January 26, 2021
Tips for Church Photography During COVID-19
How your church can stay relevant with your photography throughout the pandemic:
Have you looked at older pictures or videos that were taken or made pre-COVID? (Pre-March 2020?)
Maybe you were looking at a video captured from your birthday party last year where friends were standing close and singing as you blew out candles on a cake everyone ate together.
Or, you were looking at pictures from a crowded concert, large sporting event or even a packed church service on Christmas Eve or Easter.
When you look at these pictures today, don't they look so dated?! Where is the social distancing? Face masks? Air high fives or elbow bumps? Our world has changed dramatically this past year.
As our world has changed and as this pandemic continues on, does your church's communications reflect our current reality? Are your photos and video images reflective of today (or are they images from 2019)?
To be relevant and engaging with your intended audiences, you want your communications to be tuned into what your church members and community are experiencing and how your church is doing ministry today. And specifically with your photography and video - you don't want them to look dated or insensitive.
Here are a few questions to ask your team and suggestions for staying relevant with your church's photography and video throughout the pandemic:
Authenticity: Your church and community wants to see authenticity as you share through photos and videos. So embrace the images that have people wearing face masks, social distancing or meeting outside or in a half-full Auditorium. You might share images of Zoom meetings or at-home small groups. Be who you are in this season. People want to see your real-life ministry and understand how you are carrying on during this time.
Pro tip: Instead of taking the wide angle shot (of the half-full Auditorium), focus on more close-up shots. An individual or a small group of people worshiping or praying, students talking, kids playing, etc. These close ups taken from the front, side or back - while minimizing background clutter/noise - can be very impactful. You have to work harder - but you can still capture joy and delight when people are wearing face masks.
Intrigue: Some of the best photography or video b-roll builds curiosity so that you want to learn more about that person/group, what they are doing and how you could get involved. Get creative about what you share and show - especially in this season. People who are curious will lean in to learn more.
Pro tip: Brainstorm with your team - How can you highlight the people and ministry that is carrying on every day of the week through your church and into the community during this season? Share those images and stories through your website and social media efforts.
For example, if your food pantry is bustling or your drive-through prayer/communion time has become a staple for the community or you're hosting an outdoor event for families, highlight those activities and the people serving.
Reinforcement: As your church is moving forward with ministry while aiming to keep people safe and healthy, the photography and videography you capture and share will reinforce the behavior and interactions you want people to embrace.
Many companies are no longer sharing any images that don't include COVID-appropriate attire and behavior. They want to communicate and reinforce that during this season they are committed to safety and health for their staff, customers, etc.
At Disney World and other theme parks, face masks are mandatory. And if you take your mask off during a ride, they won't sell you your thrill ride photo if you aren't wearing your mask. That's reinforcement and incentive to follow the rules!
Pro tip: Ask your team - What do we want to reinforce related to COVID and other priorities encourage our mission/vision/values? This brainstorming can guide your photography and videography efforts.