Must Have Ministry Photos

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on April 25, 2017

in Facebook, ministry, Photography, website

One of the best things you can do for your website and social media ministry is to take and save good photos all year round. You will be amazed how many times those photos will allow you to create a great Facebook post or convey the perfect message on your website or in a video not only at the time, but at a future date. Also, you never know when the diocese or media organization will request a photo at the last minute and you will be able to deliver it.

When you take photos of events, try to take photos that tell the story of the event today—with people when possible and take some photos that can be used again at a later date.

Examples of photos you want to have on file:

  • the outside of the church or convent/monastery from various angles and in all seasons
  • the stations of the cross
  • statues of Mary, Joseph and the saints
  • stained glass window
  • the sanctuary in all seasons and on special days i.e. Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas, etc.

Annual events—be sure to take some photos that are specific to the event and some that are generic enough to be used another time. For example,

  • nativity scene (s)
  • festivals that have rides—a photo of one of the rides
  • fish dinners, spaghetti dinners, pancake breakfasts, clambakes, barbecues, etc.—a sample plate or the serving table
  • The Easter Vigil—people holding their lit candles
  • New Year’s Eve holy hour (a photo from the back of the chapel/church)

Storing Your Photos

It is not enough to take the photos, you must file them in a way that makes it easy to find them. I recommend that you name the photos using event and date and then put them into folders.  (Don’t forget to have a back-up system for your photos. )

I start a new events folder every year: 2015 Events, 2016 Events, 2017 Events, etc. Then I create sub-folders with the events of the year. Here is my folder list for one parish for 2016. Each sub-folder has photos from those events.

I also create a sub-folder within these sub-folders—I name it the Facebook folder. I usually take more photos than I want to post. I look through all the photos and select the best ones, which I copy into the Facebook folder. Some need to be cropped or straightened or edited in some way. I do the edits and keep them in the Facebook folder.

In addition to the event folders, I have separate folders for building and grounds.

Each parish, religious community, and organization will have its own unique photo library. What does your list look like?

Upload to Facebook

A best practice that I have learned is that it is much easier to create a photo album on Facebook, if the folder you are drawing from has only the photos you want to use. That is the reason for the separate Facebook sub-folder. Now that I have selected these photos and edited them as needed, I can always go to the Facebook folder first to find photos for the website, videos or print.

Remember: Use only good photos. Do not think you have to use every photo that was taken. Be selective.

Use a System that Works for You

We each have to find the storage system that works for us. I have shared mine here. Please tell us yours.

A Webinar to Get Started with Your Ministry Photography

Joe Garcia, senior evangelist and in-house photographer at eCatholic is offering a free webinar on “How to Take Better Photos” on Wednesday, April 26 at 1:00PM Central.  Joe will give pointers on taking better photos and offer suggestions on camera equipment.   The webinar will be recorded and if you are registered, you will receive a link to the recording.
Register in advance for this webinar here.



Ruth April 25, 2017 at 7:32 am

Great information as always. One of our parishioners takes great photos to post on our parish website. I facilitate the parish Facebook page. It never occurred to me to use some of those terrific parish photos already on our website for the parish Facebook page!!! Always enjoy what you share especially for someone like myself who is only “moderately” proficient with technology 😉

Renae B. April 26, 2017 at 11:26 am

One of the ongoing challenges to taking photos can be storage. Photos, especially high resolution ones, can take up a lot of space. There are lots of options if your hard drive or network doesn’t have enormous capacity. Some people use external hard drives. Whatever you use, I’d like to encourage people to have a back up. I use Carbonite and have been very happy with it. I have unlimited space for $60/year which I think is very reasonable.

Just wanted to give back after all that I have received from this forum!

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND May 1, 2017 at 9:28 am

Renae, great point. I use DropBox and an external drive for storage and Carbonite for back-up. Thanks for “giving back.” I always love to hear from readers.