There is no question that images boost post engagement. Some reports say posts with images receive 94% more views. With that in mind, the easiest thing is to search Google for an image to add to each post, right? Not quite. Before you post an image, you must make sure that we have the rights to that image, and that can be tricky.
The safest place to get images for your social media or website post is to use photos you take yourself. However, if your image includes recognizable faces (especially children), make sure you have consent before publishing.
I get it. Not everyone is a professional photographer (including myself) nor has access to an image for every topic. The internet is the easiest place to find an image, but before you embark on your search for that perfect image, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Every image has an owner. Once you take a picture, that picture belongs to you (or your employer) and is protected by copyright law. The same applies to pictures on the internet. If an image does not specify its license, you shouldn’t use it. Here are a few licenses that are safe to use:
Public Domain works are available to the public, and therefore not subject to copyright.
Creative Commons has provided a range of licenses from Creative Commons Zero (CC0) (no copyright) to Attribution, to Attribution-NonCommerial-NoDerivs. Images with a Creative Commons license are available for your use, as long as you follow the guidelines for the assigned license.
10 Favorite Sites for Free Images
Churches or non-profits often don’t have a large budget for stock photos so here are a few of my favorite sites that provide free images:
1. Creation Swap – Excellent resource for free and premium images, graphics, sound and video designed specifically for church use. They also provide resources such as video countdowns, motion loops, etc. Read Creation Swap’s user license as usage is permitted for most single uses, however there are restrictions for uses such as resale, branding and online posting.
2. Freely Photos – Free, high quality Christian stock photos licensed by Creative Commons Zero (CC0)
3. Pixabay – Free images covered by Creative Commons Zero (CC0)
4. Unsplash – Free, high resolution photos under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. Free to do whatever you want.
5. Pexels – Free images and HD videos licensed under Creative Commons Zero (CC0)
6. Google Advanced Image Search – When searching Google images, set the “usage rights” option to filter the license you require
7. Flickr – Select “Advanced” and filter by license
9. Public Domain Pictures – A great resource for public domain images, however beware of the ads. Make sure you are searching in the search bar for the site, not an ad’s search bar
Premium Sites that Offer a “Christian” Category
As a courtesy, it is always best to provide attribution in the image meta or at the bottom of your post, even when not required.
I hope some of these sites help in your quest for the perfect image. If you have other sites that you would like to share, please post in the comments below.