When we unleashed religious stock photos this year, the response was incredible. We heard the joy on Twitter and Facebook, and saw a huge spike in downloads over just a few days. We’re thrilled to provide a powerful resource to churches all around the world. In case you’re not aware of Christian stock images or how to use them, we’ve put this brief article together to introduce you the power and potential of this incredible church resource. What Are Christian Stock Photos? Christian stock images are simply digital photos for a Christian or religious purpose. There are other websites devoted to stock imagery, such as Shutterstock, 123rf, and istockphoto. Although such sites are helpful, they are not specifically for churches. Thus, the selection can be limited and unsuitable for church. Stock photos are usually high-definition, and designed to be edited in photo software such as Photoshop. Christian stock photos are designed to cover the variety of themes and events on a church calendar. How Can Religious Stock Imagery Help? We are visual creatures. Our eyes and mind take in visual imagery more readily than words. Pictures attract attention and engage our minds, helping to draw us in to the words that are printed. Stock photos are a useful tool for helping people to look and see rather than just read and understand. They can aid in understanding, enhancing both worship and proclamation in our services. Many of the stock photos we offer can help teachers and preachers illustrate Scriptural truths. Let’s face it. Any effort to proclaim or connect without using pictures runs the risk of being boring. For example, if your bulletin has just words — only words — and no imagery, it gets the job done, right? But if you add pictures — color, imagery, relevance — it increases the overall impact of that piece of paper. Stock imagery is a simple and straightforward way to ignite any form of media for maximum impact. The options are endless, and are limited only by your creativity and passion. Where to Use Them Since the options are endless, we’re not going to try and list all the possible ways to use religious stock imagery. Instead, we’ll just list a few of the great ways that our members have been using religious stock photos. It helps to have photo software such as Photoshop, although free editing software like PicMonkey, GIMP, or Pixlr works fine, too. If you are using the photos in print or projection, most software has some photo editing features (Word, PowerPoint, Pages, Keynote, etc.).
- Sermon Slides – A sermon with pictures, even if its in the background or to the side, can help people to pay attention. Our vast collection of PowerPoint sermons is a good place to start for sermon templates, but stock imagery will always help!
- Worship Slides – Creating a worshipful atmosphere is more than the right music and carefully-chosen songs. It’s also about helping people to worship through creative and careful use of pictures.
- Newsletters – Brighten up a boring newsletter with a great-looking photo in the header or body of the material. Use a great-looking church newsletter template, and spruce it up with stock photos.
- Brochures – You want people to read brochures. Then put pictures on it! A single stock photo, well placed, can engage a viewer’s eyes much faster and more effectively than just printed text. See how we’ve used stock photography in these church flyers.
- Handouts – Do you use handouts in Sunday School, services, or other events? Put a picture on it. You’ll probably find that people pay attention way better.
- Bulletins – Stock photo may be the best thing that ever happened to your bulletins. Just looking through the selection of photos we have will help to generate ideas.
- Blogs – Notice the header image in this post? That’s a stock photo.
- Websites – In addition to using hundreds of website banners, you can adapt our stock images to match exactly what you want to communicate.
Ready to get started? Check out the selection of Christian stock photos. We’re constantly adding more.