Church website photos will make or break your website. The wrong photos can create distrust, while great photos can get a potential visitor planning their visit before they even realize it.
In today’s episode, we’re sharing 5 church website photo rules for your church website.
Pretty photos may look nice on your church website, but they will do nothing to attract new guests.
In fact, when you use photos incorrectly, you’ll end up confusing your potential guests.
So here are the top mistakes you need to avoid and start getting web visitors planning a visit to your church…
Avoid Using Pictures That Have Nothing To Do With You Or Your Message
Justin’s church in the Rio Grande Valley has only seen snow three times in its entire history and the average temperature for the area is around 86 degrees. There is no reason there should be snowy mountains and trees on the website.
Yes, it looks pretty, but it’s not representative of the church or the area. Web visitors will be confused and maybe even think this church is not in the area.
Make sure the images you use reflect your church, your area, and your culture.
Also, don’t include photos that clash with your message. This one’s obvious, but use pictures that match the page they’re on. Don’t put pictures of youth on your senior page, or pictures of men on your women’s page.
It’s a “duh” thing…but we see it far too often.
Be Extremely Careful With Stock Photos
Stock photography is more than models dressed in different outfits standing in different poses.
This is what we often think of when we say, “avoid stock photography.” Don’t use these photos. Use pictures of your actual church folk.
One stock photo that is okay to use is pictures of objects. If you need a picture of a Bible or cross, knock yourself out using stock photography.
But when it comes to people, use your own. Perfect photos of perfect people scream FAKE!!!!
Web visitors would rather see imperfect photos of your church over stock photos of models.
Avoid Low-Quality Images
Screen resolution is at an all-time high. Older, low-resolution photos don’t look good anymore.
Photos that look dated can be low-quality too…when we spot The Rachel haircut, we know it’s out of date.
Use an actual camera or a newer smartphone to start collecting photos for church. Or better yet, bring in a pro photographer to get the pics you need.
That said, a lower quality photo of your church is better than high-quality stock photography.
Which brings us to the photos you should actually use…
Use Photos Of Your Own People
There’s nothing worse than seeing a picture of people you’d fit in with on a website, but after visiting you discover actual membership looks nothing like what you saw.
When you use pictures that aren’t from you…you’re effectively lying to your web visitors. It might be well-meaning, but it’s lying.
Not only that, when people spot stock photography, they begin thinking, “why aren’t you showing me photos of your church…what are you hiding?”
It’s better to have photos of your people on your church website, even if it’s not exactly who you want to be just yet.
Use Pictures That Back Up Your Claims
It doesn’t matter what you say if you can’t show it.
If you say you’re mission-focused but you only show pictures of worship in the auditorium…web visitors won’t believe you.
A picture is worth 1,000 words…so pictures will show who you are more than text.
Whatever you say, back it up with a picture.
Use Pictures You Can Imagine Yourself In
This one takes some creativity. Once you get away from stock photos, you open yourself up to using pictures that almost seem first-person.
Pics of the playground, the coffee bar, and worship allow the web visitor to envision themselves involved.
And when people are actually in the pictures, your web visitors start to imagine their family or themselves interacting with those folk. They see the kids their daughter will play with, the smiles they’ll see, or the donut they’ll eat.
Images that show vibrancy, life, and action show you’re not a dead church. And these pictures allow web visitors mentally check-in to what’s happening.
Blog Post Bonus: Evoke Emotion
We’re created with emotions. We make irrational decisions because of emotions. So use our humanity to your advantage.
Use pictures of life in your church. Show the beautiful babies smiling, the children running, the youth in deep worship, the senior hugging, the triumphant baptism candidate fist pumping after coming out of the water.
These types of pictures are not posed. They’re candid. They snapshots of life in the church.
When you use these moving images (as opposed to framed, posed, and lifeless), a bit of nostalgia and desire to belong kicks in.
Emotion often gets us in trouble, but you can use it to your advantage to further compel someone to finally make a life-changing visit.
Sometimes when designing a church website, we get hung up on telling instead of showing.
Your church website photos should reflect your church life and culture. Don’t pull from other sources. Instead, source your own, even if it might be a little low-quality (you can still get better shots).
And whatever you say on your website, back it up with a photo. Don’t be the church that talks the talk but can’t prove you walk the walk.
And to really get your church website photos attracting new guests, use images of the church in action. These types of photos will get people imagining their visit and participation.
If your church website photos can get people imagining themselves at the church, you’re 75% of the way to getting that first visit.
What’s your biggest question when redesigning your church website? Leave a comment below and we might do a show about it!
But, if you live in Montana like we do (Kalispell, MT) then pictures with “snowy” mountian tops is appropriate.
Of course, knock yourself out! But make sure it’s not all snowy mountains 🙂