“Not Just Another Day of the Week”


Pre-service, worship set, offering, message, net, post-service. Every creative department in ministry has these particular time cues mapped out in their minds, in any particular order, when service days arrive. What is often floating between that timeline could be sermon graphics, announcement slides, maybe setting up an eye-catching photo wall with that month’s theme, but almost the most visited thought is: How are we capturing tonight?


How DO you capture a service? Let me rephrase that: how do you accurately re-create WOW moments from throughout the night? For one, there is no set, scientifically formulated, foolproof way for a service to be captured via film or photographs. There are, however, ways to make it easier on you as either the faithful servant volunteer or the patient creative leader guiding your team.


To the photographers and videographers: those most often distinguished by their black attire. One of the most important factors of student ministry is STUDENTS! Thumbing through Instagram, seeing a candid snapshot of yourself with your squad, projecting your memories back to that moment, is a wonderful feeling no doubt. Being conscious that you are photographing their smiles, laughter and even shock is vital because what is more exciting to look at: the back of someone’s head or the back of someone’s head? NEITHER! Also, approaching a student and asking to take their photo can be very intimidating. You risk being ignored or being told “No”, but you will never know unless you try! Personally, being a creative volunteer for 3 years, it took the majority of those years for me to muster the gumption to get a group of students to pose for me, but the more you do something, the easier it gets. So, if you have a particular shot you want to capture, step out and make it happen.


All of us have probably taken an art class, whether it was mandatory or out of sheer enjoyment. What every art class has in common are the Principles of Design:  Balance, Repetition, Contrast, and Unity are to name a few. Marrying these simple “rules” to the photography and video you are shooting that night can drastically improve the framework of how it is captured. Taking time to remember these before you click the shutter or press record can better determine a well composed shot from a couple dozen blurry, underexposed exposures of what was supposed to be a student laughing during the message. Try going into the night with this mentality: I am only going to take 15 photos. Focus on your settings, both physically and technically.


Capturing a service isn’t nearly as difficult as splitting an atom; it can be as natural as breathing. It requires practice, confidence and a particular amount of trust that as a photographer/videographer, you have the ability to preserve the nights moments.