room; try capturing someone doing something as simple as drinking coffee or laughing with a friend.

One final way to show authenticity is to incorporate your church’s assets, such as its logo, colours, and fonts, in the graphics you use these photos for. This is an excellent way to keep your church consistent across platforms. This ensures all the hard work you put into planning, taking, and editing your photos is associated with your church.

Authenticity in your photos requires you to be transparent and ethical while editing them. I wrote an article addressing the question: Is it okay to Photoshop your photos?

Jeremy Goh

Jeremy grew up volunteering at church and has also worked in a church setting. Along with working as a freelance creative, Jeremy is studying for a business degree in finance and international business.

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