Why I fell in love with Supergirl
Good-looking, legal images for your website
© ToddKuhns - Fotolia.com
I was a late developer. As an 8 year-old I couldn’t see the point of reading books.
Comics were a different matter – my dad used to bring me home boxes of American DC Comics from his secondhand bookshop, and so I devoured the adventures of Superman, Superboy and Batman, got a crush on Supergirl, and learnt to love reading without realising it.
I have to confess that the feelings nascent in my youthful breast towards the Big S’s blonde cousin had a lot to do with what she looked like. One thing which has stayed with me since those heady days of caped crusader adventures is how important the visual is to making an impact. Obviously, images are at the heart of successful comic books or graphic novels.
So often church website photos are weird, small or just poor quality. But many people first and foremost interact visually with the world around them, rather than through text, so that's why your website might only be making half the impact it could.
Now, you don’t need to employ a good-looking girl from the planet Krypton in a short blue dress and red boots to make an impression (although, hey, it could help), so where are you going to find great looking photos?
1) Search for images on Google or take images from other websites
Wrong! See this blog post as to why you’re likely to end up with a BIG legal bill.
2) Take your own photos
You could click away yourself – or even get a pro in to do the job for you, and this may be a good investment. Kingsgate Community Church in Peterborough and Winchester Family Church in, er – have a guess – both employed a professional snapper and it really shows. Note – if taking photos featuring children, ensure that parents are happy with these being used.
Tip: If you want a here’s all of us a big crowd photo, don’t do it if you’re fewer than 100 or so, as it invariably looks like you’re smaller in numbers than you really are. Also, take lots of shots and mix everyone up several times as you shoot – it can give options when you come to choose the final shot – someone’s bound to be pulling a face or child picking their nose and your Photoshop skills may not be up to editing that out.
I recently heard about one church who suggested people come for The Big Group Shot in their national costume – so one woman came dressed as Dr Who’s Tardis. This gave a certain unhelpful feel to the photo. Mixing everyone up meant they eventually got a picture with Lavinia Time-Travelling-Phone-Box well to the back.
3) Use royalty-free image libraries
These are websites which specialise in providing great quality legal images at very competitive prices. There are many but these are a good start:
Tips: Always check the conditions of use. You can also combine search items, for example 'girl blue flower' will produce images containing all three elements, such as a girl with a blue jacket holding a flower.
- dreamstime.com: Make sure you search with the RF (Royalty Free) option on if this is showing. Also, if using images in actual article content rather than a graphic design (e.g. a banner graphic), select the 'Editorial' option where this exists.
4) Find images available under the Creative Commons License
This one’s a bit more tricky, so we’ll cover it in another post, coming soon.
So, upgrade your website with great-looking images and increase it’s impact big-time – and you may not need Supergirl's help after all.
Need help working with images, such as sizing? Want more image library tips? Get them right now via our free webinar: All about images and how to transform your site.
Alistair Birch, 08/11/2011