Always having Insta ready photos on hand can be a challenge because of the ebb and flow of volunteers, not having a system in place, or not knowing what makes a good photo. In this post, you’ll learn how to never run out of Instagram ready church photos.

The hacks I am going to chat about will take some planning ahead. This planning will 100% pay off later when you’re saving tons of time not searching for photos and you are finally feeling confident about your posts. 

Planning = Freedom 

It can be hard to get ahead and plan if you are running around trying to make everything happen, but I promise you this will save you and your team time and level up your Insta. And don’t worry, if you don’t have a photographer, this post will help you too, keep reading.

If you have photos on hand all of the time, you’ll be able to:

  • Have a cohesive vibe to your Instagram grid. 
  • You won’t feel overwhelmed when it’s time to plan your posts for the week. 
  • You’ll have more intentional photos that represent who you are.
  • No more aimless searching and scrolling for good photos

Outline: 5 Hacks To Never Run Out of Insta Ready Photos 

  1. Form a team of iPhoneographers 
  2. Set up your photo galleries like a boss
  3. Preplan your photo shoots 
  4. Plan what you want to take photos of 
  5. Learn to use photo editing presets 

Hack #1: Form a Team of iPhoneographers 

If you already have enough photographers you can skip down to #2! But if you need more hands on deck, stick with me.

It’s great to have a legit photographer. However, you can absolutely get away with people taking iphone photos - aka iphoneographers. And pretty much anyone can learn with practice. I’m serious. You may want to have a couple legit photographers and then a couple iphoneographers for support. 

Choose iphoneographers who have non ancient iphones and seem active in their picture taking. You can choose 1-2 people per service, or a couple people per location.

Next, download this free guide I made for you, get some coffee and snacks, and go through it with the team members you’ve gathered. 

10 Tips for Better Church iPhoneography

Once you've got some photos, how can your team keep them on hand and easy to find? Which brings me to Hack #2.

Hack #2: Set Up Your Photos Galleries Like a Boss

I’m going to walk you through a great way to set up your photo galleries. The goal is to build up these galleries with photos so that they are full of usable photos when you need them. The galleries will be based on topics that you post all of the time so you can easily get what you need. 

Sometimes we feel like Instagram feed posts have to be “live”photos - that you just took - right now. But it doesn’t need to be that way, and shouldn’t be, if you want to have an intentional Instagram feed. Use old photos, no one will know they are from a few months ago. Unless it’s of the Pastor preaching, make sure you get his outfit right lol. 

First, create some fresh folders on Google Drive, Dropbox, or whatever file storage system you use. If you don’t have one, I am a Google Drive girl. 

Label them with the year. Like so:

Next create top level categories that encompass all that you do.

Here’s what I recommend you start with and slightly adjust based on what you do as a church:

Within these folders break it down further and add sub folders for each event, ministry, class, service etc. For services, add the service date to each folder so you can get back to a specific service if needed.

Keep only edited, ready to use photos in these folders. For now, you may need to sweep through your old photos and see if there are any gems you want to add to your new galleries. Or just create a folder called “Archive” and throw all the old stuff in there.

Hack #3: Preplan Your Photo Shoots    

Utilize one photo moment to get 5 similar photos that you can use throughout the year. If you grab some of the high schoolers to take photos of them, do different angles, different people in the photos, different poses and you got yourself 10 Instagram photos to use throughout the year. 

Plan two 2 hour photo shoots throughout the year (you can use iPhones!) to batch photo taking and take a ton of photos for certain galleries we created. For example, gather the staff and take a ton of photos in two outfits, headshots, smiling, laughing, working together etc. 

A quick tip: Take all your planned photos in full shade outside. Never have the light behind someone’s head. This alone, will make your photos look 10x better!

Hack #4: Plan what you want to take photos of 

Your photos need to be meaningful, authentic and capture people’s attention. Mega churches like Elevation do a lot of inspirational quotes and photos of Steven Furtick looking like a model. This may work for your congregation, or it may not.

If you have an allstar design team whipping up good stuff and a Pastor that drops epic quotes every week after working out every day, then you may be able to pull it off. 

You also have to remember, Elevation’s audience is a lot larger than yours, which means different posts serve their audience better. They are posting the right thing for their online audience.

Your content will need to be more specific because your community will most likely want to see photos of your Church, your community, what people have been up to, and how your Church is serving the world.

So what should you be taking photos of?

Here’s a quick list: Pastors using different expressions and taking with people, fun photos of people high fiving, jumping, laughing, giving a thumb’s up, or making funny faces, peoples faces smiling close up enough to be able to see their face well, a variety of church members and leaders, and people volunteering on every team and looking happy.

Here's some examples of what to take photos of:

Positives: Fun pose, in the shade, plain white wall near the church.

Taking advantage of the cloudy day to take more photos outside.

The vibe of your photos make a difference, if everyone looks serious or bored in your photos you’re not going to get across the love you are trying to give. So make sure people are happy in your photos! 

Hack #5 Learn to Use Photo Editing Presets 

This is a game changer. You do not need to be a professional photo editor for this either.

A preset is a set of edits that someone else has created that you can apply to all your photos.

You may need to adjust each photo slightly if you decide to get real serious about it. But even if you only add the same preset to every photo your feed will look like you planned it.

The photos will look nice all together and add consistency to your vibe and branding. Presets make you look better than you are. 

You can buy presets from etsy.com for a few dollars and follow the instructions on how to load the .dng files into the free photo editing app Lightroom.

Once you have them loaded in, all you do is hit a button and the preset is added to your photo! So easy. Through Lightroom you can also edit your photos in bulk as well. 

Here's a before and after, using just one click to add the preset:

Before. This was by a dumpster in a shopping center. Haha!
After one present + warming it up a little bit.

Gathering a team and training everyone isn’t always easy, but it’s possible! By following these 5 hacks you’ll soon have so many great photos to choose from that planning your Instagram will be a breeze!

Here’s 10 Tips for Better Church iPhoneography so your team can really go to the next level. You got this!

Jul 7, 2020
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