Finding the right image at a decent price can be a difficult task when your making a presentation for your sermon or trying to find the image for your website slideshow or church event. For some, having a subscription to a stock photo company certainly fits in the budget. But to most it doesn’t always fit. And going to Google doesn’t always work either since you never know where the pictures are coming from.
There is graphical hope. There are a number of websites that solve this problem. I’ve listed many of the sites below that provide free images for most projects. Granted, you get what you pay for, but if you are creative, you can really benefit from many of these FREE stock photo sites.
Probably one of my favorite free stock sites. It has a number of great images if you type in keywords like “Bible” or “church.” Many of these would be great for your articles or in a slideshow.
I’ve been using this site for years to find free commercial use images to use in articles and for design projects. It is associated with istockphoto.com and has almost 400 thousand images to browse through. Be careful because some images require attribution or notification if used in a commercial project.
Another great site is Picography. There is not much in terms of “Christian” type imagery, but it has a lot of great high-resolution scenic shots that you could use for backgrounds. If you know a graphic designer you could get him or her to design something with a pic you like. Another option is to give Reformed.Media a call. We create custom graphics for Power Point presentations, slides, etc. and can put together a package of graphics that will strengthen your message.
Like the previous site, Unsplash.com has many great high-resolution images that are free to use for any purpose. Perhaps you can find something that fits the main point of your series or message and use it as a graphic for you homepage or powerpoint.
This website recently went through an upgrade and is much easier to search now. I think you can find some good images to use at this site. The search is easy to use and it seems to have quite a bit of material to search through.
FreeDigitalPhotos.net has a lot of images, but be aware that most require an attribution. In addition, they promote more paid options for the use of the images. If you’re looking for blog images this site might help you out. Just don’t forget to give credit to the author.
This site is a little limited in the quality and type of images you might find some gems in it. Plus the images can be used for commercial and personal use.
OTHER SITES WITH FREE PREMIUM GIVEAWAYS
CreationSwap.com premium Christian stock site but it gives away three free images a month and you can choose from among the many hundreds of photos. Some of the photos cannot be download, but there is quite a bit that you can benefit from. This site has some great graphics that can be used for a sermon series and contributors have already made sermon series images for many of the books of the Bible.
Lightstock.com brands itself as “non-cheesy stock photos.” There are some amazing artists and photographers that contribute images to this site. It offers not only images but vector graphics and videos as well. Each month they give away one free video and four free premium photos and illustrations. I’ve found after about a year my Lightstock image folder grows pretty large. Throughout the month they also offer additional free images if you participate in one of their surveys. I’ve found they are a little lacking in imagery that might represent historical reformed images (whatever that might look like) and images seem to lean towards a more contemporary church look. Nevertheless, you will definitely benefit from their free downloads.
iStockPhoto.com has a free weekly giveaway of a photo, vector, video, and audio file. Sometimes they have something that you can use in blog post or a presentation that will fit your need. The files come with a standard file license which allows you to use the images in most scenarios and often times only with once instance.
Just a note of caution when using any of the images on these sites. Please check the licensing of the images before downloading and using them so that you don’t get into any troubles with copyright laws.
If you can’t find exactly what you need in any of these sites you can always buy one from a premium photo site or find a photographer in your church to help you out. It’s always a challenge finding the photo that will fit just right, but many of these sites will surely give you much to work with. Just a note of experience, searching through photo sites is like looking through your Facebook page, you don’t know where the time went, so use the search and be careful not too waste too much time.
There are probably more sites out there so if you know of one drop us a message. I’ll be updating this post when I find more.
NOTE: If you’re a photographer or illustrator and would like to contribute some of your artwork to building a stock photo site that is geared towards Reformed teaching please drop us a line. We have begun this initiative here at Reformed.Media. Email or call. We can discuss pricing and attribution. Soli Deo Gloria!