Whether you’re blogging, building a website or active on social media, I imagine at some point you’ve wanted some amazing, and artistic, images to use – in order to look professional.
For many of you who run your own blogs, this is probably a top priority. There’s nothing more infuriating than wanting to use beautiful photos without the equipment or the means to do so – let alone actually finding someone who will allow you to direct them around like a mannequin. So sometimes we have to cheat a little and that means stock photos.
When I started in marketing, I cringed after discovering that my company paid for stock photo credits on those awful sites that stamp their names on everything. You know the ones I mean, you can’t use their images without some heavy photoshopping which if you knew how to do it in the first place, you wouldn’t need the blasted stock photo.
So I set about trying to source the best images on the web that had a slightly different image licence, here’s what I found.
This was the first website I came across and I was utterly blown away by the beauty of some of these images. They were simply amazing, and I couldn’t believe they were free. You could even sign up to have weekly updates of the best photos
This was another of the early discoveries and again, I loved the beauty of the photography. I also loved the personality that came with this website and how you could feel like you got to know the people who ran it and why. Unfortunately, they’ve gradually gravitated towards a paid, premium plan which helps to fund the photographers. Which is probably a good thing as I hate to think of these people as giving away their hard work, yet not something I can personally afford on a rolling monthly basis.
This website is very similar to unsplash.com in the way its set up, yet for some reason, I personally find it hard to manage. I don’t know if it’s all that scrolling but I find it difficult to get to the images I need.
I love how this website compiles them all into one place. You can choose to browse whichever royalty free stock photo you like in one place, and in a more user-friendly environment. This isn’t one I’ve ever used myself, however I have heard good things about it and seen it recommend numerous times.
One of the website that you can find available through thestocks.im, this has an easy to navigate Pinterest style interface with an array of images. They also upload twenty new photos every day which gives an incredibly high turnaround if you’re looking for something fresh.
You might be shocked to see Google in here based on the fact that there can be a lot of copyright issues to deal with, however there is a little trick you can use. I normally result to Google Images if there’s a specific type of image I need. For example I may be writing about crime fiction and want an image to reflect that. Well stock images aren’t likely to contain bloody murder scenes, so this is where Google can provide a more specific image.
When you type in your search term, and hit enter, Google will load everything relevant. If you select the drop down ‘Search Tools’ you’ll be able to narrow your search based on size, colours, image type and also usage rights. This should ideally be changed to ‘Labelled for reuse with modification’ as it will cover you no matter what you may use the image for. I’m talking about if you decide to create a blog title by overlaying the words on an image etc.
When it comes to sourcing images for my won site, my default go-to is this website. Based solely on the fact that, like thestocks.im, it compiles all the free stock images on the web and puts them into one place in a super easy navigation. It doesn’t update as often as pexels.com but I love it.
It makes me want to cringe when I come across websites, particularly author websites, where people haven’t taken the time to get to know the market and have instead put together a poorly constructed site with poor quality images that have potentially been taken on a phone. Especially when the tools are out there, and they’re free.
Honestly, you don’t need to pay a penny – it’s probably easier too.