Apple Sauce Kids
How to be a free-lance, independent, volunteer Christian photographer ministry
Be your own boss, set your own schedule
May 2, 2017

It should be understood completely and up front that I am using photography/videography to lift up Christ and help other Christian organizations to lift up Christ and share His Word. This is not about being paid or lifting myself up or showing off. As a volunteer Christian photographer, there are lots of church events and opportunities to volunteer your skills to, and many Christian organizations. This is also about drawing people to the church. Many churches have screens that they post verses on and post pictures from the church's special events. People enjoy seeing their family pictures post for every one to see. It is also a loving embracing way for a church to love on the people in the church. Churches should also love on their people by giving those pictures to those people by posting the pictures were they can be down loaded by those people (for free), I'm not talking about printed pictures, these are electronic download, YouTube, FaceBook, etc. It doesn't cost the church hardly anything and it means a lot to the people. Sharing photos and videos are a great way for a church to love on their people.
On the fly portraits: It is important for a church to love on it's people. The people who are doing all of this work! An on the fly Portrait is a Portrait "picture" that is either shot directly on the spot without any special lighting equipment, and yes it can be done, it is not easy but it can be done, or a Portrait created from another picture by means of editing. These skills generally come from years of photography but they are worth developing.

Shooting portraits on the fly: You can do this. It takes a little practice, but you can learn to do this. This requires a real good eye and an understanding that only real, real good close-ups will work. You must have a zoom lense. no tripod, and no carry around lights! You will not have time to use them. This works best on very good sun shiny days in areas with even light. This technique is all about drawing attention to the "PEOPLE" as individuals or small groups of 2-3. The result is a very nice 10"x12" portrait.
Step 1: Do not stage the shot, shoot from a distance. If you can, do not let the person know that you are watching them. Shoot them being themself, not acting or putting on airs. Find a person, perhaps a singer, a special speaker or someone working at a booth, just a regular person. Quietly check the light on the person with your camera. The shutter speed should be 1/125 of a second or faster because the person is moving around. Watch them for a few minutes to learn how they move and what they do. Zoom in, start taking pictures every few seconds that are fairly close, head to waist with a little wiggle room. Pick the best picture. You will throw out most of these pictures.
Step 2: Using your photo editing software pick the best picture, adjust the picture size so that the 10"x12" copy frame fits the picture and forms a nice close-up protrait. Copy the part of the picture in the frame and create a new picture, a portrait. Adjust the Light, color, etc. and you are done.
Making a protrait from an existing picture:Use Step 2 above and just use an existing fairly closeup picture instead to shooting a new picture.

The pictures are also used for advertising, flyers, thanking people for a great job and many other things. This sheet is a complete description of how to do it and not go broke or crazy.
If you’re doing Christian events you should be a Christian with some real knowledge of Christianity and Christian beliefs. You should know some verses, what they mean, and how to use them. You should know the Christian organizations that you are working with and their beliefs. I do occasionally volunteer to help non-Christian not-for-profit organizations. 

The Event:
When I shoot pictures for Christian events I am a volunteer, and I am not being paid. There are benefits in being a volunteer. Everyone has a personal life, family, relatives, etc. and things happen without notice or warning. When you make a commitment to work for someone you should make every effort to be there, or find a substitute! But lets be real, there are times when you simple have to call someone and say that you cannot make it, and that is why a team is helpful. A team, a group of like minded/hearted people, and some times you need to train your team.
I currently help about 6 different Christian organizations on a first come, first served basis. I am like all of the other volunteers that are at the event. I am not stealing jobs from people who make their living with photography because the organizations that I work for cannot afford to pay a photographer. These organizations use the pictures for sharing Christ, flyers, advertising, training, etc. This is not about me, it is all about lifting up Christ to the world. I will bend every effort to do the best job I can do for Christ. I will go the extra miles needed to lift up the cause of Christ with love, honor and respect for Christ and every one that I meet. I will always be helpful, patient, respectful and pleasant. If anyone asks me what I am doing, I tell them, straight up, no smoke and mirrows. I go around to every non-business booth at an event and hand out my business card. I am a child of God and everything I do reflects on Him. The organizations that I work for have never asked me for a printed photograph. Everyone understands up front that they will receive the pictures/video on a DVD. Digital photos/videos on a DVD are just fine, as long as they can copy the pictures off and use them.

Photographic Skills:
Must be interested in serving Christ and His children. Must be at least a highly skilled amateur photographer/videographer. A real camera is preferred but everyone must start where you are. Generally I say no cell phone cameras simply because of poor picture quality. I understand that they are getting better but you still have plastic lenses and poor picture control. If you really look at how they create a zoom effect, you would see that they have a very poor zoom. A good knowledge of Photoshop or equivalent. NO FUNNY FACE PICTURES. You are documenting and event! They want the pictures for advertizing! It is helpful to be retired (I am 68 in 2017), but not mandatory.

What kinds of pictures do I shoot:

  • High quality shots, never show anyone your bad shots!!!!!!!!!!! NEVER!!!!!! You would never show your bad shots to Christ, so don’t show your bad shots to His Children.
  • I will not do simply what is expected of me, but on my own, I will do more. I will take whatever extra pictures/video are needed, useful, or fun, like:
    • people, young and old
    • the pastor, special speakers and their families
    • events, and games
    • background shots to add color/flavor
    • historical shots
    • people, buildings, tents, tables, signs, hats
    • fun, funny, weird
    • cute baby
    • local interest pictures
    • area shots, close ups and wide shots

These extra shots will add human interest and fun to the over-all collection of pictures taken at an event. I shoot the event from one end to the other.
  • I shoot pictures to help the cause of Christ, and my Christian organization, church, etc.
  • I also shoot pictures that I use on the CD/DVD label. These pictures are specifically shot so that I can add text and show a little about the event on the CD/DVD label. I credit the organization, event name, date, my name and phone number on the DVD Label. If additional information is need to be shared I will enclose in the DVD a text message file (item #1). I rename all pictures to the “Event name/date/picture number”. The CD/DVD label file is also saved with the pictures on the CD/DVD. Why would I do that? Because, As sure as Jesus is the son of God, some time in the future, someone is going to come to you and want a copy of that DVD. So, you save copies of everything!!!!!!!!!

Basic Outline of duties:

  • I will continually learn new things so that my skills and equipment will get better.
  • I go through every picture (sometimes as many as 500 shots) and delete every picture that I do not think is at least “good”. I adjust every picture and look for pictures in pictures. If there is a good crop shot or close up in a shot I will make a second shot out of the original shot. I burn the finished pictures on a DVD in file format and make a nice label for each event. The DVDs will cost me less than $.50 each, plus postage.
  • What is a DVD in “File Format”? Any information, pictures, text, etc. that is burned to a CD/DVD in File Format is easy to copy off of the CD/DVD to paste/share anywhere you wish. Some CD/DVD burning formats will not let the average person copy the information/pictures but “File Format” makes it easy for anyone to copy and share pictures and video.
  • I will even take requested pictures and attempt, be sure to get the correct address, to get the pictures to the correct person/place (mail, email, Dropbox, etc.).
  • From experience, I know that once you start “printing pictures on paper” it never ends. It gets completely out of control. I no longer make “prints” of anything for anyone but CDs/DVDs are very easy and cheap to do. If they want prints they can take the CDs/DVDs to a place that makes prints.
  • I never charge for DVDs of pictures. I give the event organization/church/etc. 4 DVDs. The 4 DVDs are for: pastor, board of directors/Elders, Admin office, and one extra in case someone loses theirs. Granted, one DVD would probably be enough but spreading the pictures around a little will help to get you invited back, especially if you have pictures of these people. I have even sent a DVD of the event to a few key people at my own expense. All of the DVDs contain every good shot that was taken at the event. Everything should be completely finished, on DVDs and given to the organization in one (1) week max.

I’m Phil Ebert, Camden, Delaware, USA and I work for Apple Sauce Kids
If you wish to contact me, cell: 1-302-535-4966
Piles of free stuff at Apple Sauce Kids
May 3, 2017