Previously I asked if we can set a better example in how we use photos, images and other visual media in our online and offline publishing, particularly for church marketing materials (e.g. brochures, church bulletins, event invites, sermon media, posters, banners and so on).
In this post I’ve collected together a range of websites and content libraries offering church media that’s free to share and adapt. Whether you’re a cash-strapped church planter, the office secretary asked to put together the bulletin, or the only media/tech volunteer in your church, hopefully there’s something helpful here for you.
Creationswap (formerly CreativeMYK) – Chances are if your pastor’s asked you to make something, someone else has already had to deal with that request. On Creationswap, you can can search their gallery for free and paid resources, including still graphics (logos, slides, photos, vector art), print ready designs (postcards, bulletins, banners) and even video clips. Their FAQ page explains that the artwork can be used for anything except as the “logo/brand” of an organisation. Most images are offered as .jpg, but some are offered as .psd files, for which you’ll need a free image editor to open it (here’s a list of 10).
Vintage Church Resources – Hundreds of free resources here including graphics, web, print, video and outlines (e.g. the one above). VCR offer the original Photoshop and Illustrator files as well if you’d like to tweak things. If you don’t know how, they offer freelance design services to help you customise things specific to your church’s needs.
Open.Lifechurch.tv – The creators of the YouVersion Bible app have an entire library of LifeChurch.tv creative materials made available for non-commercial use — at absolutely no charge. Materials include outlines from a wide variety of message series, complete with corresponding promotional design graphics and videos, broadcast-quality opening videos and much more (though you’ll need to set up login details).
Wikimedia Commons – Probably the most comprehensive collection of real-world photos and historical images. A lot of images and photos on here can be reused and shared. It depends on each photo, but clicking on them will give you a page with the image and its license details (for example here). There’s even a simple “Use this file on the web” button that gives the embed code for including the picture on your blogpost.
Flickr offers lots of photography that might be helpful. To find photos you’re allowed to share and adapt, use the advanced search function and check the options under the Creative Commons section (alternatively, you can use third-party search tools like Compfight and Photopin for this bit).
Then you can simply use the share button on the top of the page:
It’s also worth noting that you can also freely use and share photos from any US government employee (e.g. official White House photography) and works that have lapsed into the public domain (e.g. the Library of Congress archive photos).
It may be that you can’t find what you’re looking for. Here’s a few sites that offer images for purchase:
- Lightstock – Christian-themed royalty-free stock photos from $5.
- Churchlooks – A smaller site with mostly paid options. It has some well-designed sermon graphics though – for example, I really like the Exodus burning bush one here.
- iStock Photo – For general stock photography with stuff from $1.