I am a photographer. That is my profession. And yet being a professional photographer does not always seem to carry with it the same level of expert credibility that, say, a heart surgeon has these days. Increasingly, when I offer creative advice I find clients saying things like, “Well isn’t the lighting better over here?” What happened? Nobody says to their cardiologist, “Well don’t you think my bypass surgery would go better if you did it my way?” I think that at some point along the way, everyone else became professional photographers themselves. Oh, and that is actually a good thing.
Since the introduction of consumer-friendly camera technology into the marketplace, families have been recording “Kodak moments” with increasing fervor. Companies like Polaroid and Kodak have capitalized on the desire of consumers to skip the middleman (the photographer!) and gain access to his tools to do the job themselves. The obtuse technology connected with film and darkrooms has been replaced with Instax film and digital LCD review panes. Mom doesn’t need to hire the man from town with a monocle and wooden tripod anymore. All mom needs is an EasyShare and a 4GB SD card. At some point along the way, we all decided, “If he can do it, so can I.”
Most pro photographers (myself included) whine and complain about this technological revolution every time Canon or Nikon introduces their fancy tech specs into their consumer line of cameras. We don’t want the Rebel series to shoot HD video. How will we ever keep our jobs? I am just kidding. Well, sort of.
It is a good thing you have access to the latest and greatest the big camera companies have to offer and here is why:
1. You Need Images that Tell Your Story: Stock photography doesn’t cut it when it comes to telling your ministry story these days. People want you to communicate to them with accuracy. And they can smell inauthenticity a mile away. Either you are going to hire someone to generate images for you, or you can do it yourself. Which leads me to my next point . . .
2. Your Ministry Operates on the Basis of Stewardship: Every Gospel-driven ministry is a trust. In order to be a good steward of that trust you need to look for ways to maximize your resources. You probably don’t have a pro photographer in your congregation, so you are looking to hire someone outside. I suggest you take the money you would invest in a one-time shoot and purchase a user-friendly DSLR and start generating images in-house. Sure, you might need to hire a pro some day, but you will be shocked when you start shopping around by how much Canon and Nikon have leveled the playing field. You can create great images yourself.
3. The Need is Great: If you are like most medium to large sized churches, you are spending thousands of dollars every couple of years on things you could be doing yourself. Take a church directory for example: there is no reason why you can’t create a comprehensive and secure online directory with a quality DSLR and a WordPress blog. Especially if you are a church planter, consider investing this way in order to get updated staff bio shots for your website. That $500-$1000 will go a lot further for your ministry at an early stage than hiring a local pro.
4. The Opportunity is Greater: You can do more than you think you can. There are creative opportunities you have not considered that could enhance your ministry. Take the Canon 7D for example. This camera shoots incredible HD video and good stills. You could be both photographing events as well as recording testimonials with the same device. Take what professional photographer Jeremy Cowart has done with Help-Portrait.com as an example of a creative way to minister to your community using something as silly as a camera.
5. You Like Creative Control: I have been on hundreds of shoots where my creative vision and the creative vision of my client were at odds. This is the nature of working with freelance creatives. Nobody understands your creative vision better than you. You can generate photographic resources that meet your expectations better than anybody else. If you can handle a DSLR (and you can), then you can create images that accomplish your objective with a 100% guarantee of not having wasted your money on someone who just didn’t get the big picture.
Have you given any thought to how you can maximize your resources as it relates to photography and videography?
But seriously, if you want pro-grade work, hit us up and check out our portfolio. ;)