Tips, tricks and training: Photos

Training videos

Photography Basics

If you have questions about the basics of photography or copyright issues, check out the four videos created by the Church’s Department of Public Relations about lighting, photography, filming, and copyright and branding.

Do you have a good tip that you want to share or put one of your tips in the video? Feel free to create a video and submit it for review. If it suits, then we will put a link to the video here to enable others to see examples.

Tips from professionals

Taking photos for church use

Important Tips

  • The most important rule is to follow church standards when taking photos. 

    Every photograph that leaves the Church’s Main Directorate, whether taken by official church photographers or provided by members of the Church, will be considered a reflection of church standards. Look at your image from this point of view before you submit any photograph to make sure that there is nothing on it that does not meet church standards.
  • No one gets perfect photos every time. Be prepared to get rid of everything but the best. Find more tips at the

    Because saving digital photos is easy, some people never throw them away. To become a better photographer, you must be able to evaluate whether a photo is really good, even if you are emotionally attached to it because you worked very hard to take it. If this photo is not good enough, you need to admit it. 
    Keep the best; delete the rest.
  • Take test photos to see which shot will be better, and then adjust your settings to get a better photo. 

    Whether you are walking around a place or taking pictures of people, take some test shots to check the lighting, background, settings and placement of people. Once you have taken your test shots, review them and make changes to improve the picture.
  • Look for distracting parts and eliminate them. 

    If the intended object of your photo becomes an insignificant element due to distracting details elsewhere in the picture (such as a head that appears to appear from a post), move around and take the picture from a different angle.
  • Watch out for problematic backgrounds. Change the angle, focal length to blur the background, or change something else to solve the problem. 

    Sometimes a photograph that looks great loses its value because something in the background distracts you from the main subject.
  • Digital photo processing may be your only choice. 

    Sometimes you can get a great shot, but until you change it to make your clothes more modest or change or remove some element from the scene, it will remain worthless. 

    It’s better to solve the problem while taking photos, but it may be necessary to fix something that you did not notice before. 

    You may need to digitally correct certain photographs to meet church standards by deleting emblems or copyrighted elements, or obscuring distracting details.
  • It is important to use today’s technology, but it can also limit the length of time you use a photo. 

    Old brick-sized portable phones — should I talk more? 

    It is important to remember that while we need pictures that use modern technology, we also need to update them regularly. Cell phones and other technologies are quickly becoming obsolete, within about six months; this means that we can use photographs that can be taken with their help, only a limited period of time. We need a constant influx of photographs based on the achievements of modern technology.


  • Take pictures at dawn and dusk. Do not take pictures in the afternoon hours. 

    Light is much better at the beginning and end of the day. It is softer and always leads to a better result. Photos taken in the middle of the day have too much contrast and are usually the least interesting. Avoid taking pictures from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • If the light is not good, leave your camera in your bag. 

    The secret to great photography in excellent lighting. If there is no light, there is no good photo. You can take test photos to see what you would like to shoot under the best conditions, but don’t bother to shoot if the lighting is poor. If it is cloudy, lighting may be enough to photograph people, but you will not have enough light to take pictures of buildings or temples.
  • Use the flash only to illuminate faces that are in the shade in full sunlight. 

    When photographing in bright light, sometimes faces are in shadow. One way to help improve photos in such a situation is to have your models turn their backs to the sun so that they are highlighted, and then you use the flash to lighten their faces. You can also use a white sheet or other white surface to direct light onto faces. Do not forget to ask those you photograph to take off the dark glasses that may be on them.


  • Find people who feel at ease in front of the camera. 

    People who are nervous or clench their fists because they feel uncomfortable will not look calm in the photo. Wait a moment to allow models to feel comfortable and free before starting to shoot.
  • If there should be more than one person in the photo, place these people very close to each other, even if it seems too close. Gaps between people make photos unsuccessful. 

    The convenient distance that separates from others when standing or sitting together under normal conditions usually looks too large in photographs. Gaps between people become noticeable when you look at a photo. Place people close together and take some test shots to see if the distance between them is suitable.
  • Come closer and make your subject the main part of the photo. 

    In many of the photographs presented, the subject is too small. To arouse interest in the photo, change the image scale or move closer to your subject and make the person the center of the picture.
  • Be careful about what people are wearing. People in your photographs should be dressed in modest clothing that meets church standards. 

    Modesty is important. Photographs in which women are wearing dresses or other clothes too short or too open cannot be used. Sometimes you have no choice but to pin your clothes with pins to make them more modest before you start taking pictures. 

    However, to be modest, clothing should not necessarily cover the neck or the entire body to the wrists or ankles.

    Men should be clean-shaven, and if they are in a church setting in the photograph, they should wear white shirts and appropriate ties. Ties should not be loosened or hung below the open collar.
  • If possible, have people bring along a few changes of clothing. Make sure each participant’s clothing matches the other elements of the scene. If a person’s clothing is distracting, ask him to change it to something more suitable. Avoid too trendy or flashy clothes. 

    Clothing that is very distracting can easily become the subject of photography and hide what you really would like to draw people’s attention to. Look for details of clothing that do not match the rest of the photo, such as a non-harmonizing color or inappropriate style.

    Fashionable clothes quickly become irrelevant and limits the period of use of the photo. Choose styles that don’t change so much over time and give your photos a longer life. Clothing with large emblems that cannot be retouched or cut out should be avoided. Small emblems, if very visible, can also be a problem.


  • First take a walk around and try to find the best angle for shooting. 

    Before taking a photo, take the time to look at the subject from many different angles. Look for the very angle from which you will get a great shot. 

    Always look for that photo of the temple that would be good enough to present to couples as a souvenir about the temple where they married.
  • Remove vehicles from the pictures. 

    The vehicles in the photo can distract viewers from thinking about the temple.
  • If you cannot get a good picture of the temple during the morning or evening hours, because sunlight never falls on its facade, wait for dusk. Lighting will turn on, but the sky will still be light enough to take a good shot. 

    In some temples, the sun does not fall on the facade of the building, no matter what time of day you shoot. You may need to wait until the lights turn on to take the best shot. 

    When church photographers take pictures of temples, they can return five or six times during the day to check lighting and take the best shot. It takes some dedication to take your best shot of the temple.
  • Stand high enough so that not the trees, shrubs or flowers, but the temple is the main center of photography. 

    In many of the temple photographs shown, shrubs and plants become the main feature instead of serving as a decoration for the building.