As a general rule, I don’t pay for stock photos. There are so many amazing free stock photo resources that I don’t see it as a wise business investment, but as I have had clients that needed a lot of religious stock photos, I realized there was a serious shortage of high quality religious stock photos.
I didn’t actually find Lightstock myself, a lovely client pointed it out to me and after checking it out I was really impressed. Even though it’s still painful to pay for stock photos, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet to get the really good stuff. They do a weekly giveaway of a vector, a photo and a free monthly video, so it is worth it to create an account even if you don’t want to spent lots of money there. Sometimes I just download the freebie, then I can use it for projects later on. You can check them out here.
I actually responded to a follow-up email I received with the suggestion that they make all of their image sizes the same price, because their largest images are outrageously expensive. Afterall, it’s the same image, the cheaper version are just scaled down…We’ll see if they actually do anything to make their photos more reasonable for those of us that use the larger images regularly, I hope they do because I would do a lot of business with them!
Update: Lightstock does offer subscription now! Yay! This makes their photos and such a lot more affordable if you’re going to be using a lot of them. I’ve included the pricing info below.
I hadn’t used Creation Swap until this morning when I started writing this post, because I figured there had to be more than just Lightstock for faith-based stock pictures.
They have membership plans, one is free (that is the plan that I chose) and there are a few others. The most expensive is $19 a month.
I really wanted to like them and give them a great review, but I just wasn’t crazy about their site. The free account is nice, but 3 photos a month really isn’t great and whenever you search for something you have to uncheck the options to see the Premium and Paid photos (or whatever you are looking for). I found that very annoying. I have an issue when a company gives you something that is free that is basically a trial or an almost worthless version of their product. I will still go with Lightstock over them.
The other thing I wan’t crazy about was that even if I had been able to get over the not-so-stellar free plan, I went to find their affiliate/sharing link and found that you can only get credit to your account for sharing and promoting their site if you have a paid plan. Boo.
The one thing I do have to say that is great about their site is that the photos they do have are very nice. I like the fact that their paid plans offer unlimited downloads, whereas with Lightstock you only have the option to buy credits that have to be used for each purchase. If you need a larger amount of photos, I would definitely go with Creation Swap, simply for the fact that you could spend on 2 photos on Lightstock for what you would spend on a month’s membership at Creation Swap.
The usual culprits
As always, you can still get stock photos from non-religious sites, but I have not had good luck getting ones that aren’t cheesy or the same old generic stuff.