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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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Take Your Best Shot

The annual Vacation Bible School photo contest is underway. Facts & Trends, published four times each year and geared toward church staff, conducts the search for best VBS pictures. Last year, Salem Baptist Church in Caroline won.

To enter, send your best VBS shot to:

They offer these photo tips:

1. Get close to the action. Preferably, use a wide angle setting on your camera and get physically close to your subjects, but zoom in if necessary. Get down at the child’s eye level. Becoming a part of the action with your camera will add impact to your photographs. Don’t crop so tightly, though, that the little hands creating a craft are cropped out of the picture.

2. Incorporate children into your VBS pictures. Concentrate on having children in the pictures. If adults are included in the photos, have the adults interacting with the children.

3. Have something in the photograph that says “VBS”. Whether it is a VBS shirt or VBS-themed backgrounds, place kids in the context of Vacation Bible School, and not just any other activity.

4. Be observant. Look for those spontaneous “special” moments that will set your pictures apart from all others.

5. Try to capture the action. A good action shot is usually more interesting than a static posed shot. Be careful of blurred photos.

6. Take several photos of each event. Use different angles or views. The first photograph is seldom the best.

And don’t forget to upload your VBS photos to The Free Lance-Star’s Zoom section.