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Why Images Matter

Why Images Matter

Posted June 25, 2015 by Jerod Clark

Almost every piece of advice I give in communications will include the idea that you need to use more images to be an optimal storyteller. In fact, I mention it so much, you might be tired of reading about it. But it’s an area where so many churches still struggle today. Whether it’s online or in print communication, your organization can likely be using more images. Here are some reasons why.

Images create an anchor point for a story. Your audience, whether it be your congregation or a new visitor to your website, will be more compelled by image driven stories than long paragraphs of text. Images let you set the tone for your communication. A picture of a person gives a great starting point for the story you’re telling about them. A well-designed illustration can help create an image for what you’ll be talking about in an article. Let images do your introduction to set the framework for what you’ll be saying next.

People have short attention spans. A recent study showed the average attention span is eight seconds. What do you think will grab someone’s attention the quickest, a paragraph of text or a compelling image? It’s important to think about how you’re crafting your initial messages. What can you show and quickly say that will cause people to want to dig deeper into your story? Images with limited text are an intriguing entry point that makes people want to read or watch more.

Pictures give a glimpse of who you really are. There’s a key point to be made here. You can’t tell your true story with stock photography. Paid images have their place, but a major piece of being authentic is showing real people in true settings. Good images give people an instant understanding of what they’ll experience if they visit you in person or attend an event.

We are living in a visual culture. I often hear people say, “If there is not a picture, it didn’t really happen.” Smartphones put a camera in everybody’s hand. Newer social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest are all image or video based. And updates to Twitter and Facebook put emphasis on visual aspects, too. Images are an expected norm in today’s communication culture.

I fully understand that adding more images to your communications might feel like more work. Yet often times, the simplest solution is just remembering to take some pictures at your next church event or gathering. It does take a commitment to think strategically about gathering images and your church may need to set a policy on how you do it. Ultimately, I think you’ll find using images actually means you have to write less.  And more importantly, it will give you a far better chance of creating something people 

Filed under: Communications, Website

About the Author

Jerod Clark

Jerod joined ReFrame Media in 2007 and built Church Juice from scratch. He poured all his passion for branding, marketing, and messaging into the ministry, publishing e-books, blog posts, and speaking at conferences to help churches energize their communications. He also served as ReFrame’s in-house graphic designer. Before beginning his work at Church Juice, Jerod was a local TV news reporter. In 2016, Jerod stepped away from the ministry to pursue interests in marketing and communications on new horizons.

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Comments (2)

  • Brad
    6:30 PM
    Thu, Jun 25, 2015

    Great article!  You imply it in what you wrote.  It might be worth specifically encouraging people to get real life actions shots of people, not buildings.  I see too many church websites in particular that start with a picture of the outside of the church and elements in the building.  I think they do it because they are the easiest high quality shots to get.  These photos may help communicate the vibe of your church and help people recognize your building, but they do not tell the story who your church is and what it is doing.  As you said, this is what draws people in.  These shots can be hard to get, but definitely worth it.

  • Jerod
    8:03 PM
    Thu, Jun 25, 2015

    I absolutely agree with you Brad. Good images show the church in action when people are in the building or out serving others.

    I also understand that a church’s building can be an architectural landmark in the community, so there may be a need to show an image of the building for reference.

    Your comment reminds me of this post from a few years ago: http://churchjuice.reframemedia.com/blog/website-pictures

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