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Sharing Church Photos Online – Do You Need Permission?


If you want to display quality images on your social media, website, or in print materials, you need photos of what’s happening on Sunday. This helps people get an idea of what they can actually expect when they enter your building’s doors for the first time; after all, images speak louder than words.

Your church building is a private venue, even if you’re offering a public event or service (including special events like a food pantry or VBS). That means you need to actively notify the people attending that their photo may be taken and may be used for promotion. A notice like this could look like a sign at the entrances to the building, a pre-service slide, or a small blurb in the bulletin.


Sometimes churches choose to do special events at a public space. Your fall trunk-or-treat may happen at a local school. Your Easter egg hunt might happen at a neighborhood park. Or you may do food drives at a local community center. These events are great for storytelling. With images, you can share the exciting work your church is doing to build relationships, share the gospel, and impact your community. Photos and video of these types of events are also great for future promotions and marketing.

If your church is hosting a public event at your building, the same rules apply as the section above. However, if you’re running an event where the public is invited and you’re on public property, then it’s much easier to take pictures of people. However, I’d encourage you to use a mixture of both of the above suggestions. Notify people that photos are being taken. And, especially for outreach events, an image release form can be part of the registration form — in addition, registration forms help you follow up with your guests.


Whenever your church is doing something exciting (and it always is), these are great moments to help build momentum and excitement in what’s happening around your church. Sharing stories through visuals is a great investment of time and energy. Posting images online or in print are great ways to remind people about what has been happening at your church, what’s currently happening, and what’s coming up. But when we deal with a person’s personal image, we should be proactive, clear, and informative.

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Bryan Haley is the program producer for Church Juice, a media ministry dedicated to energizing church communications. With years of communication and outreach experience gained in full-time church ministry and the field of church website design, Bryan brings a passion to help churches reach people with the gospel using effective church communications. Bryan and his family enjoy Michigan summers, Detroit sports, and spending time outdoors.