Photographers In Christian Service

Photographs are one of the most used resources for our website and social media platforms. It’s been slightly over a year since Team PICS’s formation and commissioning into 3:16 Creative, so we decided to catch up with R.Y., Chief Photographer of Team PICS for an inside scoop of the team, their role and journey through 2016.

PICS stands for Photographers In Christian Service (I still have to thank Malcolm for helping me craft the name back in 2009) and as the name suggests, we serve God through the means of photography. We provide high quality photography for weekly Sunday services, baptisms, church camps and other various community events.

As the saying goes, “A picture speaks a thousand words”.

And if you dwell on this thought a little longer, you would realize exactly how powerful a photograph is (and can be) because of its unique ability to capture and freeze an exact moment and emotion in time. It captures a part of a story, locks down a memory and at the right time evokes an emotion with the one who encounters it. Riding on that same train of thought, you would be amazed at how God can use a photograph to comfort a broken soul, lift up a burdened spirit or ignite joy in a hardened heart.

At Team PICS, we don’t just see ourselves as photographers but we are also storytellers. Taking photos of church gives us an amazing opportunity to tell the world the story of church and what it is all about. A simple shot of people praying for each other, sharing a good laugh, or even the expression of liberation seen in baptisms helps others to see God’s love and have a glimpse of what being in God’s family feels like.

3:16 Church Easter Baptism 2016
A Victo-Ros Celebration – A celebratory scene during Easter Baptism 2016. // Photographed by Austen Chua
3:16 Church Easter Baptism 2016
Leading By Example – A daughter watches as her father prays. // Photographed by Joan Lim
3:16 Church Worship Service
A Father’s Love – An intimate moment just before Church Service got underway. // Photographed by Alvin Tan
3:16 Church Baptism Sunday 2016
Liberated! // Photographed by Tay Yi En

Mavis, our 3:16 Productions video chief once said something about putting the stories together and giving them legs. I say Team PICS captures these stories and give them wings!

Speaking of stories, let me tell you a story about a certain mineral. To the uninitiated, they would view this mineral as nothing more than a dull rock, not worth anything and would likely throw it away.

But give it to the miners and those who are about to see its full potential. They will take it back for thorough processing, put it under immense heat and pressure, followed by another cycle of processing and cleaning. When all these processes have completed, you have what the world calls a woman’s best friend – diamond. You would think that God would have created diamonds in its beautiful, sparkling form but instead He had hidden this gem, waiting for someone to find it.

The lesson here is to first view things with its fullest God-given potential, then invest time and effort to polish it, place it under the heat and pressure, and if the diamond is genuine, it will form and sparkle even under these difficult circumstances.

3:16 Church -  Camp Momentum
Brotherhood – Pastor Norman prays over Pastor Joel just before Pastor Joel takes the pulpit. // Photographed by R.Y.
A Night To Honour
Serenity – A cajonera’s quiet moment during a worship session. // Photographed by R.Y.
National Prophecy Conference
The Heavens Opened – A stunning visual just as Pastor Norman recites the Lord’s Prayer. // Photographed by Tay Yi En

This brings me back to my team. Judging from the photographs on the church’s website and social media platforms, you would assume that all the pictures were either taken by myself, professional photographers or at least professionally trained volunteers. But that is far from the truth.

Many of the photographs were taken by volunteers who have never had any professional photography training or experience prior to Team PICS. Some don’t even own a DSLR. All they had was passion, an eagerness to serve God and a desire to learn.

Being an official photographer (whether in 3:16 Church or elsewhere) may seem prestigious, but the prestige comes with hard work and big responsibilities. The team went through on-the-job training, assessments and were introduced to various photography skills and equipment. The photographers had to learn to operate alone and in pairs while understanding the importance of optimizing angles too. Practice is key and a humble spirit for continuous learning is vital.

3:16 Church Baptism Sunday 2016
Serving in the background – Team PICS and 3:16 Production in action during a baptism. // Photographed by R.Y.
3:16 Church Homecoming / Baptism
A Team PICS photographer during a prayer session before Church Service. // Photographed by R.Y.
Equipment all cleaned and readied for third day of Conference. // Photo courtesy of R.Y.

I am very proud of our team as they have not only mastered new skills but have also embraced the right attitude as we concluded the training phase of 2016 on a high with 2 major events over the Easter season.

The team’s passion to serve, dedication to excellence, resilience to pressure and diligence in service have helped them to become the diamonds they are today. The team has come a long way and I am excited to embark on a new milestone together in 2017.

Chief Photographer and Communication Designer, 3:16 Creative


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