CIY superstart

Other than the occasional wedding, I haven’t gotten to launch myself fully into ‘journalism mode’ for a long time. My favorite work is probably always going to be staging cinematic concept shots (especially really ridiculous ones).

But… there’s something different that you take away from documenting an event that you don’t get when you’re the one directing. It’s fun. Instead of controlling the action, you’re freezing moments that are already in motion; it’s much more about timing and I love the challenge.

So I got super excited when CIY (Christ in Youth) asked me to drive to Tulsa to document their preteen event superstart. I’d worked with CIY before on head & group shots for their staff, so I’d been wanting to see one of their actual events for awhile.

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(staff photo ‘outtakes’…)

Now you gotta understand. A CIY event is no small production. These guys do NOT mess around (well, ok, sometimes they do, but not when it counts)- their teams work like crazy all year brainstorming, creating elaborate sets, working with professional entertainers, planning out a show that will WOW and inspire thousands of kids in each town it’s in.

The crazy thing is, this is just ONE of 6+ experiences that CIY creates each year, for all ages of kids (middle school through high school). And the cool thing is… these guys really love what they do. A lot. And the passion shows.

I didn’t fully realize that until Matt, the production manager for the touring event, turned to me toward the end of the first night (with the biggest smile I’ve seen from him), and said,

‘this is my favorite part. When you can hear them all singing at the same time.’ 

That was a bigger smile on his face than when I used to serve him a venti, double-blended, no whip mocha frappucino every morning back in my Starbucks days. THAT’S saying something. Because he really loves that drink (yes, he’s even pictured with it if you scroll back up).

This was fun. Hope you enjoy a few of my favorite shots… narrowed down from the 2400+ images I took that weekend… 🙂

This was the view of the parking lot, BEFORE it got full. I’ve never seen. so many. church vans. In my entire life…
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worship was led by Yancy, a beautiful singer who knows how to bring the energy.

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CIY teamed up with Real Encounter, a BMX stunt/ministry group. These guys were super fun to watch. Look closely to see the water bottle being knocked off of Drew’s head in the shot below this one.

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the best part for me is getting to tell a fuller story. I didn’t just shoot the performances… I also got to hang out at incredible pizza and on the bus to and from, to show a more in-depth view of the whole experience from the kids’ point of view.

My first time at incredible pizza… it is a tidal wave of sensations, and their cookie pizza could easily be an addiction if this place were in my town.
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I also grabbed a couple of unsuspecting ‘models’ to show off some of CIY’s superstart goodies. Shirts, hats, sunglasses, lanyards, etc…. product/fashion shots on the fly.

These guys were super cute and had no problem hamming it up on the spot.
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candid moment on the bus. Such a great moment that it looks posed, but I swear it isn’t.midwest commercial & event photographer mark n photography ciy superstart event photos_0021b

A few more at the event…

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I’ll end it with my personal favorite. Mr Drew was the MC for the event (as well as the Superstart program director) and I have to give him mad props for holding the stage so well through both laughs and some very emotional moments.

This is him, jumping into a push of the giant ‘something amazing’ button.
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4 comments

  1. Hello! I’m the secretary at Oakland Drive Christian Church, in Portage, Michigan. We support CIY and I’m wondering if I could use the top photo in this post for our May missions letter. No pressure, of course.

    The photographs are all amazing, by the way! I love the shots on the bus.

    • Hi Jessie! Thanks so much for the compliments. 🙂 I greatly enjoy working with CIY and documenting events like this.

      To answer your question…. I would actually check in with Chris Roberts from CIY on that… CIY has paid for full rights on these, so they are the ones that approve usage by other parties. I am sure he would love to help! You can contact him at chris.roberts@ciy.com.

      • Thanks so much– I went with another photo when I ran out of time today, but I’ll contact him if I need more photos later this month. Have a great weekend!


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