Bay Leaf Missions

Tips for Taking Pictures and Video

Videos and tips in using your iPhone to help you capture visually what God is doing while your team is serving the community or on a mission trip. This will help your church tremendously in sharing stories with the rest of your church family.

Training Videos

The videos below were created by the International Mission Board's Communications Department to train their staff on taking pictures while on the field. You will hear various branding and references to their personnel. Please ignore those details and only focus on the key concepts. Click the graphics below to watch each video.

Photography and Videography Tips

When taking photos and videos on a mission trip, here are some tips and suggestions of what to look for:

  • First and foremost, clean your cell phone camera lens each time you go to take images or capture b-roll footage. (What is b-roll you ask? It's video footage that we show while someone is talking in a video, which allows us to accent what someone is talking about. Think scenery shots or someone sweeping a hallway.)
  • Use the actual camera on the cell phone, rather than taking images or video through an app on your phone. Turn off all filters and editing functions when taking images or video. This all ensures the highest possible file size that your phone can produce.
  • Do not use the cell phone's zoom function. It's not an actual zoom, instead, it's cropping in on the original resolution, so the end product becomes more heavily distorted/pixelated. "Zoom with your feet!" Physically move in closer to your subject(s), or the action, that is occurring. This also helps eliminate potential distractions within your images and footage.
  • Take both vertical and horizontal still images. Both could be used for photography! When dealing with video, unless specifically requested, we'll need horizontal video.
  • Take a group photo that shows all people together from your trip, bonus points for including some of the environment or surroundings that help share with the photo's viewer where the group trip is serving.
  • Take a portrait of the missionaries you are serving alongside. If serving in a more secure area, consider taking the portrait from behind, or if possible, from above, to better help protect their security.
  • Try to take photos and video in as much good-quality lighting as possible. (Outside during the day, even on cloudy days, is great!)
  • Be careful not to backlight your subject(s) or action. Instead move to where the sunlight/backlight is on your own back as the photographer, and more pleasantly falling on your subject(s)/action occurring.
  • Take images and video of the active parts of your mission trip. Show moments of connectivity or relational imagery showing people within your missions group connecting with those who are serving alongside or being served.
  • Capture the quieter, downtime, more reflective moments, too.
  • Take images and video that show the area being served (wider, more establishing scene-setter type images), as well as detail photos that help showcase the cultural differences or similarities.
  • Consider taking images and video from eye level of those who are being served.
Want to take this with you?

Download the PDF of these tips today.

Download PDF

Questions? Contact a team member.

We'd love answer any questions you have to make sure you are confident while on the field.

Aaron Wilson

Pastor of Missions and Evangelism

Bobby Puffenburger

Communications Director