You Don’t Need a Professional Camera to Take Great Photos

August 26, 2021  •   LPi

women taking photo inside church

Whether we utilize it or not, we all have access to an easy way to capture the happenings at our parish. The smartphone has reimagined what we can share with our community. If you have yet to start taking photos of the best moments of your church, now is the time to start.

Check out a few things you should keep in mind when using a smartphone, and some fundamental tips for taking images that are worthy of being shared!

1. Start with the Easy

Let’s start the process with some small items to check over. Make sure that your smartphone’s camera lens is clean by wiping it down with a soft, dry cloth. You should also go ahead and make sure your screen is also clean and free of any smudges.

Does your phone have enough space to hold the images you’re planning on taking? If you’re not sure, make sure to check your current storage. If you find yourself being pressed for space, you can start to free up space by removing unused apps, deleting old text messages, and clearing off website data.

PRO-TIP: If you have yet to discover Google Photos, prepare to be amazed! This simple app allows you to keep your precious memories in the Cloud, while having 24/7 access through your phone.

2. Dive into Some Technical

Once you have the space and your lens is clean, you’ll want to start thinking like a photographer. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds! Some things to keep in mind when focusing on your subjects:

Rule of Thirds | Instead of placing your subject in the center, split the scene into thirds. Then, position your subject within these gridlines or wherever they intersect for a much more dynamic image.

Avoid Negative Space | Too much white space can leave your photos uninspiring. Make sure to get close and personal in order to keep things interesting! You can also crop a wide shot in post-production if you aren’t able to get close.

Keep Things Whole | Avoid cutting off any limbs or cropping the head of your main subjects.

3. Get Creative with What You’ve Got

In addition to the usual shots of crowds, groups, posed, and smiling, you should also be on the lookout for some different ways to feature your community. Gone are the days where people want cheesy grins of happy parishioners. We need to see people, authentic and in the middle of action!

How about behind the scenes of Father preparing for Mass, or your faith formation breakfast event just minutes before the doors open? A large crowd shot of the congregation in the middle of Mass, but from the back of church. Even some close-up shots of liturgical items, hands clasped together in prayer, or the line of parishioners waiting for confession are great ways you can showcase the life of your parish.

PRO-TIP: As with anything you do, you’ll need to get permission to feature any parishioners you photograph, especially children. If your parish doesn’t have an official photo release form, check with your diocese.

4. Share it with Your Community!

You’re taking great photos that show your parish as it really is — alive, thriving, vibrant! Don’t keep them to yourself. Now is the time to choose the best ones and share them with your community.

With permission to use images of your parishioners, start sharing them on your social media, website, email, and bulletin. If you find that some color correction or cropping is needed, there are plenty of free photo editor programs out there, such as Adobe Spark, Canva, and BeFunky.

Looking for more ways to showcase your faith community? Check out our blog, “Does Your Website Accurately Portray Your Parish?

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