Images are a huge part of your website. They are one of the best ways to draw your audience in, keep their visual interest and make an emotional connection. While not all churches and other organizations may have the budget to hire a photographer and designer to help them put together great images for their website and other materials, there are many ways that you can make the most of what you have.
How to obtain images:
- Understand that Google Images is not your free image library. There are a ton of great images available on the internet, but you must obtain your images legally. Most images that you see on Google Images are copy-righted and are not free for use. You can go to the website where the image is located and see if it lists usage information for the image. If not, contact the website administrator before using.
- Instead of grabbing off of Google images, use stock images. Stock images are images which are available for use, although you typically need to pay for them. Here are some sources that we recommend for finding images for your website:
- Church Visuals has a ton of awesome free downloadable images. Take a few minutes to check out the other awesome resources on their website, too!
- Creationswap, where we used to advertise, offers both free and for sale graphics. You can find the free ones here.
- Stockvault and Stock.xchng are both free sources, although their images are not specifically for churches or Christian schools
- Fotolia is another favorite of ours and one of the most inexpensive stock photo websites.
- Lastly, check out this great list that Church Relevance has put together of images and other resources.
- Look for the talent. Do you have a mom at your school who always seems to be toting her camera around? Is there a guy at the church picnic who always seems to be behind the lens? Ask for their help! Most people are happy to help and this can be a great way to collect the photos that you need on a limited budget.
- And don’t forget to take advantage of our free image gallery! We have many images which are ready to be added to your website. Find the image gallery here.
How to work with what you have:
- Crop well. Avoid chopping at the joints, leave negative space for movement or crop tight. Look for an upcoming blog post from us with more tips on cropping!
- Straighten your horizons. This applies not just for horizons, but for any line, such as a door or wall corner which should be straight.
- Use a free photo editor to edit, add text and interesting texture to the photos. This is a great way to build some graphics for your website to make an announcement or promote an event. You can take an ordinary photo– some grass, a brick wall, or even the donuts on Sunday morning, and turn it into something interesting by adding textures and text. We have a blog post on our favorite free photo editors here.
We think this is a great time to give away 6 more free images! You’ll find them them all in our Image Gallery, in the General album.