Using great stock images is the most impactful way to make your website attractive and appealing to your potential customers.
But finding the perfect stock image for your social media, presentation or website can be challenging.
The right images grab attention, emphasize points and suggest an emotion. Basically, they create look and feel of your website.
The wrong images can be quite damaging to your brand.
Where do you find these stock images?
There are lots of options. Some good and some not so good.
You want to avoid those not so good options. They may seem to be free but they could end up costing you.
Copying an image off of someone else’s website is a huge no-no.
Using a Google image is also to be avoided. In a Google image search, most of the images displayed are pulled off people’s websites or are from paid photo sites. You do not have rights to use these images.
What’s the big deal? Why does it matter?
If you use someone else’s images and the originating company finds out, they could come after you. As an example, I know of one client who was fined $7,000 for using one image that they had copied off of Google images. This particular image came from Getty Images and they do go looking for violators.
For your website and social media, the images you use need to be licensed for commercial use and they need to come from a reputable provider. If an image is licensed for commercial use then they are usually also licensed for personal use. Make sure you check the license terms for each website. There are websites that offer both free and paid stock images.
A word of caution
Many free sites have ads for paid images that look like they are part of your search results. Now, you may think you have found the perfect image but when you click then get taken to a new website and see that they want to charge you.
So, you want to pay attention to where you click on these sites. Usually all that differentiates the paid results from the free results is a logo and maybe a light grey background.
Finding professional and compelling images that are also affordable can be time-consuming and frustrating. Consider setting a timer to limit how long you spend going down the image search rabbit hole.
My Favourite Free Stock Image Sites
I’ve put together a list of some of my favourites and some that I know are good, but do not use or use very often. Many of these sites also have free video clips.
Photo by Daniel Seßler on Unsplash
Unsplash is my favourite go to free stock photo site. The images are high quality, professional and dramatic. You can filter your results by orientation and colour.
They do ask that you attribute credit to the photographer but they are free to use commercially.
Photo by Luis del Río from Pexels
Extension collection of images relevant to many different businesses. The results can be filtered by orientation, size and colour.
Attribution is not required but appreciated and you can modify and use any image.
Free image by wal_172619
Pixabay has a wide selection of images, vector graphics, and illustrations. They also allow you to filter by orientation, category, size and colour.
License terms are simple – free for commercial and non commercial use. Attribution is appreciated but not necessary. They do have some things that are not allowed so make sure you read their license.
Photo by Nicole De Khors from Burst
Burst has free stock photos for websites and commercial use and is powered by Shopify.
Attribution is encouraged but not mandatory. Make sure you check out their license.
Photo courtesy of Gratisography
The Gratisography site says that they have quirkiest, most creative and arresting images, if that is what you are looking for.
License terms are simple – you can do “almost” anything you can think of. Just read the terms and make sure your use of the images don’t violate the things they say you can’t do.
More Websites that offer Free Stock Images
Here are some of the other sites that I have seen recommended but that I haven’t used yet. Some of them look really appealing and have a good selection.
Reshot – https://www.reshot.com/
StockSnap – https://stocksnap.io/
Pikwizard – https://pikwizard.com/
Stock vault – https://www.stockvault.net/
Life of Pix – https://www.lifeofpix.com/
Negative Space – https://negativespace.co/
Picjumbo – https://picjumbo.com/
Morguefile – https://morguefile.com/
Kaboom Pics – https://kaboompics.com/
FreeStocks.org – https://freestocks.org/
Picography – https://picography.co/
Foca – https://focastock.com/
Skitter Photo – https://skitterphoto.com/
Little Visuals – https://littlevisuals.co/
New Old Stock – https://nos.twnsnd.co/
Jay Mantri – https://jaymantri.com/
With this list of 21 amazing free stock image sites, you have access to a number of fantastic resources to help you find a beautiful image that will complement your work.
I wish you all the best on finding the ‘perfect’ image for your project.