Introduction to choosing images
Good images – more than visual appeal
Websites are very visual, especially these days when people don’t want to read a lot of information. The images you select are a key decision that can:
- impel people to read further, or click on a link,
- illustrate the point you are trying to make, and
- bring a sense of peace and hope to your website visitor.
Space to contemplate
As the saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words. The use of good images with minimal text and plenty of white space helps your website visitors contemplate spiritual concepts. When text and images are successful the “mental atmosphere” of your website gives people a sense that whatever issue they are dealing with can be healed.
“No objectionable pictures…”
A website is public and may be visited by anyone. When choosing images and text consider how those unfamiliar with Christian Science might view the information. Images should be inoffensive and not controversial. See Church Manual, Article XXV, Section 7.
Keep it simple
Think about your local audience and whether they will relate to the image. Keep your message simple and directly relevant to your topic, and relatable to your audience.
The Homepage is the first impression visitors to your website will receive. Make sure the images you use on your Homepage are of high quality, and express the qualities you want your website (and your church) to represent. For example, peace, love, comfort.
It is not necessary to restrict Homepage images to photographs of your church. Your website is as much about helping people in your community find help and healing. Primarily your Homepage is about helping them feel at home, so try to choose images that people can easily relate to.
Consider the needs of the online seeker when choosing both text and images. Why are they coming to your website? Similar to your Reading Room window, your Homepage can be used to showcase products that you have to offer. And like a Reading Room window, the best Homepages give the seeker what they are looking for, without making them hunt through your whole website to find it.
Complement your message
A good image can help to illustrate the spiritual ideas that you want to convey on your web pages. If an image is used without regard for the idea you are trying to express on that page, it will detract from the message rather than help to illustrate it.
The other aspect to consider when choosing an image, is delight. An image of a sunrise or a blossom can be beautiful, but if they are used too often they will lose their impact. Try to be creative and keep a degree of variation and delight throughout your website images. Choose images that make people think about the topic in a fresh way.
How to find the right image
The following articles give some tips on how to select good images for your web pages.
You may also wish to use photographs taken by one of your members. Just remember to objectively assess whether the image helps to illustrate the ideas you are trying to express on that page. Read more in the Images of your branch and community tutorial.
Before using any image it is also important to familiarise yourself with the guidelines contained in the tutorial Avoiding litigation when using images.