Image Libraries for Christian Ministries

(Pay-per-use and Free)

Image Libraries for Christian Ministries

With the advent of high-definition motion and still pictures, the Church has developed a need for high-quality graphic-based communicational images for brochures, banners, booklets, worship slides, web page graphics, sermon titles, and a host of other visual applications. Church media directors, as well as other church staff (secretaries, pastors, teachers, and ministry leaders), need good quick resources for visual support material to complement their biblical content and ministries.

Below is an annotated list of image libraries for ministries (many of them I use). There are two categories. One is pay-per-use libraries and the other category has varying levels of free material. Each category is further broken into General and Christian Oriented. My top general picks are in bold to help you search for the “perfect image.”

Don’t think paid means better quality. Many of the free sites include high-definition graphics and some of the church resource sites are quite good even though they are free. I have found that the paid websites always have good professional material that suites most applications for Christian ministry, but with a little time and searching, you can find almost everything you need on the free sites too.

One word of caution, sites that are not distinctively Christian may include sensual, offensive, or inappropriate pictures mixed in with their topics, so be careful as you scroll through the pictures. This is especially true with pay-per-use and private libraries. I have deliberately not included sites that lack discretion in these areas, yet on occasion, you will find a few images on a couple of sites that are not suitable for church situations.

I hope these lists help you find images that are useful for your ministry. Create a cheat sheet that lists which sites are the most helpful to you. Don’t put more than ten sites on your list or you Post it note and computermight end up searching unnecessarily long in sites that aren’t efficient in locating useful images. Tape this list to the side of your computer monitor for quick reference and you’re off and running.

Steve Fogg is a good resource for Christian image sites and the use of images in ministry. His website has a lot of resources that are helpful for ministry ( Let me know of any graphics libraries you have discovered that support Christian ministry and I might add them to this list. Thanks!

General Pay-per-use Image Libraries for Christian Ministries

(sensual photos found in most paid libraries)

  •                                  $5 per day apx .33 pic / must subscribe
  •                                  millions of professional pictures (subscription is expensive)
  •                     $1.50 to .33 per pic (purchased by istockphoto)
  •                    pictures sold by credits, credits cost about .50 each
  •                       paid and free pics (must register) includes short video clips
  •                                 $250 month/ apx $1 per pic (affiliate possible)
  •                           subscription service .33 pic ($3-$12 per photo)
  •                       London based famous pics and multiple libraries (;;
  •                       $ 10 pic/ 3 credits (affiliate possible)
  •                           basic pics 800 X 600 pixels (offers free photo class)
  •                       subscription service .33 pic (affiliate possible)
  •                   $.05 per image/ many free images too (associated with dreamstime)
  •                          $10 pic / 10 images per month for $30
  •                               $25 and up per pic
  •                              10 free every 10 days (scenic)

Christian Oriented Pay-per-use Image Libraries for Christian Ministries

  •                                     has Christian topics (various subscription plans)
  •                             $59 year for over 20 categories
  •             $5 picture, professional and very creative images
  •                    $249 year for stills and motion graphics
  •                              $10 per pic, lots of high definition pictures
  •                              $17-month minimum membership (free trial)
  •             mini-movies, motion bMini-movies stills for sale

General Free Image Libraries for Christian Ministries

  •                        some free and paid pictures (need to register, limited free pics)
  •                                  similar to unsplash stills, very nice
  •                                     requires a yahoo account and subject to various restrictions
  •                                limited free pics (requires attribution)
  •                           associated with istockphoto (need to register) excellent pics
  •                    beautiful nature scenes for backgrounds
  •                                  must give attribution, premium license at a cost (wallpaper, photos, etc.)
  •                     free is low resolution/ $3 to $10 per pic (registration needed and give attribution)
  •                    easy to use website (related to pictures of objects
  •                       small library (related to a paid service)
  •                   need to register to download (great pics)
  •                      real life scenes
  •                       high-res pics in several categories (humorous faces)
  •                            textures are very useful for backgrounds
  •                      small but useful gallery of pics/ web designs (attribution required)
  •                               Southern Californian offering his scenic pics for free
  •                                author died, but pics are still offered free (limited library)
  •                           good pics and free photo class (linked to 6 other sites)
  •                               antique photos (large library) NEW OLD STOCK
  •                              must give attribution (average quality pics)
  •                                   requests a donation per pic
  •                          videos and graphics for free
  •                                pics especially having to do with food, but lots of other things
  •                               70 free evocative pics
  •                                  lots of quality scenery pics
  •          PPT templates (basic)
  •            public domain sight managed by an individual (depository)
  •                                large organized simple pics, very good (attribution required)
  •                      some free PPT slides (need to register)
  •                              must give attribution (no people pics)
  •                  associated with dreamstime but free
  •                                free and paid pics (shutterstock affiliate)
  •                                 photos are categorized for ease of use
  •                           aerial photos from a private collection (attribution required)
  •                                         pic from the government
  •                                       pics from space/ new horizon image gallery (excellent space pics)
  •                              pics of general interest  (categories)
  •                         NOAA photo library of weather/ earth
  •                           some professional/ amateur pics
  •                                beautiful photos, able to search using keywords
  •                              professional photos (includes religious topics)

Christian Oriented Free Image Libraries for Christian Ministries

  •                          church’s previous artwork offered freely
  •                   logos, graphics, short videos (some motions are pay-based)
  •                  the blog for
  •           line drawings, clip art images (over 30 categories)
  •                              good abstract backgrounds, both stills and motion
  •                          photos are topical
  •                     photos and cartoons organized by scripture references
  •                   banner type pictures (some are pretty basic)
  •                           8 categories relate to church activities
  •                      3 free pictures per month; $19 month for a full subscription
  •                                    motion and still graphics
  •                   5 small free collections
  •                            themed graphic packaged they designed and offer freely
  •                             must sign up to use their resources
  •                          contemporary slides and graphics
  •                           free and paid slides and video loops
  •                      sermon and other Christian slides and templates
  •                                     beautiful nature pictures, Christian oriented, no indexing
  •           youth videos, basic motion graphics, drama videos, artwork, stills
  • stuffcanuse.come                           banner graphics for churches and youth groups
  •         kid’s graphics, sermon titles, and other graphics

Libraries of Scripture verses with images

  •                                      pay-per-use professional images (purchase credits)
  •                               large prints for sale
  •                     generally good quality images
  •                  organized by book and topic
  •                      pay-per-use Scripture verses and picture images
  •     private collection of inspirational quotes with Bible reference
  •                       various inspirational quotes including Bible verses
  •        beautiful scripture wallpaper for various applications
  •                 very nice poster quality verses
  •                               can browse by books of the Bible
  •                            biblically themed pictures (with Scripture reference)
  •                         photo storage, affiliated with dreamstime, some verses
  •                has a section for Bible verses

Using Copyrighted Images

There are two types of images on the world wide web. They are non-copyrighted and copyrighted images.Copyright protection

Non-copyrighted images are mentioned as such and can be used for any purpose. Some of the above sites are owned by churches and when they specifically say their images are free to use they are waving their protection under United States copyright law (Title 17). This is also true when images become public domain images. This also includes all government images. The United States government cannot copyright its products (documents and images). All three types are free to use in whatever manner you choose. However, just because an entity (person or organization) chooses to allow their material to be freely used, does not mean another entity can copyright and exclusively own that image. Copyright usage and copyright ownership are two different issues. When in doubt, contact the owner and ask for permission to use their image.

The problem with usage appears with copyrighted materials. To copyright an image is to claim protection under United States copyright law. To acknowledge copyright ownership the federal law requires that the owner attached to their work the word “copyright” or the international copyright symbol © along with the date of copyright and the name of the owner of the copyright. It looks like this: “Copyright © 2017 Jim Klukow.”

Some copyright owners allow their images to be freely used but do not give up the right to that image as their property. Usually, when the image is copyrighted attribution is given to the source (owner of the copyright). You will notice on my website when an image is copyrighted that somewhere in the image (usually at the bottom) a copyright notice is given or an attribution is acknowledged. An attribution looks like this: “Image courtesy of (owner’s name) at (website address).”

Churches have difficulty with the application of copyrighted material due to an exception in Title 17 of the U.S. Code. It states there exists a fair use of copyrighted content (words, pictures, etc.) for educational purposes. Church often reason that since religion includes educating their followers that they are covered under this exemption. That is not correct. Fair use only applies to educational institutions (schools, colleges, universities) and fair use only allows a limited amount of copyrighted material to be used in the class presentations as part of the curriculum. Churches are not recognized by the IRS as educational institutions even though they do a fair amount of educating of their followers (Sunday schools, small group studies, etc.). Churches are religious institutions and if they need to copy copyrighted material (music, studies, and images) they must either purchase a copyright agreement from the source owner or obtain written permission from the copyright holder to use, display, present, and store copyrighted content of any form.

This may sound limiting to ministry but it doesn’t have to be. It’s not hard to obtain permission from authors and many exceptions are made for the sake of the gospel. When an author gives permission it’s important for church users to acknowledge that copyright usage has been permitted and clearly state it. CCLI is a Christian organization that has made it easy for Churches to used copyrighted music in their ministries. By paying a minimal annual fee Churches can have almost unlimited access to use Christian music at church. Subscription fees to image services is another way to get access to almost unlimited use of material for visual purposes.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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