Every photograph and video vibrantly expresses an honest and authentic story. As part of the Pentecostal Church of God family, the images you use play a role in communicating those stories and our brand to the world, so it is important to be selective with imagery (both still and moving) and use it properly.
Photo & Video Guidelines:
When taking photographs or capturing video, it is important to capture authentic moments that invite others into the story. In order to do that, some helpful suggestions include…
Show diversity in age, gender, and ethnicity.
Depict real people living real moments. Try to avoid staged scenes and stiff poses.
When focusing on a subject, capture the emotions they express (faces rather than hands).
Capture the environment and the unique features of your location.
Play with depth and a wide variety of interesting angles and views.
Keep the focus on celebration. There’s nothing better than smiling faces.
Capture people as they interact relationally, both indoors and outside.
Show people in action, whether engaging over a coffee or in passionate worship.
Be sensitive to people and don’t infringe on their privacy
When creating videos specifically, it would prove useful to also…
Identify your intended response and target audience. This will help you navigate the details of what people to choose, music, tempo, length, etc. Be intentional with the look and feel (cinematic rather than a TV broadcast).
Match the movements of your camera to the mood and tempo of the setting. For example, short and quick camera movements wouldn’t match up with a serious moment at the altar.
Create curiosity with your target audience and be sure to include a call to action. The video should leave the audience longing for more and desiring additional information. The call to action provides a clear next step.
Choose video frame rates from a base of 24 or 25 fps. But when recording action scenes like a worship service, it may be beneficial to try different frame rates—regular speed and slow motion.
When filming interviews, create an authentic connection with the subject and their personal experience. Position the camera at eye level and use standard imaging rules, such as the rule of thirds (avoid centering the subject in the frame). Proper lighting is key. Simple large and soft light sources are certainly helpful, but natural light is always best. The background should be related to the subject in some way and not distracting.
It is recommended that you research the specific privacy policies in operation where you are located. In general, please remember to be sensitive to people, especially when they express themselves in vulnerable moments. In these instances especially, it is always best to ask for permission before photographing or recording them. If you choose to utilize the photo, whether digitally or for print, it is also beneficial to obtain permission beforehand. Finally, please be aware: children must have parental consent before being photographed in any circumstance. For these reasons, some churches prepare written disclaimers to clearly explain photo and video intentions, displaying them on select signage in the main entrance areas of the occupied building(s).
If you don’t have a photographer or videographer, that’s okay. We know that not all churches have the luxury of hiring a media team. Fortunately, there are some great online resources available to help you produce quality royalty-free content. For stock photography, check out unsplash.com and pexels.com, and for stock video footage, try storytape.com or stokhub.com.
Though stock material is a tremendous design aid, it is always better to develop your own custom content with the smiling, happy faces of those in your specific church context. Even a simple image capture on an iPhone can be of tremendous value for a website, social media post, or printed resource. But regardless of your chosen method, please avoid these common imagery faux paus:
Avoid using unrealistic stock material. Instead, use natural poses, honest emotion, and real-life circumstances. This will help the target audience sense a level of authenticity in your community of faith.
Avoid using imagery that misinforms the size and scope of an event. If someone sees an image and then arrives at the event only to experience something completely different, it will be difficult to gain their trust moving forward.
Avoid using cliché imagery. Not only do images like this feel dated, but they can also produce a sense of exclusion. For those who are new to church or simply don’t understand, these Christian clichés can make people feel isolated.
© 2019 Pentecostal Church of God. All rights reserved.
International Mission Center
2701 Brown Trail, Bedford, TX 76021
P: 817-554-5900 | E: