Sometimes one of the hardest things to do for your church’s website is to source content and images. For this reason many churches resort to using stock photography (photos sold to the public for use). You may feel this is a pretty reasonable way for churches to make sure they have high quality images on their site. I’d argue otherwise.
Just say NO to Stock Photography
As a rule of thumb – I would suggest you avoid using stock photography if it is at all possible. Let me tell you why.
Your website tells the story of your Church
Whether you realise it or not – your church’s website is a great way for people, who might be interested in coming along, to get an idea of what to expect. It’s a simple, safe, non-confronting way for them to ‘visit’ your church.
A big part of what shows them what to expect is the photography used throughout the website. It’s a great chance for them to see what a service looks like, the sorts of people who are part of your congregation, what to wear if they come along, and things like that.
If you simply have stock photography – you’re not telling them the whole story. You’re presenting a church made up from all sorts of other churches that photographers have used as ‘models’ for their shoots.
What about stock photos of objects?
You might argue there is a place for stock photography when you need photos of objects that are pretty generic, like Bibles, communion glasses and the like. You might be right.
But the bigger question I would ask – is what value are those generic images communicating at all? Are they helping people to understand what to expect if they visit? Are the helping to share the good news? Or are they simply filling up space because you think you need an image there?
If you’re still going to use Stock Photos?
At least get them from somewhere like Lightstock – who provide amazing ‘non-cheesy’ stock photos for churches. It’s really high quality stuff that often avoids looking like stock.