Where to Find Free Christian Images
Once you have a website set up, the next step is to find some good photos. It's also normal to need photos if you are making a video, doing a presentation, or creating any other type of multimedia. Finding good-quality Christian photos is especially difficult-- especially if you don't have a budget and would like a free stock photo.
My Favorite Sites for Free Christian Images
Most churches and Christian groups do not have a budget for photography. That's ok-- there are plenty of good free sources for finding the right photo.
Wunderstock: A good all-around choice
Wunderstock has millions of photos freely available for non-profit and commercial use. Although not advertised as specifically Christian, they have a particularly large selection of bible images and bible scenes-- think open bibles, people at bible study, church services, and bible stories. Some images require attribution-- though this is always a nice thing to do anyway.
I also recommend this site because it lets you edit any image online before downloading. So there's no need to jump between Photoshop and PowerPoint or your website. A Spanish version is also available.
Freely Photos: Public Domain Christian Images
Freely Photos is a Christian-owned and operated source of Christian imagery. They have photos for any Christian topic imaginable, and a very large selection of bible photos. They also have more general photos of people, technology, and other themes. Unfortunately the site can sometimes be slow to load.
Free Bible Images: The name says it all
Free Bible Images is a UK-based charity offering a wide range of visuals. They have a lot of illustrations for bible stories, making it a perfect resource for childrens' ministry. This is a good source if you have a very particular bible story you need images for, but much of the content feels dated in 2020. Still, it's a good source to have on-hand. It's my go-to for vacation bible school presentations.
Photopin is a general image bank with a large selection of works. I find it easy to search for a variety of bible stories and Christian topics on this site. This site mainly searches Flickr, which can bring up some weird results but is also good for finding very specific things.
MorgueFile: Request an image you can't find
In journalism parlance, a "morgue file" is place for storing old unused images for future use. This was very handy back in the day, when shooting on film was time-consuming and you couldn't just Google for an image before publishing. One thing I like about the site (but have not tried) is the ability to make a photo request.
For Church work, I find myself jumping between the top three sites on the list quite a bit. While it may be tempting, one thing you should not do is grab any image you find from Google, Pinterest, or Instagram. While your intentions are surely good, you never use a photo without permission-- even if you get credit and no copyright notice is displayed. You should always use a free image website or ask the photographer for permission.
What NOT to do when sourcing images
Keep in mind that even if you think a project you're working on may never be published or you just want to use a certain image as a placeholder, it's always best to source images properly from the start. This isn't because God is watching even when others aren't. I've seen more than a few mix-ups in my career where copyrighted "placeholder" images were used and published accidentally later--- resulting in a bit of a headache when the photographer found out. I also always credit the photographer and link back to the source image so that others know where to find the work for their own project-- it's a nice thing to do.
And of course, don't be afraid of taking your own shots! Very high-quality DSLR cameras can be found for under $500 and can be a very good investment for your church in the long-run. The more we document and share our faith as Christians, the more people will see the light.
This list of free bible image sources isn't all-encompassing. Let me know if you have your own sources and I will see if I can include them here.