Your website and social media campaigns can learn from architects. Their craft is a mix of engineering and art that mirrors web professionals. There is a reason the most effective social media posts follow this principle; photos with overlayed text. You should see an example of this above this very post! Telling churches to just add text to a photo is easy advice. This article will explore the many combinations of these two art forms that can yield great results. Yet, I wanted to take the time to dive deeper into this tool and see where there is room to expand.
Types of Images
I will start off with the least desirable option. Stock photography is not as unique, nor is it personal. Yet it is easy to obtain, and gets you up and running quickly. Plus it can help you at a moment's notice. So if you are a new church, or you are late getting a post out, this is a helpful option. Also, please consider using LightStock. They are a stock photo company focused on specifically helping churches.
Add artwork to your site and social media posts to give it a unique look and feel. There are many well-known Renaissance paintings that are public domain pieces. Use some famous works to help connect with older audiences that recognize these pieces. If you have any artists, they can add a few portfolio pieces to your site. You get some great artwork, and they get some exposure.
The most personable experience is also the most time consuming. In previous years, it also requires you to have a regular presence at church events. Yet with the advent of decent cell phone cameras, this obstacle goes away. Nearly anyone at an event can snap a photo. With the help of a quick workshop, you can train visitors to take the best pictures possible.
Posting scripture may seem like a "churchy" thing to do. But it connects with many existing Christians. Limit how often you use this source as you will come across as preaching all the time. Use these as artifacts to share or to encourage.
Often, this has a lot of overlap with scripture, as many Christian songs are based on the psalms. Yet there are many contemporary songs with great catchy lines. As long as your are only citing a short piece of the song and giving the artist credit, this often falls under Fair Use laws. However, I would consult a lawyer before using quotes from modern songs.
There are thousands of great Bible scholars that have summarized a theme or concept in a concise statement. Borrow their words to help inspire others. Quote them, and help inspire others.
Depending on the photo, you will need space for the text to go. Ensure you do not zoom in too much when taking them. Also, do not crop them too tightly when editing them. Leave space for text to exist without interfering too much with the subject of the photo.
There are entire books on fonts, so this brief section will not cover the complexity of that art form. That said, I would suggest using a font that is already used on your church's website. Connect your social media posts with your branding and website. This is a subtle way to link the two entities so visitors feel more welcome.
While I just rambled on about photos and text for quite some time. Obviously I want you to dig into this combinations of artforms. It is powerful and somewhat easy to do. You do not need an art degree to create great images. I hope you found inspiration for new combinations of art. I also hope you begin a regular cadence of posting to social media. They are a powerful tool to reach the unchurched and encourage your existing congregation.
This article was partly inspired by the 99 Percent Invisible podcast, Ep. 59: "Some Other Sign that People Do Not Totally Regret Life"
Photo courtesy of Wally Gobetz