Ten volunteer photographers and a staff photographer of Wesley Methodist Church gathered for a photography training session on 15 April 2023. It was conducted by fellow church volunteer and freelance photographer Matthias Ho.
Said Matt, as he is fondly known to many at Wesley: “Our objective today is to be re-inspired by both the advanced capabilities of the modern camera and the importance of taking photos for the church.
This was a great opportunity for the team to learn from his expertise. With many newcomers on board, the participants were also able to get to know one another a little more over fellowship.
Henry Lim, team leader of the workshop who has been serving tirelessly at Wesley as a volunteer photographer for 15 years, shares: “I am pleasantly surprised at the positive response and high level of interest in the proposed training programme which augurs well for growing the pool and developing the skills of volunteer photographers for the Communications Ministry of the Church.”
Takeaways from the Workshop
A very patient trainer, Matt shared with the group about various technical aspects of photography, catering to all levels, since the participants came from different photography backgrounds and skill levels. Some had not even used their digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras for years.
Addressing many noteworthy pointers that were easy for beginners to pick up such as the exposure triangle, lighting, and composition, Matt also touched on the more advanced areas of photography such as flash photography, post editing, and work flows.
“Photography is a type of art that tells a story with the power to evoke emotions,” reminded Matt.
With this in mind, we learnt that the angle and composition of our shots should be carefully thought out beforehand because the story or the intended message can be conveyed differently. “For example, a low angle shot can make a subject appear powerful or dominant, while a high angle shot can make them seem vulnerable or small. The use of close-ups and wide shots can also convey different emotions and perspectives,” added Matt.
There was also a professional spin in taking photography more seriously: taking time to plan a photographing session of an event is crucial, such as striking a balance between what the organisers and audience want to see, knowing the agenda and timeline of activities so that the important moments are not missed. This includes knowing the camera and technicalities well so that switching to different modes and settings would not set us back on time.
His sharing was certainly an eye-opening experience for everyone.
Serving God through the Power of Photography
There are many ways we could use photography to serve God.
One upcoming opportunity for the volunteer photographers is the studio shoot being organised to refresh the portrait photographs on our Church website.
“At Wesley Methodist Church, we have many opportunities for our Church members to use their gifts to serve,” says Yeo Su Chen, Chairperson of the Communications Ministry. “Studio portrait photography is a challenging feat on its own, but we are so thankful that Matt, Henry, and Johnny had gamely come on board to help co-organise this workshop. This training has provided the photographers with some useful handles on studio portrait photography. With the digital age, we are hoping to activate more volunteer photographers to work on our multiple photography projects throughout the year.”
See a Scene from A Different Angle
Moving beyond this, Matt also made it a point to remind us that the beauty of photography is its ability to capture the happenings around us or the fleeting moments we might miss. “We freeze a moment in time and preserve it forever,” said Matt. “It also allows us to see the scene from a different perspective, revealing hidden details and nuances that might otherwise go unnoticed. This perspective of photography will certainly enable us to capture moments and stories that show God at work.”
Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Likewise, as a small volunteer photographer community, we learn and grow together through our fellowship with one another. We also seek opportunities to learn from one another, challenge one other to be our best selves, and continually improve and grow.
Says Henry: “The training session and especially the photos used for illustration were so captivating that immediately after this successful workshop, one of the participants contacted me to arrange for another session to further develop and refine shooting skills.”
Do you enjoy photography? Being a volunteer photographer is an incredible way to use your photography talent and hobby to serve in Church. We are looking for volunteer photographers, videographers, and post-videography editors who can help our various ministries to take pictures of events. Volunteers will usually be given three to four weeks’ notice, but on some occasions, the volunteers may be given as little as 24 hours’ notice. If you are interested to serve as a Church photographer, please contact email@example.com