One of the strengths of your synagogue website lies in the quality of its photos. Take a look at our list of the best Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist websites. These congregations are diverse in size, location, and denomination, but they all showcase powerful visuals.
It’s not enough to simply state that you are a warm and welcoming congregation.
At this point, you may be rolling your eyes and saying to yourself “easier said than done.” And, we agree. Finding high-quality photos can be a big challenge for all synagogues, but this is especially true for Conservative and Orthodox shuls who are unable to photograph during Shabbat and other holidays.
You can always head to Getty Images or Adobe Stock to purchase images, but after a while, the costs start to add up. Besides, the overly staged nature of stock photos sometimes lends an inauthentic and impersonal feel to a website. Hiring a professional photographer is an even better option, but this is a financially prohibitive suggestion for many synagogues.
So, what’s a congregation to do?
Your members are already attending your events and snapping away pics on their iPhones. After the event, why not send out an email to attendees asking for photos? You can even experiment with putting out your request via text. With all the photo-taking tools that come on mobile phones nowadays, people are used to taking high-quality photos – i.e., they have enough knowledge of photography to know what it takes to compose a good photograph.
Chances are you already have a great photographer in your community. Send your congregation an email to make your needs known. You’ll be surprised at how many congregants are eager to show off their photography skills to help their synagogue. Ask if he or she is willing to photograph your next big event or to even visit your congregation on a quiet day to photograph the building, stained glass in the sanctuary, or other ritual objects – just avoid taking too many pictures of empty sanctuaries.
Photos that are designated as being a part of the creative commons are pics that you can safely download and use on your website. These photos are free, but you may have to credit the original owner of the image. Learn more about the Creative Commons> >
Gathering high-quality photos is not an easy task, but it’s a must. Your community (and especially your membership committee) will thank you.
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