When photographing your members for a church directory, one of the biggest decisions your photographer will make is choosing the right backdrop for the photos. Your directory makes a statement about your church; and one of the best things about utilizing an online directory service that is in YOUR control is that it allows you to pictorially tell the story of each family or individual in your church. You have the freedom to choose backgrounds that reflect your members’ personalities.
In the past, many churches used traditional blue or gray cloth backdrops. Those made for more formal photos, but they may not have always shown everyone in their best light or captured their personalities. Because you control the photos, one of the best features of an online directory program is that you have unlimited backdrop choices. Outdoor or indoor? Traditional or casual? With so many options, it is easy to be overwhelmed
We are partial to the outdoor backdrops. The natural lighting is better, and greenery seems to play off most skin tones. But “outdoor” is a broad subject. How do you choose the
Good idea: Tall, evergreen shrubs.
Large greenery provides an instant background. Remember, you will be taking close-ups, so one large bush will provide an easy background setting.
Good idea: The church playground.
This is one of our favorite choices. Families of all ages can pose on the swings and slides. These make for fun pictures. It’s also a great way to make sure your younger church members enjoy having their photo taken.
Maybe not a good idea: Broad landscape backdrops like mountains.
Your photo subjects may tend to become lost in a vast background.
People typically think of indoor photos as those taken with blue or gray backdrops. And although that is one option, many churches have beautiful architecture that can provide lovely backdrops.
Stained glass windows are unique to your church and using them as backgrounds honors your church’s history along with showcasing the current members.
Often church foyers have a ‘living room’ type atmosphere with large chairs and sofas. Other churches have large fireplaces in their entryway. These “homey” environments create a relaxing instant backdrop.
Consider using the church’s piano as a gathering focal point for families with musical inclinations.
Traditional backdrops like those we’ve mentioned earlier can be also purchased. Be aware that these backdrops usually require a frame for hanging. A couple of sources for traditional backdrop DH Gate and Kate Backdrop.
Each family has its own personality and story. Don’t feel like every family has to use the same background. Mix and match backgrounds—some may be traditional; others may be more relaxed and casual. If each family uses the same background and pose, your directory will look stiff. Pick that
Check your backdrop for distractions
Before you decide on a location, take a quick look and make sure there is nothing potentially distasteful that could ruin the picture, or other distractions that are simply unattractive. If you are outside, make sure that the subjects are not in front of a road where a passing car or truck or billboard would share the photo. If you are inside, make sure a trashcan or church signage or passersby are not included in the photo.
Churches are especially beautiful during the Christmas season, and the temptation may be to use this occasion to take directory photos. Everyone loves a Christmas tree photo, but keep in mind that once uploaded, you will probably want the pictures to last for a full year. Those Christmas photos may not be as appealing in June or July. Instead, utilize the decorated church and set up photo booths for families to take family and individuals’ Christmas card photos.
As you can see, the sky is the limit (literally) with choosing a backdrop for your church directory photos. Be creative. You’ll find the perfect backdrop mix for your congregation.