Getting the picture (1) – Testifying with the camera

To share means to communicate. Photos do not just preserve memories. They can also picture and testify of faith. But, please, no cameras in divine services! But why not? Maybe we should have them, but then with the corresponding know-how. Here is the first article of a new series.

One event, two photographers. Although the woman is in her high heels, she can hardly be heard as she walks around. The guy in his sneakers, on the other hand, is making such a big fuss that everyone’s attention is riveted on him. What the lady photographer has long caught on to, he is obviously blissfully unaware of: photography in divine service is a balancing act between the desire for vivid memories and the need for silence and sanctity.

This does not only apply to photographers who have been commissioned by the Church to take pictures in special divine services on a district level, but also in divine services on a much smaller scale: family occasions such as weddings or baptisms, for example. Who would not have been witness to situations in which half a dozen people had their fingers on the trigger and the sanctity of the occasion beat a hasty retreat.

From a professional’s practical experience

But such disturbances do not have to be: with the right preparation, the proper gear, and above all a sense of etiquette, both ends can be brought together. How this works is explained by in its new series: “Preserving memories”.

The articles are based on the book Photography in Divine Service, which the New Apostolic Church International published in the past year in English and German. The e-book is based on the experience of Oliver Rütten, an editor at Over the year, he has taken about 1.2 million photos, has conducted dozens of photography workshops, and has interacted with hundreds of other photographers.

Before, after, and smack in the middle

And here is what’s coming up:

  • What’s there to photograph? And which motifs are important? These are the basic questions that the series will initially deal with.
  • Good preparation is half the battle. This will be shown by the next parts. On the one hand, it’s about working together with the people involved, on the other hand it’s about the gear.
  • The excitement begins once you are on location. Efficient organisation and good etiquette are the be-all and end-all to avoid becoming a nuisance.
  • Remember to be courteous, but even so your pictures should be good. A basic knowledge of image design is helpful. .
  • On this basis, special motifs and special occasions will be addressed: baptisms, weddings, and the like. There are practical tips and tricks for everything.
  • Once the photos are taken, you can begin with processing the images. What technical touch-up possibilities are there? And what can be published legally?
  • First aid and nine commandments. The last two articles will be about finding solutions to problems.

Article info


Andreas Rother
Media, Congregational life