A while ago, I wrote a post about how I have done photographic teams at churches. I put a lot of practical advice in there for running the team. Today, I wanted to focus in on one aspect of the Photographic team, and that is the Sermon Photography/Stock Photography aspect.

We live in a Graphic Design World. And one thing that many graphic designers need/use regularly are images that are isolated. Let’s say for instance your Senior Pastor is doing a series on the Woman at the Well. And since you wear more than a Worship Pastor Hat, you also wear a Graphic Designer hat – You are asked to come up with the design for the series. So, you go to www.istockphoto.com and start looking for images, and find one you like: http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-5768326-well-bucket-and-pulley.php?st=5861313

You decide you’re going to need the image for many different forms of media, the bulletin, the website, sermon slides, banners, urinal decals, etc., so you’re going to need to have the best resolution you can afford. And that will cost you 15 credits. Well, exactly how much is that? That’s $23.10 for one picture. Now, let’s say you need a cool, urban desert image for the background, so you do some looking and the only one you can find is the vetta image, and that’s going to run you some more, 70 credits. http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-11005445-autumn-night.php?st=f9cf393, but let’s just say it’s going to run you roughly the same amount, $25.00. So, you’re at $50, plus any other little things you need.

Here’s a break down right from iStockPhoto.com of their pricing. (http://www.istockphoto.com/buy-stock-credits-pay-as-you-go.php) Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t have a problem with iStockPhoto. I think it’s a great service, and for the caliber of image you get, it’s not a bad deal. But look at our image.

Credits Price (USD)

You can see, it’s not going to take long for things to get expensive. Of course, if you’re a larger church, you might have the budget for that. But, if you’re smaller, you might not. Do you have $100 to spend on each series throughout the course of the year? 8 – 12 series = $800 – $1200.

What if….

…you had the concept figured out ahead of time. Instead of using istock to come up with the inspriation for the image, why not figure out the concept ahead of time, a least a few weeks, and send some photographers in the church out to find the pictures you are looking for. If they can’t find them, I bet there’s someone in the church that has what you’re looking for, or someone who knows how to find such things.

One thing that might help, would be to purchase a little equipment for the photographers to use, that will help you in the long run as well, that would be a tabletop shooting background. You can pick one of these up for around $35. (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/347667-REG/Cloud_Dome_CDIB18W_Infinity_Board_Matte_White.html) Then, all your photographers have to do is find the item they will be photographing and use this to take the pictures you need. It might take a few tries to get really good images, but it won’t take long, and the money you save will be worth it.

Plus, you are developing someone in your church. You are using the gifts of someone God has put in your body. That’s good stewardship all around. And it’s worship for the photographer.

There’s not a whole lot to this. The biggest piece is the tabletop studio and some lighting, but, as you figure that out, you’ll be on your way.

One last tip: Check out http://www.creationswap.com/. It’s a place where Graphic Designers and Photographers put stuff for churches. I’ve even got a few of my own images up there for you to use. There is some really great stuff being done there, and it’s worth your time to see what’s there. You might even find something that’s perfect for the series you are doing.

Also, if you are an artist, graphic designer or photographer, I would encourage you to take part in adding to the community as well. The more who are putting stuff in there, the better the chances we will all have of finding what we are looking for. So, if your photographic team starts taking isolated images, put them up there. If you come up with a cool sermon graphic, put it up there. We’ll all thank you for it!