BIG DAY – “Ew, Look At My Hair!” Photos Reveal My Bald Spots

My kids’ first words–almost before “mamama” and “dadada”–were, “I wanna see!”

As soon as they realized that our rectangular devices made images of them, then surely everyone’s device must also hold images of them. At the first sign of a phone, it is right to the pictures app. As soon as a camera is held up, there is a quick pose, a quick snapshot, and little kids running toward the camera saying, “I wanna see!”

Yes. We have created two picture junkies. And we’re working on our third. I am convinced the selfish sin nature of humans is amplified by photographs. It is so easy to spot yourself (and only yourself) in a picture.


When it comes to big days, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!

While I painted a bleak picture of photography, I was poking fun at something that is only halfway true. Photography might somehow enhance a nepotistic mindset in teens, but I think photography serves the overall goals of the day, as well.

Photography captures memories. I remember very little of the trips I have taken unless I go back and review the photos I took along the way.

Photography shows the human side. The Preaching Rally, as a concept, might come across as… weird. A whole Saturday set aside for preaching?! Like… where a guy gets up and yells at you? Three times?! And that’s it? Yep. That’s pretty much what the Preaching Rally is. But it is more than that. It is a group of young people gathering together, having a good time focusing on God’s Word. Pictures help convey the message that Christians are real-life people who actually enjoy their lives as Christians.

Photography helps future promotion. As the years progress, I have a growing library of images that can be used to promote various aspects of the Preaching Rally. If someone wonders what to wear, what we will be doing, what to expect, what games we might play, what the skits will be like, or where they might sit, they can see the pictures on our website or in our promotional materials.

Photography encourages involvement. I am always sad for the people who choose not to come to events at our church. We celebrate things that are important to us, and one of the ways we celebrate is by showing pictures. We reflect on the event by remembering the fun we had together. This encourages those who did not attend to be more involved in future events so they will not miss out on the experience that everyone else seemed to have.


Our Photographers Are Pros

Our church photographers are phenomenal people AND phenomenal photographers. We have two photographers in particular that have shot hundreds of professional quality photos for every event at our church.

For the Preaching Rally in particular, they process a few of their photos as soon as they get home, upload them to our church’s account and message me that the photos are up. We use those photos for printed pictures on our youth room walls, and we put together a “Preaching Rally Review” each year, showing dozens of the top pictures in a bulletin-style handout. In addition, we play a slideshow of their photos on the announcement screen in our foyer so the church can see what took place at the event.

Not everyone may have professional photographers on hand at their churches, but every church has someone who is interested in photography and may have an eye for taking good photos. Even if the photos are on an iphone or a small point-and-shoot camera, getting a photography team together will enhance your event.

Our photographers thought in this level of detail for our first Preaching Rally…

Photography Plan – 2011 Preaching Rally

Schedule for the day
  • 11 to 12 – Session 1 – Bro. Ryan
  • 12 to 12:15 – Break (Outside. Cookies.)
  • 12:15 to 1 – Session 2 – Bryan Samms
    (food prep starts during this session)
  • 1 to 1:40 – Lunch
  • 1:40 to 3 – Session 3 – Bryan Samms

The theme for the preaching rally is surrender. The church will be decorated along the lines of the USS Missouri and the unconditional surrender of Japan to Allied forces at the end of World War II.

  • Sync camera clocks on day of event – helps keep photos in correct sequence
  • Format memory cards
  • Charge batteries and spares
  • Charge flash batteries and spares
  • Clean sensors and primary lenses
  • Determine who’s going to be where – dictates which lenses to keep with you.
  • Shoot RAW if at all possible. This will make white balancing photos super easy.
  • Dress: “Business Casual”
    • Ladies: skirt & blouse
    • Men: dress shirt and slacks
  • Make sure camera clock is accurate (sync with cameras)
  • Format memory cards / ensure enough available tapes
  • Ensure primary and backup batteries are charged and ready to go
  • Consider having a camera mounted on a tripod at the rear of the sanctuary so as to capture general footage of what goes on throughout the day.
  • Will need interaction footage, see shot opportunities below.
  • Dress code: “Business Casual” See above.
Shot opportunities
    • Decoration / setup
      • Anyone available during decoration time?
      • Photo of youth directors of visiting churches
      • Try getting a group shot for their youth activity “scrapbook”
      • Clear face shot of the youth directors. Not sure how to keep track of names though, unless hospitality has name tags in the handout materials. PER BRO. RYAN – WE WILL NOTE THEM
    • Parking Attendants / Greeters
      • Arriving buses
      • People directing cars
      • RAIN PLAN?
    • Food Prep (approx 12:30-12:45)
      • Food being prepared by smiling happy volunteers
      • Shots of teens lined up for lunch. I’m thinking wide angle close to the ground.
      • Attendees being served meal by smiling happy volunteers
    • Registration
      • Attendees receiving programs and other material by smiling happy volunteers
    • Mingling (break & lunch)
      • Cookies
    • Sessions (no flash!)
      • Closeups of speaker from front row area.
      • From orchestra area and/or choir area showing speaker and room full of people
      • Photos showing attendees listening intently to the preaching
      • Photos showing the speaker and the back of our guests (about half way back & all back – both wide and telephoto shots)
      • Keep it discreet, and try not to be a distraction to those listening.
    • Invitation time
      • shots and footage of people kneeling in earnest prayer
      • Try to keep it discreet, people will be making life changing decisions and I’d rather miss a shot than to distract from someone getting saved
    • Skits
      • attendees laughing and smiling
      • actors performing
    • Congregational singing
      • from front of room so you can see that people are singing
      • Shot from midway back center of music director
    • Special Music
      • closeup of singer
      • shot towards audience showing attendees listening
  • Still cameras: Gina  (5dII/T2i), Alyssa  (XT/20D), John  (5dII)
  • Ron  has volunteered the use of his HD video camera
  • John’s older video camera (DV tape based) is available.