The benefits of having excellent photos to complement your parish’s website content

The illuminated manuscript is looked upon as an especially unique art form as each one – created well before the printing press – was adorned by a person with a steady hand and a very detail-oriented mind. These manuscripts were elegantly illuminated and the images were a fitting complement to the beautiful words from scripture or the hymns that they adorned.

Having the right images – great images – to adorn your website and complement your site text can make all the difference on whether someone spends time on your website or moves on to something more visually appealing.

In a similar fashion to how the images illuminating the manuscripts made the scripture pages unique, the images that you post to your website serve to bring a unique feel to your parish website. Your parish website serves as an extension of your ministry and it should do its best to reflect not only beliefs and traditions of the Orthodox Christian Church but also the life of your parish and its ministries.

As careful thought and time are put into developing or editing the written content for your website, the same amount of effort should be put towards the visual content as well.

How can images enhance your website?

  • As the saying goes, they can be “worth a thousand words: The right images to complement a body of text can not only beautify the page but can also help with breaking up especially long pages and provide a much needed rest spot for the eyes.
  • Visual Connection: When added to a biography or to the written life of a Saint, the right images can serve as a way to connect the viewer to a particular person whether contemporary or from the past.
  • Advertisement: The right photos taken during Church services, ministry gatherings, or parish events such as picnics or festivals, can serve as a way to capture the interest of your visitors and serve as an invitation to your liturgical services, ministries, and events. 

Now that we have a few examples of the roles that images can serve on your website, how can you best work towards obtaining, choosing, and implementing the right images?

  • If it is possible, use professional photographs. Clean, crisp, well-lit photos of your parish and parish events can bring life to your site. If hiring a photographer is not possible, perhaps there is someone from the community with a steady hand and a good eye for composition can assist you.
  • Less is more! Choosing the best large photos to use rather than using a collection of smaller photos on a page can be more effective.
  • With photo galleries less can also be more.So many website administrators get into the habit of uploading the entire camera memory card to their online gallery after a parish event because it gets something online quickly and easily. Avoid posting images simply for the sake of posting images. Instead, take the extra time to weed out:
    • 1. Multiple shots of the same photo and any unnecessary sequential photos
    • 2. Any photos that might not be considered practical by others viewing the site. Remember, with your photo gallery, you want to be able to tell a visual story with your photos.
  • Be sure that you have the right person working on your sitefor posting images and photos. Here are a few pointers:
    • 1. Images that have a large file size will take too long to display
    • 2. images that are too small or those that are of a poor quality (e.g. they look grainy or “pixelated”) may not be as helpful as you intend them to be
    • 3. images that are too large in size can appear to break page and make it difficult for the visitor to view or navigate the website.
  • Keep ‘em fresh! Update the images on your site regularly. This keeps your website “alive”, shows your viewers that your parish is active, and it shows that there is great care and attention paid to your internet ministry.