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Taking pics during services/conferences
Could you give me the general etiquette for taking photos during services?
Could you suggest a written policy that would those new at shooting.
Address (how tos) on how to be inconspicuous and still "get the shot"
Want the media staff to understand their boundaries and not feel like they are going to get shut down for using a flash at the wrong time.
Appreciate any suggestions.
Help! and Thanks!
First, let me say I'm no pro at this. This is just from my limited experience.
I, too, am a bit uncomfortable taking pictures during a service, but when my Pastor comes to me and asks me to, well, what can you do? Here's my advice.
1) Get a good camera that doesn't need flash. I use a Cannon Powershot. Keep the flash off and always keep it in manual so you can fine tune it to the lighting that you are shooting in. My camera cost me roughly $150. Flash can be a really big distraction during a sermon, or praise and worship. I think flash is really only acceptable during things like children's plays. If you're not using flash, invest in a tripod. Non-flash photography is very sensitive to a subject's movement, and the involuntary shaking of your hands.
2) Position. You don't want to be a distraction so choose your "shooting" position well. I usually stay in the very back of the congregation. The down side to that is that I don't get good shots of them during the service, but if you have a decent zoom you can still get good shots of the speaker/subject up front. Make sure its a place where you won't have to move around a lot to keep your subject in focus. I did this the first service I photographed and got TONS of negative feedback on my behavior. It was very no bueno. If you have more than on camera, one idea is to have different members of your media staff at different places in the congregation. That way you can have shots from more than one angle, and some good ones of the congregation too.
3) Every person, and congregation is different. Make sure to consult your Pastor or service leader before hand to make sure you know what they want. Make sure you know what you want. When you have pictures of people who are really emotional during something like an altar call, but you are unsure of wheter or not they'd mind you using it, ask them politely if you can.
I hope this helps. Sorry if its not quite what you're looking for.
The best way to learn is to try. At least that's how I figure it.
This is good feedback DeeJay.
Right now, we don't really have a good media camera. I've been having church members who I know have good eyes shoot various shots. They aren't necessarily on the media team have been providing great general photos.
1. Turn off any beeps in your camera. This is absolutely essential. No shutter noise, no settings adjust, nothing.
2. The trick to not being seen on stage: don't look directly at anyone in the congregation, EVER. If you have to get up on the stage, focus on whatever you're shooting the whole time. If you glance around nervously, you'll be spotted. If you look directly at anyone in the congregation, you'll be spotted. Even a glance over the top of everyone's heads can be bad.
As long as you look at the stage and keep body language which says "this is what I am supposed to do and I CAN be here", you'll be invisible standing right in front of the pastor while he preaches. Make eye contact with the audience for a second and you stick out like... something which sticks out.
3. Can you switch to manual focus? If not, will the camera cope if you turn off its autofocus-assist beam? (This is the light you see while the camera is focussing). If not, it's not as bad as the flash, but it will limit the number of shots you can get of the congregation...
4. When you move around, never cross the room. For example we have a church with three aisles. To get from the front of the left aisle to the front of the right aisle, I walk straight down the left aisle (keeping my eyes straight ahead - never make eye contact, remember?), walk out the door, across the foyer, in the other door and down the right aisle.
Did I say too much? Summary: By avoiding eye contact you'll be so much less obvious (It's an old stagehand trick)
Having done several thousand weddings over the years I can tell you that each church is different in what they want you to do or not do.
I've been in churches where they didn't care if you stood on the alter and shot down over the priest or pastor's shoulder, flash blazing as long as you were done at the same time as the service and others that were so gunshy of what previous photographers have done that they wouldn't let you in during a service.
My personal policy is this.
1. Be as unobtrusive as possible. I never want to be the center of attention.
2. Try not to use a flash - isn't always possible so if you have to use the flash, take only the pictures you need and try to get them the first time.
3. If you have a long lens, keep back the closer you are to the front the more you're going to be noticed.
4. Work with confidence - like Chris said if you look and act like you're doing exactly what you should be people will overlook you. It's sometimes refered to as "hiding in plain sight". I've often done a job and then when people get the pictures back try to figure out how I got certain shots cause they are sure they never saw me take them.
5. Never heard the one about avoiding eye contact, but hey it makes sense.
6. I don't know about going outside a room but I do agree never walk across the front down the aisle and around behind the audience.
7. Be prepared to have the rules change at any time - I've done jobs where they told the congregation that I was going to be walking around taking pictures and to make sure they didn't get in my way (a rareity to be sure).
8. You've gotten lots of good advice. Some of it will work all of the time, some part of the time so be flexible and have fun!
I would say it depends on the church and the Pastor. I do weddings also and have been paid to take pictures during church services. If I am paid to take pictures during a church service, I will do it and make sure I get the best shots. Yes, that may mean I am sitting in the first pew and that I may stand up and take a picture of whoever I am supposed to take a picture of. I will also use flash. The Pastor usually knows why I am there and has no problem with it.
That being said, I will not take too many pictures and will make sure I get the right type of pictures.
I really don't think it is distracting if somebody sits in the first pew and takes the picture or pictures they need and then are done.
In today's digital age, people are used to cameras going off at all times.
You probably want to ask the pastor what they think is acceptable. My dad is a retired minister. When he performed weddings, he would inform the photographer that flash photography was only permitted during the processional and for the kiss. If they had to take pictures at other times, he wanted them off to the side without flash.
Having done videography and photography in this kind of situation, my philosophy has always been to get in, get the shot, and get out. Without being rushed, nervous, or self-conscience just walk up to what needs to be shot and by the time you take the last step to where you are going, your camera should be poised and ready to take the shot. And once you got the shot, or the 2-3 shots that you take, then just casually walk away.
Secondly, if you are in direct view of the audience, you have to appear to be as one of them. Smile when they smile, laugh when they laugh, etc. The key is to appear to be as comfortable on stage as they are in the audience.
You've been asked to do something that seems unnatural. Taking pictures in any kind of worship service seems "unworshipful." But remember, you've been asked to do this for some justified reason by someone that has the power to authorize it.
Think about how you can do this unnatural act without being noticed. Standing at the back of the room, look at where your subjects will be. Then look for shooting locations where you can get the best "3D" pictures of your subjects. ("3D" means you don't want to shoot straight into their face or perpendicular to their shoulders.) Depending on your camera equipment, this might mean you can stand at the back of the room and shoot with a telephoto lens. (Be sure to bring a monopod or tripod. Here's a neat idea: Click Here )
Think about how you will move. Do not rush anywhere. Move "quietly." Walk with your camera down by your side. Calmly move your camera into the shooting position. Hold the camera there while shooting. Shoot enough pictures so that one will be good. Me? I refuse to look at what I've shot until I am out of the line of sight.
Finally, Think about what you will wear. A dark suit works well in almost all situations and make you look professional. Depending on the situation, a dark shirt and pants could also work. The dark color "minimizes" your visual appearance.
Just my thoughts.
Couldn't get your link to work but this is what you were pointing to:
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mom2jaar (Tuesday, August 12th, 2008)
Minimising flash is another big key to being inconspicuous.
If you're using an SLR, try and get a zoom lens with a constant f2.8... theyre expensive, but much more versatile for 'low-light' photography, or for indoor photos where you don't want to use flash.
The reason why I say go for a zoom lens is so you can get the "so close you can see nostril hair" shots without actually being that close... another key to being inconspicuous.
Downside to having a big lens though is that once you're spotted, you really do stand out.
When a pastor approaches you to take photographs, most of the time they are looking for you to capture the essence of what's going on, so it's important to shoot people in their natural element as much as possible. if you're spotted by your subject, don't take the picture. pull the camera down from your face, or start to focus on a different subject elsewhere (preferably in an opposite direction). That tip has always helped me get the most natural looking images from my subjects.
Oh, the folk who worked their guts out to get the lighting looking 'just right' will thank you for not using flash as well.... flash washes out a lot of their hard work!
Stage lighting can be your best friend, as can a little lens flare, when used appropriately.
I also agree with the bloke who suggested moving as little as possible around the front of the church - if you need to move from left to right, go up the back, change sides, then come back down the front. and do it quickly
some of my church work can be viewed at this site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mudcake...7600226623742/