HomeFeatured6 Fun Cameras to Take Your Church Media Up a Notch
6 Fun Cameras to Take Your Church Media Up a Notch
I love cameras, which help me promote my church and communicate with people. Most church media people or pastors take photos and videos with a phone like the new Apple iPhone 14 or the new Samsung Z Fold 4. Others have a DSLR or a mirrorless camera. Many people use a point-and-shoot they bought for $100-$200. But you can create more creative and fun images with these 6 fun cameras that can take your church media up a notch.
6 Fun Cameras and Their Uses in Church Media
What can you do with these cameras?
Create social media posts that grab attention for your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or more.
Add fun images of your church activities to the above sites or post them to your own website to drive people there more regularly.
Share what groups and ministries in your church do to serve others and fellowship together, like Youth outings, Senior adult events, special programs by the children, or others.
Create art for your church building walls.
Add attractive images to your worship presentations for backgrounds, lyrics, Bible verses, announcements, or attention-grabbing loops before and after services.
Illustrate ideas in your worship service, especially the sermon.
Don’t forget videos, like welcome videos or announcements.
However you use your camera, consider moving beyond the smartphone to something that makes more creative images.
GoPro Hero 11 or Earlier
The GoPro created the “action camera” or at least popularized it. Most people think of them as tools for extreme sports. You can use it for that. If your youth or young adults go skiing, bring a GoPro to take some fantastic shots to show off the following week at church. You can also put them on the youth page of your website or social media. Save the shots or videos to promote the trip next year.
GoPro just released the GoPro Hero 11, and I upgraded my Hero 10. I probably shouldn’t have, but I love having the latest and greatest. It costs $349.99 with a one-year subscription to their cloud backup service. If you buy from other stores, it will cost $100 more. The best deal costs $50 more with 2 extra batteries, a charger that charges up 3 batteries, a nice selfie stick that floats in water, plus a 32GB micro-SD card.
You absolutely should get one accessory for your GoPro. It’s the GoPro Volta, a battery and tripod in one. It costs $129.99. Put the GoPro on the tripod and then plug in the cable to extend your GoPro battery. GoPros are notorious for short battery life, so an external battery like this will help.
DJI Osmo Action 3
I love DJI cameras. The DJI Osmo Action 3 is the competitor to the GoPro above. I post it here because it doesn’t cost as much and has a few cool features you don’t get on the GoPro. First, the price makes it worth a look. For the same price as a GoPro Hero 11, you’ll get the DJI Osmo Action 3 plus some great accessories, like a magnetic connector that you can then snap to an excellent mount for your helmet, to a mount for your car, on a selfie stick, and more. It starts at $329, but the great combo packages run up to $439.
I did a nice slow-motion video of the leaves falling from a treat in my front yard. You could create a looping background out of a video like this for lyrics, or other fall uses in worship. It could also illustrate a sermon idea like a dying spirit that looks healthy but eventually becomes cold and worthless in the kingdom due to no connection with the tree, which is the church.
Which camera would I buy? I’d probably go with the GoPro Hero 11. The Osmo Action 3 produces slightly soft video; some even say their camera shoots blurry videos. Mine is not as bad, but it’s not as sharp as I’d like.
Drone Cameras Like the DJI Mini 3 Pro
Did I say I love DJI? The DJI Mini 3 Pro drone can help you get some fantastic shots of your church property, activities, or general scenery. Use the images or video as slide backgrounds or foreground images to illustrate ideas. I shot the above photo using the bracketing feature on the Mini 3 Pro. It takes 3 or 5 images that are exposed differently so that they are…
2 stops darker
1 stop darker
the main exposure
1 stop brighter
2 stops brighter
If you chose 3 images, you get the primary exposure plus one brighter and one darker.
I took the five shots and put them in a program called Luminar Neo which automatically combines them so that areas where you might see no detail because it’s too bright or too dark, now shows plenty of detail. Tweak the photo to get better overall exposure, detail, and color. Then export it and add the words in a program like Photoshop, Affinity Photo, or Canva.
You can do a lot with a drone. Take photos of activities from above. Don’t forget you can use it for close-up shots too. It makes an excellent tripod for large groups.
I recommend the DJI Mini 3 Pro because it’s a fantastic starter drone. It’s small, which makes it easy to take with you. It also weighs less than 250 grams, which makes it easier to use because larger drones come with additional FAA regulations.
DJI Osmo Pocket 2
Another DJI camera? Yes, because they are crushing it with creativity. The DJI Osmo Pocket 2 is a tiny gimbal camera that fits in your pocket and stays with you all the time. You can also mount it on a tripod or use other cool connections, but it shines as a handheld camera.
I had the first version, and it was pretty good. The 2 improves image quality and stability for $349. You can get it in white or black. There’s a bundle with some great accessories for $499.
The video and images look good. For such a small camera, you’ll get great quality.
Having the camera with you always means you don’t have to worry about carrying around a big camera, and you’ll get more stable shots than most phones.
You can connect it to your phone, giving you a larger image of what the camera’s shooting. Or you can use it standalone, which is how I used the previous version most of the time.
Insta360 Go 2
The Insta360 Go 2 gives users a unique way of shooting 1st-person photos and videos by placing the camera on their chest, a hat, or on their head. You can put it in other places depending on your creativity.
The camera comes with some excellent stabilization, so it looks stable while you’re running or walking around as you wear the camera. The case charges the camera and holds it to give you an instant tripod. It’s so tiny, and you can carry it everywhere.
You’ll get some decent-quality images that you can frame using the app on your phone. Also, the images look pretty good.
The camera costs $300 for a 32GB model, but I’d get the 64GB version at $329.
Insta360 One RS 1-Inch Edition or Insta360 X3
360-degree cameras shoot two photos or videos with two lenses on opposite sides of the camera. The software in the camera stitches the two images together to create a 360-degree photo or video.
I love 360-degree tiny planet photos. They’re fun and show the scene in a unique way that you can’t get with a traditional or phone camera. These images get attention on social media.
The two cameras I recommend come from the same company. Inste360 makes both of these cameras and the Go 2 mentioned above. They started making consumer-grade 360-degree cameras a decade ago. They weren’t great, but today the Insta360 One RS 1-inch Edition shoots professional-quality images. You can do the fun photos above or shoot videos of events.
Our church held its Trunk-or-Treat event on Halloween night to give families an alternative to worldly events. There were people everywhere. Shooting with a traditional camera means you might miss what’s behind you or beside you. With a 360-degree camera, you can shoot it all at once time and then choose later what to focus on by editing in the app on a phone or tablet or on a piece of software on your computer. The video above was shot using the Insta360 One RS 1-inch Edition.
What’s the difference between the Insta360 One X3 and the Insta360 One RS 1-inch Edition? The X3 costs half as much at $450. It has a larger display, so you can better see the settings and the image. The One RS 1-inch has a modular design and better quality lenses for $800. I own the more expensive version and love it. But I do wish mine had a larger display.
Both cameras connect to an app on your phone. The app lets you set the shooting settings, edit the video or photos, and updates the camera. You can also live stream on Facebook or YouTube.
Which of These 6 Fun Cameras Should You Buy?
So which camera should you get? First, if you don’t have anything but a phone, then grab the GoPro Hero 11. The DJI Osmo Action 3 will cost less, so it’s an excellent second choice.
People looking for the most unique and attention-grabbing shots or videos look at a 360 camera. I’d start with the Insta360 E3. It’s cheaper than the RS 1-inch Edition and works great. However, people who want higher-quality images should pay extra for the RS.
A drone is also a fantastic tool. The DJI Mini 3 Pro is the best first drone you can buy right now. However, I also own the DJI Air 2S. It’s bigger and holds up better in the wind. If you plan to shoot near the ocean or up in higher altitude, you might want to consider it instead.
Dr. Kevin Purcell is pastor of High Peak Baptist Church, an author and writer at Church Tech Today (www.churchtechtoday.com). He used to write for a number of other Christian and secular technology and mobile tech sites. Now he's one of the hosts of the Theotek Podcast, which you can find by checking the menu above or over at www.facebook.com/theotekpodcast.