An online presence is the church's front porch to the world. Today's world is one in which there is endless amounts of content accessible everywhere via smartphone or tablet. So, it's imperative that churches produce sermons, events, and other media online and in a way that looks professional.
Given many church technology budgets, finding proper camera equipment for high-quality photography isn't always as easy as it sounds. For Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tenn., the solution is equipment rental.
ZOOM RENTALS TO THE RESCUE
Churches don't usually have the budget for sophisticated camera equipment, and Cross Point Church is no different. That's why Cross Point has leveraged a relationship with a company that specializes in equipment rentals, LensRentals, in order to produce beautiful artwork that helps the church connect people to faith and hope.
One exceptional Sunday this past fall, Cross Point Church held baptism services at all six of its locations, including its downtown location, which had recently made the adjustment to have two baptisteries.
"We have always photographed every person being baptized," explains Cross Point communications director, Jacob McGinnis, "and then we immediately print the image. So, we usually have three to four photographers to help alternate shooting, editing and printing for that location."
Of course with this event, there was a need for additional photographers which McGinnis' team didn't have available. Rather than hiring pricey professional photographers, the church worked out a plan to "assign a volunteer runner and to rent several extra cameras to get every baptism documented," shares McGinnis.
The church ended up renting a total of four high-end cameras and four zoom lenses.
"Several times each year, we have photographers willing to help, but they may not own the right lens or lighting to pull off what we need," McGinnis says. "Renting equipment is a win for everyone. For us, it is cheaper than hiring a photographer who owns the gear. For the volunteer, it's a win on two fronts: first, volunteers can give back with their talent. Second, they get to use gear that they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to work with."
ASSETS & PRODUCTION
Jeremy Elder is pastor and video communications production manager for Saddleback Church, which boasts 12 campuses in California. For Elder, the use of rental equipment helps solve emergency situations or last-minute photo shoots that require more gear or personnel than the church has available.
"Trust is key," Elder explains. "I never try out a new vendor or business on a big job first. I start small and let them prove themselves. When they do, I am more apt to continue to use them and on larger jobs."
Drew Cicala, co-owner of LensRentals, says his company can assist a church with everything from building a full package of equipment to helping church leaders diagnose a problem with their own set-up.
"First and foremost, we have a video and photo tech support department that is second to none," Cicala says. "Due to the nature of our business, our tech support has experience with just about every piece of equipment and combination of equipment you might have in the field." He adds, "We have the country's largest video and photo equipment inventory all under one roof, and we're centrally located 10 miles away from the FedEx Superhub in Memphis."
Of course, there are other companies willing to design/layout, manage, and implement their own solutions. So, when Cross Point Church needs additional audio, video, and lighting beyond its supply for an event, it calls in a favor. The church reaches out to third parties to re-establish a relationship and reports the remaining balance in any respective trade budget.
"Cross Point Church has allowed media organizations to use its spaces, stage, and equipment," McGinnis says. "We've helped LensRentals when they needed extra hands, and we have participated in the things they're passionate about."
That approach has led to some great relationships with local businesses and rental companies, both on professional and personal levels. "Once we become friends with our venders," McGinnis explains, "it becomes a great partnership."