Intro 2: Photographing worship events

Some rules to follow when photographing or filming acts of worship:

Don't use flash. It disturbs people. It ruins the lighting ambience you are trying to photograph.

Be unobtrusive. Don't cause people to be conscious of being photographed. Don't get in the way of the action.

Be sensitive. Don't blatantly photograph someone who is trying to pray or worship. Respect their privacy. Don't make them feel that they have to hurry up or move aside so you can get a shot.

Take part. Don't be a detached observer who's only there for the shots. People feel uncomfortable if their worship is under the microscope. And you will miss what everyone else is experiencing.

Know that you can't photograph everything. If the real content lies in spoken words or silence, music or movies, if the space can only be understood by a moving participant, your still photos will only be a shadow of the real event. Sometimes it's not even worth bothering, you may as well just experience it fully for yourself without distractions.

Filming will capture a wider band of experience, but the constancy of the camera's presence can be obtrusive and it usually requires more light.

Don't photograph moments that will be ruined by a shutter noise, or the visible act of being photographed. Restrain yourself and respect silence, concentration or drama. Sadly this means you will be unable to record some of the best moments. But what matters most is the quality of the worship for those present, not a record for the future.

Be aware that there may be people in the event who are not happy to be photographed. It may not be shyness - at Grace we had someone from an Asian background who was afraid to be seen at a Christian church. We were happy to ensure that she was not in our photos, but we could not be sure that she did not appear in photos taken by visitors. Consequently we now have a disclaimer on our welcome information that by entering Grace you have given your permission to be photographed without your knowledge or further consent, and we cannot be held responsible for how people who are not part of Grace may use or publish their photos. If people have particular issues or questions we suggest that they talk to a member of the team. One answer to the issue of uncontrolled visitor photos would be to forbid all but one official team photographer.

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