Let me start with this disclaimer: your church needs to prioritize using real photos of real people from your congregation and community in all of your communications—whether you’re creating a print ad, a social media post, or updating your website. Doing so shows potential visitors who you are as a people, how your building is a tool for ministry, and why your location is a mission field. It also gives them a glimpse of what they can expect if they visit. Your goal should be to show off who your church really is; and this goal is best achieved by using photos taken in and around your church.
However, the reality is that this isn’t always possible for all churches, in all situations. Sometimes, we need to use a stock photo to fill a gap or to communicate a larger message. Lucky for you (and me), stock photography has come a long way in the last several years. While a few years ago stock images were cold, posed, and cheesy, today you can find images for almost any scenario that look warm, candid, and natural. And when photographers are willing to share their captures with the world—everyone benefits.
If you’re looking for free stock photography to use in your church’s graphic design, website, or other collateral, take a look at these websites.