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2 Huge Problems with Google Images

2 Huge Problems with Google Images

You can go onto Google today, and receive millions of results when you do an image search. There are two HUGE problems for that.1) Those images are most likely owned by someone. 2) If you use that image on print, it probably won't look very good. 

Hard Learned Lesson

I conducted a Building a Vibrant Parish Seminar in Bismarck, ND. During a discussion on usage of pictures, which I will not get into here, one woman stood up. She told the story on how a ministry leader grabbed a picture on the internet, most likely via a Google search, and used it for some promotional materials. I honestly can't remember what the event was for. Shortly thereafter, the church received a letter, asking for $3,000 for the rights to use that picture. The church was infringing on the copyright of the owner of that picture, who owns all uses of that image. 

Sometimes, you'll find the perfect image that you want to use through a Google search. You're thinking, who will ever notice and find my small Catholic church in North Dakota. Many times, I'm sure most of the time, you'll get away with it. Are you willing to risk it, when there are numerous free and paid websites out there offering stock photos? Spending $5 for that picture you like will allow you to use the image for your website or publication while saving you the fear of receiving a dreadful letter. Plus you'll help the photographer make a living. 

It Probably Won't Look Good in Print

I am by no means an expert on image quality and usage in print. I have however, taken a picture off of Google images to use in the office. After the print, it looked terrible and pixelated, which was fine for my purposes. You'll want to use a better picture for your church bulletin, newsletter, or flyer.

There are some images that are formatted correctly for print (TIF) and some images that are formatted appropriately to use online (JPG, GIF, PNG). You'll want to have a high resolution image to use in print. From our bulletin customer service, 300 dots per inch (DPI) is recommend for print. 72 DPI for online so the image can load faster. 


There are a variety of resources available where you can find royalty free photos. I have listed some of those below along with some paid sites. I have done my best to show which ones are paid which are free. 

Faith Based Picture Resources

Liturgical Publications Inc Art & Media Portal - It's free for bulletin customers or about $40/month for all the downloads you'd like. Free trial with ALBERTS promo code. More than 30,000 pieces. 

CreationSwap Free and paid

Freely - With a name like Freely, I'd hope they would all be free. 

Graceway Media - Free and paid

Non Faith Based with Catholic Pictures

Pixabay - Free

Jay Mantri - Free

HubSpot - Free with email signup

Foter - Free

PicJumbo - Free

Free Images

Free Digital Photos

Free Stock Photos

Dreamstime - Free and paid

Freepik - Mostly Vector Art. Link to Catholic art

Unsplash - Free

Pexels - Free

This is not an extensive list, so please add others that you have found useful in the comments.  

Keith AlbertsKeith Alberts has been providing personal education to church staff for 4 years about the need for easy to use online tools they can simply manage themselves. This includes online giving, websites, social media, and a custom church app. Through LPi, he conducts Building a Vibrant Parish seminars to give best practices of parish communication for Catholic churches in a fun and open setting. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter




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