This page is for those who are interested in serving, are preparing to serve, or are already serving as a Church-service missionary photographer or videographer, taking and submitting photos or videos for Church and member use.
As a Church-service missionary photographer or videographer, you will help the Church and members share the gospel using your photography or videography talents.
By being a part of the create.lds.org project, you will be helping members share the gospel online through blogs, websites, and other means. Church leaders have reminded us of the new ways we can share the gospel and “be a powerful force for good in the Church and in the world.”
Your skills will help fill the LDS Media Library and Church media databases with safe, high-quality photos, videos clips, and music that members can use in sharing the gospel online and that Church designers can use in Church projects.
As a Church-service missionary photographer or videographer, you will take photos or video from the Photo Needs List, and at times we will reach out to you to fill immediate needs and special requests received from Church departments. There may be times when these requests will need to be filled within just two or three days. We will look to you to help meet these needs. These photos or video clips may be used on LDS.org, in a Church magazine, on a poster, in a video, or in any of hundreds of other projects.
- Prepare spiritually for this calling by asking for the Lord’s help as you take and edit your photos or video clips.
- Take and upload photos or video clips weekly after making any needed color corrections and minor edits.
- Serve the number of hours per week you have selected to serve. Church-service missions require a minimum of eight hours of service per week.
- Read and be aware of the details of each page in the photo or video section of create.lds.org.
Photo Submission Details
- JPG format
|MP4||H.264||1920 x 1080||30 seconds||10 minutes|
- Apply Now
a. Visit the Church Service Missionary website and request more information.
- Get inspired!
a. Prepare spiritually.
b. See what others have submitted by visiting the Photo Showcase and the Desktop Wallpaper pages for photos or the Featured Video or the Video Showcase for video.
- Familiarize yourself with the Photo Standards or the Video Standards.
- Download the needed releases:
a. Participant release (needed for any identifiable person in your photos).
b. Location release (needed for personal property, locations, and non-Church-owned buildings).
- Know what to submit
a. Download and look over the Photo Needs List. We can use hundreds of variations of photos and video clips of the photos in each category. Most needed are photos and video clips of members.
b. Take photos and video clips of disasters, disaster cleanups, service projects, and Mormon Helping Hands projects, if they happen in your area.
c. Sign up to receive the every-other-week Photo Challenge or monthly Video Challenge emails for a continuous stream of ideas.
d. Review the list of immediate photo needs or video needs at least twice a month.
- Stay connected
a. Participate in the monthly webinars.
b. Follow and like us on Facebook at Create LDS Media.
c. Follow us on Twitter.
- Start taking photos and video
a. To easily get more photos or video clips of members living the gospel, you could volunteer to take free photos of people in your ward for any person or family who will let you also submit the photos or video clips for Church use. Then give them digital copies of the photos or video.
b. If there is a week you can’t take photos or video clips, look through the photos or video clips on your hard drive to see if there are some you would like to submit. Many people have tens of thousands of photos that sit unseen and unappreciated on their hard drive.
c. If that is true for you, submitting some of them could get them seen, used, and appreciated. If you have thousands of photos you would like to submit, please contact us. We may be able to help you with the process.
- Start submitting!
a. Submit your photos through the Helping in the Vineyard site. Submit your videos according to the instructions on the Submit Videos page of create.lds.org.
b. When submitting photos through Vineyard.lds.org, on the agreement where you give the Church an unlimited license to use your photos, leave the first option clicked to allow the Church and members to use the photos you submit.
c. Remember to include the completed releases when submitting photos or video clips that include identifiable people.
Questions and Answers
Are these Church-service missions available worldwide?
Yes. Any professional or highly skilled amateur photographers or videographers anywhere in the world may serve from their home and submit photos or video clips.
How long do Church-service missionary photographers or videographers serve?
You can choose to serve 6, 12, 18, or 24 months.
Do we get credentials or passes that will let us get in to Church facilities?
No. You will not be a credentialed Church photographer. The Church photographers are the only ones who take official photos of General Authorities, indoor temple shots, photos inside chapels, and other official photos used by the Church. If there is a Church farm or building in your area, coordinate with the manager of the facility to see if you can take photos. The manager can contact us if there are questions.
Can we take photos or video clips inside chapels or during Church meetings?
No. Unless given a specific assignment for international congregations, you should not take photos or video clips in the chapel or during any Church meetings. However, you may ask a class meeting in a classroom if they would be willing to remain behind after a class period and let you take photos of them. If you do this, remember to get them to sign a participant release and to obtain signatures from their parents if they are children under 18 years old.
Are travel costs reimbursed?
No. Travel is not required for this missionary service. However, if you are traveling, feel free to take your camera along and capture photos and video clips to submit.
Is there a specific day of the week I should submit photos or video clips?
No. Choose a day that works best for you and submit your photos then. Vineyard is always available on the Internet to submit your photos whenever it is convenient.
Is there a way to coordinate with other Church-service missionary photographers or videographers for a photo walk?
There is not a way for you to contact other missionaries. If you would like to set up a photo walk with other missionaries, let us know and we can send invitations out to other CSM photographers or videographers in the area.
How will I know if there are other CSM photographers or videographers in my area?
We are working on a map that will show which cities have CSM photographers or videographers in them.
If I am only able to work the minimum 8 hours per week, does that need to be on one day?
No, feel free to spread your hours around as you need to. Some will be serving full-time, but even those hours can be spread through the days, evenings, or weekends as you need to fit your schedule. If there are specific questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
Are there meetings where we will get together with other missionaries?
There may be Internet-based meetings where you will be able to participate with other CSM photographers or videographers.
Can I still work while being a Church-service missionary?
Yes. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to work through any issues.
When I submit photos in the Vineyard, which of the two options should I choose: (1) For Church and members, or 2) for Church and affiliates use only.
Option 1. We need you to submit your photos under option one so that we can share the photos with members. This will provide more photos for members to use in their sharing-the-gospel efforts at home and Church and on their websites, blogs, and other electronic, non-commercial efforts.
Why are there two options to submit photos in the Vineyard?
Some professionals have some photos they are reluctant to share with members but that they want to share for the Church to use. Also, sometimes parents feel okay about photos of their children used by the Church but are reluctant to have them shared or used elsewhere. The first option in the Vineyard acceptance agreement shares the photos with the Church and allows the Church to share the photos with members. The second option allows the photos to be used only by the Church and its affiliates. We would prefer that you select option 1 whenever possible—which is automatically selected by default unless you change it—to submit all photos so they are shareable with members.
Will all the photos that I submit as a CSM photographer be accepted?
No. Every photographer will at times have photos that are not accepted. It may be something as simple as submitting two photos that are nearly identical except for the position of a hand. It may be that photos are submitted of the Salt Lake Temple from a location and time of day that has already been shot hundreds of times before. To make sure your photos have a greater chance of being accepted, check them to make sure they are different from each other and are high quality.
Can I crop my photos before submitting them?
Yes. However, be careful to not crop them so small that they become difficult to use because of their small size. Anything smaller than about 1,000 by 1,000 limits where photographs can be used. Small photos can generally be used only on some web pages, so please keep the photos as large as possible.
What are the most needed photos?
Photos of temples and members are most needed. Photos of members of all nations and ethnicities are needed because of the need for all Church projects to include photos of members worldwide. The Photo Needs List shows needed photos in priority order.
Are there restrictions that limit the types of photos I can take?
You can take photos of pretty much anything. Please use the Photo Needs List as you decide what to shoot so that you know what is needed. Photos of members living the gospel are always needed for nearly every Church project.
If I have multiple releases to go with a group of photos, do I need to submit each release with the corresponding photos?
No. To save time you can upload all your photos and all your releases at the same time. Just remember to use the Add Release button to attach the releases and not include them as photos.
What happens if I don’t have a release for a picture I want to upload and there is no way I can get it?
Please do not submit it. For the Church to use a photo, you need to have a release for each identifiable person.
Do I need a release for group photos?
You only need releases for group photos when one or more people in the photos are the focus of attention or stand out from the others in the group. Releases are not required for everyone in the group, just for those few.
Do I need to scan the releases and then submit them?
A hint that will make releases easier for you is to have your models fill out the releases before you start shooting. When you are done with the models, take a picture of the release, and it will be with the correct models when you are uploading photos. Having the releases with the photos will make them easy to select.
If I set up a session with a person or family, how many photos should I submit for them?
Feel free to submit all of the best photos, even if you have dozens. Just make sure that you have different angles, different poses, and different props. Remember that we always need photos of members praying, studying, talking with each other, working, playing, and doing service. Also, have them holding things like scriptures, manuals, cell phones, tablets, and laptop computers whenever possible.
Can we set up photo walks with other photographers or videographers and then get them to submit their photos taken on the walk?
Yes, feel free to gather photographers or videographers and go on photo walks as a way to get photos to submit. You can also get volunteers from your ward or stake to act as models for the photographers. If you do get models from your ward, remind the photographers or videographers that the photos and video clips should not to be used for other purposes.
What are the guidelines on modesty?
Because of the need to present people modestly, regardless of age, please avoid submitting photos of them in sleeveless tops and dresses or short skirts.
Also, we cannot accept photos of people, even children, in swimming suits.
How much editing should I do?
Basic editing is fine. Please do not make major edits to clothing, modify poses, or change basic features of the person’s face or body. The photo needs to be as true to the original as possible. Instead of editing out logos, try to take your photos at an angle to avoid them in your shots. Also, avoid heavy processing.
Can we submit HDR, black-and-white, or sepia-toned photos or photos processed with filters?
Most Church projects have a specific style they are looking for and need color photos with very minimal edits. Processing or changing the photos from the original color generally means the photo will not match the style the designers need. If you submit the original color photo, Church designers can add the styling needed to match the project.
Can we submit photos of people with sunglasses?
You can submit them, but photos of people without sunglasses are preferred and will have a greater chance of being used.
Is there a limit to the number of photos I can submit each week?
While you need to be submitting photos each week, there isn’t a limit on the number you may submit. If there is a week you cannot get out to take photos, feel free to look through the photos you have on your hard drive that have been sitting unseen and unused to select what you would like to submit.
Are there photos that aren’t needed?
Yes. Unless they are exceptional, photos of the Salt Lake Temple, flowers, pets, and typical wedding reception shots are not needed.
As a Church-service missionary photographer or videographer, do I get any extra access to buildings, temple construction sites, and so on?
No. You can take photos of people and places you normally have access to, but please do not go into places with restricted public access, especially construction sites.
How often will I hear about special requests?
We will send out the requests as often as we receive them. We may get one or two weekly, or it may be months between requests from the Church departments or Church designers. However, if, for example, there is a need for photos in Germany, we may contact only the CSM photographers or videographers in that area.
Do I get credited for the pictures I submit?
Photos used in Church magazines often have credit lines, although that may not always be the case. Most other Church products and websites do not include photo credit lines.
Will I get paid for the pictures I submit if they are used?
No. All photos shared by members or submitted by Church-service missionary photographers or videographers will be used without compensation, as stated in the uploading agreement in Vineyard.
Does the Church provide cameras and other equipment for missionaries?
No. Church-service missionary photographers or videographers must be professional or highly skilled photographers or videographers before being called and will use their own equipment to take photos.
What if I need another piece of photography equipment?
For this missionary assignment, you will use your own equipment. Extra equipment is not reimbursed.
Do I have to have an Internet connection to be a Church-service missionary photographer or videographer?
No. However, you will need to have access to an Internet connection to submit your photos or videos.
Who owns the copyright to the photos I submit to the Church?
You own the copyright to all the photos you submit. You give the Church an unlimited license to use the photos and to share them with members of the Church to use for non-commercial, sharing-the-gospel purposes.
Can I use the pictures I submit on personal projects or even sell them?
Yes, since you own the copyright, you are free to use them however you would like. The only restriction is that you cannot sell them to someone and give that person exclusive rights that would limit the rights you have already given the Church.
What if I have a week that I cannot take any photos?
You can look through your hard drive and find photos you have taken in the past to find photos to submit.
For other frequently asked questions, see the FAQ page at create.lds.org.
Photo or project questions? Email us at email@example.com.
Missionary service questions? Email your mission supervisor, Elder Wilson, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.