church web design

The Best Church Websites: 9) Use Quality Images

Written by Paul Steinbrueck

Poor images.

We see them all over the place.

One place we should never see them is on church websites.  To have the best Christian website for your church, it’s important to use quality images.  In this post, we’ll discuss why quality images are important, and look at the ongoing debate about whether stock images should be used.

Why are quality images important?

It’s important to consider why we use images in the first place. You’ve heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” – perhaps a thousand words is selling it short. When an image is used on a church website it tells your website visitors a lot about your church – what is important to your church, what the people at your church are like, how they look, what they like to do and more.

What happens when poor images are used on a website?

When a church puts images on their website that are blurry, stretched, not cropped correctly, or include poor text overlays, there are several negative things that happen with website visitors. Website visitors thinking…

  • Do they not know how bad these look or do they just not care?
  • If they don’t know or don’t care about the images on their website, what else does the church do poorly that they either don’t know or don’t care about – the music? children’s ministry?

Often times when a poor image used, it distracts from everything else the website is attempting to communicate.

On the other hand, we don’t want to mislead people with the images we use. We don’t want our images to imply we’re more ethnically diverse that we really are, or our facilities are grander than they really are, or everyone is always joyful when they’re not.

Use quality images on your website, not to wow people with the images but to help them understand and focus on the message.

best church websites - quality images

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How do you get good, quality images?

  1. Assign the task of taking good pictures to someone who has an aptitude for photography & likes to take good pictures.  This may seem like a no-brainer but unless you find someone who enjoys taking good pictures, has the ability/equipment to do it, and are intentional in asking them to do it, it won’t happen.
  2. Use stock photography.  There is an ongoing conversation about whether a church website should use stock photography.  Jerod from ChurchJuice wrote a good article that discusses this topic.  Rather than re-hash the points he made, go read that article.

Personally, I think that a church should use original photography whenever possible.  Original photos are more genuine than stock images and show visitors that the church is made up of flawed people, not perfect models.  However, I also think it is better to use stock photography than poor images that are either blurry, stretched, or not the correct size. My recommendation is to use stock photography only as a temporary solution until you can take good photographs to replace them.

Is your website using poor images?  Do you need to get rid of some images and replace them with good quality images?  Let me know your thoughts below?

Read other posts in this series…

8) Easy to Read  << The Best Church Websites >> 10) Use Accessible Media Files

About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

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