Hi, everybody. This is my first post on this site. Since this domain is “JeffStapleton.Co,” it shouldn’t be too surprising that my name is Jeff Stapleton. I’m working on my Masters in Web Design and Online Communication through the University of Florida.
I’ve always been interested in art. I took mostly art electives in Jr. High and High School. Drawing and painting (and wood shop, lol) were my favorites. After High School, I spent a few semesters at a community college, working on my basics and taking a few more art classes. In 2004, as a very young adult, I married my adorable wife. I was 20, and she was 21. In an odd series of events, during our wedding, our photographer hired me to be an assistant photographer for the next weekend and beyond. I had dabbled in photography in High School, but this gave me good on-the-job experience. In 2007 we moved to Marshall TX so I could study religion at East Texas Baptist University. There our two kiddos were born.
While at ETBU, I began working as a Student Pastor. In my first few weeks, I was given the opportunity to hone my photography skills with freelance assignments. My primary job was to photograph our D3 football team. Photographing sports has become one of my favorite things to do. I began to branch out from there, covering various other events.
That first year at ETBU, I purchased Lightroom and a CS3 package (PS, Ai, and Id) with a significant student discount. I designed my first photography website with an HTML template and began dabbling in light design work (logos, website images, small print pieces). Not too long after that, I was given the reins of our churches website and took a head-first dive into WordPress. I slowly began to figure out how to make the software do what I wanted it to do…at least, in Photoshop. I graduated from East Texas Baptist University in 2010. This gave me a little more time to hone my design skills and had the opportunity to do much more sports photography. At that time, I began working for East Texas Sports Network as a sideline photographer.
THE PAST FEW YEARS
I began a Masters in Theology in 2011, also through ETBU. In 2013, I was called to be the Student Pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Ennis TX. I pressed pause on the master’s degree (ETBU has no distance program for masters students). Although I was hired as the student pastor, in a few short months, I became the unofficial “media” guy, creating sermon graphics, videos, logos, and maintaining the church’s website. In the fall of 2015, the church hired a new Student Pastor, and I became Media & Communications Pastor. In this new role for the church, I still teach, occasionally preach, and sometimes lead worship, but my primary function is to handle all things media or communications related.
This includes designing all graphics, print and web pieces, social media, photography, videography, and overseeing our communications strategy. It really is a lot to wrap my head around. One of my professional goals, at the moment, is to develop a volunteer base (or an intern or two) who can assist me in some content creation and editing so I can oversee the bigger communications machine.
WHAT I HOPE TO LEARN
In this course, I hope to get a better handle on the marketing and communication aspects of my job.