Every church or non-profit needs great shots for their website. Most people may do a quick Google image search and find the ones they like best. It may be “easy and free,” but it is actually violating copyright laws. Don’t worry; there are a ton of great sites that you can use to get great free images to use on your site! Here are some of my favorite sites where you can get images for free.
THE BEST OPTION
Your Own Congregation: I highly recommend that you take your own shots. This gives first-time visitors a better grasp of who you are as a church. Every church has a least one person that likes to take photos, so put them to work. Give them a list of the photos you need. I would suggest that you get written permission from people featured in photos. Also, I would highly recommend that you take a close-up of the pastor preaching and the worship team practicing before the service. They may not feel as authentic when you are taking them, but you seem to get the best shots and you aren’t a distraction in the worship service.
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FREE PHOTO OPTIONS
CreationSwap is designed specifically for churches. There is a huge free section where graphic artists share their photos, powerpoint slides, brochures, etc. for churches and other ministries to use for their publicity. There are some great images there! There is also a section where you can buy images at a low cost as well.
Flickr is another great source for images. Many of the images are copyright protected. Don’t use them! If you click on the advanced search option and scroll all the way to the bottom, you can search for images that the photographers allow others to use. Usually they just ask that you give them credit. You will notice that most of the images on the site are from Flickr and give credit to the photographer somewhere on the image. If you find an image that you really like that is copyright protected, don’t be afraid to shoot the photographer an email and ask permission to use their works. I have done this. I get permission about 1/3 of the time.
Unsplash: Not a ton of photos, they only offer 10 free high quality unique photos at at time, but they change them every week. The usually have some awesome nature shots that are awesome for powerpoint slides and general images on our site.
Pixaby. How can you go wrong with copyright-free high resolution images that are FREE! You can search over 150000 free photos, cliparts, and vector graphics or share your own pictures as public domain. It requires a free membership, but I have found some really great images here lately.
Vecteezy! Free vector art. Vecteezy has a HUGE collection of free vector art, vector graphics, illustrator brushes, vector wallpaper backgrounds, silhouettes, and more! It requires a free membership as well, but they offer a variety of stuff.
You can always do a Google search for the image you are looking for and the words “free vector” or “clip art” and see what comes up. There are a ton of sites that offer simple clip art and vectors that you can use as a starting point for an image on your church websites. Please do not use any image you find on Google images. This breaks copyright rules. Just look for websites that offer free vectors.
Lightstock is a Christian-based photo site. All of its photos are geared towards churches. You have to buy credits, but they never expire. Its prices are reasonable,and it offers a weekly free photo as well. The best part is that a portion of its profits goes to charities. Got to love the heart of this company.
StockUnlimited is another great option. They have over 600,000 visuals. I purchased a lifetime subscription and often use their images or vectors for sermon series promotional material, bulletin announcements, and presentation slides. They run specials all the time. You can often get a lifetime subscription for around $90.
Fotolia is another great paid photo site. You can buy a monthly subscription or a certain number of credits. I find that their prices are very reasonable.
If you want to think more about using stock photography, Church Juice has created a great summary that weighs the pros and cons of stock photography. I think it is a great read!
Where do you get your great church website photos?