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DIY Church Media, Part 3: Casting Calls!

DIY Church Media 3 (1)If you’ve come across this blog series before, then you know that we’re talking all about creating homemade church media! If you can’t find what you’re looking for on Worshiphouse Media  or SermonSpice, it might be time to bust out the ol’ smart phone or DSLR and put your imagination to work! It’s a fun and rewarding process, and all it requires is a computer, a photo shoot with some fellow congregants and a little bit of elbow grease (Editor’s note: elbow grease is not actually required).

In the first post, we explored the power of planning and what makes for a good composition. If you haven’t had a chance, check it out here. In the following post, we discussed practical photography tips that’ll help you snap compelling photos.  This time around, we’ll dive into choosing the right subjects, obtaining model releases, and planning creative ways to use your finished DIY media.

Be a Diligent Casting Director

To cast, or not to cast? That is the question! One of the more interesting aspects to consider when planning and executing your photo shoot is who should be in front of the camera. As mentioned in previous posts, it’s important to not distract from the theme of the media by including an out-of-place or inappropriate subject. For example, a hot-tempered dad might not be the best subject to cast for the Father’s Day service design. So what makes for a good pick? Here’s my two cents:

     Who to cast

  • Someone that has a strong testimonial about the topic at hand
  • A person who deserves recognition for their work on the subject
  • A church member that’s capable of acting naturally in front of the camera

    Who not to cast

  • A church member that’s embroiled in controversy over the topic at hand
  • A subject that isn’t likely to take the photo shoot and/or your time seriously
  • A congregant that isn’t willing to have their photographs shared

Don’t Forget the Autographs

Obtaining model releases from your subjects is a very important step in your DIY photo shoots. I mean, like, critically important. It’s the best way to protect yourself and your church from any legal issues; so don’t forget to be diligent about it.

And although it’s very important, it’s not very hard.  All you need to do is ask the subjects (or their parents) to sign a permission slip or model release that gives you the right to use the photo or video footage in a variety of print and online purposes.

There are hundreds of model release templates to be found with a simple google search. Identify one that you like, print it out and bring (extra) copies with you to your shoot. It’s important to make this agreement in writing, as a verbal agreement definitely won’t suffice. If you plan to photograph or film a big church event, this step needs to take place for every person that’ll be present. Churches and church events aren’t often considered public spaces, which is the requisite for distributing material without permission. A good way to make this process painless is to get the forms filled out beforehand with any other necessary sign-up steps for the event.

Spread the Good News!

Your homegrown media isn’t just great for use during service. There are a lot of other awesome ways to put your creations to work! Think about putting your design to work on the social media front by posting it to your church’s website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. An email newsletter or announcement is also a great place to promote an upcoming service or a previously recorded sermon. Maybe alter your design to serve as a welcoming image for the vestibule? A simple stroll around your church building is a cool way to brainstorm fun places and ways to promote using your design.

In Review

DIY church media is awesome, but it’s important to make sure you cover your bases when you’re photographing or filming. Find an appropriate subject for your shoot and make sure they’ve signed off on a model release. Brainstorm, in advance, various ways that your design can be used to promote the upcoming service, sermon series or event.

In the next (and last) post of this series, we’ll take a look at how to execute your design and enhance it with text, filters and other goodies. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts about casting, obtaining model releases and brainstorming uses for promotional design in the comments section below. Until next time, God bless!

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