Incorporating photography into your parish communications enhances your message and inspires your parishioners. But where should the images come from? Google has made many things easy for us, but simply typing “church pictures” and using what you find might not be ethical. Since 1989, copyright is presumed on all creative works, which includes photography. The Church has taught for centuries that a laborer has a right to his or her work. With a little know-how, it’s easy to find great images that respect the rights of the artists.
1. Source Locally
With the rise of smartphones, everyone is an amateur photographer! Not all images are created equal, but photos from your own parish events can go a long way towards creating an engaging publication. Invite parishioners to share their gifts! Whether it’s a professional photographer or a teen with a well-curated Instagram account, enlist their talents at your next parish function or program. Then, showcase your vibrant parish in the bulletin, website, or social media. If you’re unsure where to being with these photos, learn more here about the intersection of faith and photography.
2. Legally Use Free Photos
Some websites share photos declared free from copyright under Creative Commons Zero (CC0). This means you can download the photos and copy, modify, distribute, and use them without express permission or providing an attribution. There are several mainstream sites that offer large libraries of these photos. Pixabay, Unsplash, and Pexels are all options with an easy search function. Freely Photos is a Christian site offering Creative Commons images. For a selection of high quality photos that are specifically Catholic, visit One Secret Mission.
3. Make an Investment
Stock photos are available in greater diversity through paid subscriptions, like at Shutterstock or iStock. Websites like PicJumbo or Creation Swap offer some images free, but include more with a premium membership. On many sites, authentically Catholic images can be difficult to come by. For professionally-designed word art, bulletin covers, and a host of other content, LPi offers our Art & Media Portal free to all bulletin customers and at a yearly subscription to other churches.
Where do you find your Catholic photos?