Whatever your brand or business, the appropriate imagery can elevate the way you’re perceived. Whether it’s your website that needs sprucing up or a regularly-updated blog, bold imagery serves to attract and entice. Additionally, any message you wish to convey gets amplified through the addition of images to back up your words, reinforcing your brand positioning to any potential customers.
On the more technical side of things, content backed up by imagery is 94% more likely to be shared and has greater SEO value when compared to content that’s merely words. There’s an obvious aesthetic benefit too; nobody likes scrolling through huge blocks of text.
In an ideal world, we’d all have the means and time to head out with our top-quality camera and secure the perfect snaps for our website, but that simply isn’t possible in many cases. So, many of us are reliant on stock imagery.
And luckily, high-quality imagery doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag either, which is good news if you’re lacking the budget to purchase or create imagery yourself. There are plenty of resources available that collect all kinds of free stock images, illustrations, vectors and more. Here, we’ll round up the best websites you can use to give your content that much-needed boost without having to break the bank.
What kind of imagery are you looking for?
To help you find the perfect images, videos and vectors for the job at hand, we’ve organised our 10 favourite resources by their specialities.
How free is a free stock image?
Before we move onto the list of websites for you to take a look at, it’s worth staying abreast of a few things regarding licenses and photos in the public domain. Certain websites allow you to download pictures for private use, but disallow images to be used commercially.
Other photos fall under the creative commons license, which means you can copy, modify and distribute the work – for commercial purposes – without the need to ask for permission, as per the following:
“The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighbouring rights, to the extent allowed by law.” - CreativeCommons.org
The owners of these images have allowed users to modify, edit and use their images without any kind of reproach or copyright backlash. Meanwhile, other imagery can be used commercially, but they require permission from the owner before use.
With a large number of images, covering a vast array of topics, these three resources are perfect if you’re looking for a little inspiration.
Registering for a free membership at Freerange means you’ll have access to thousands of high-resolution images without having to pay a thing, all of which can be used for commercial projects. If your business is in the market to take its own photographs, then the site also offers Google AdSense revenue sharing upon contribution.
Highly reputable, Pexels offers hundreds of thousands of photos that are free for commercial purpose. What’s handy about Pexels is the ability to look up popular searches, so you can differentiate your images from potential competition. Additionally, its precision search function means finding the right photo for your site or blog is easy, too.
With hundreds of images added on a daily basis, StockSnap’s large selection is sure to have what you’re looking for, whatever it is you’re working on.
Perfect if you’re building out menus, recipe content and culinary-themed blogs – the following is packed with all kind of food and drink images.
If you require a pic or two that look good enough to eat, then Foodiesfeed is your go-to. Whether it’s a sumptuous-looking dessert or something exotic from a far-flung locale, their selection of over 1,000 photos is sure to spice up your content. Plus, with filter options for Top View, Healthy and Close Up, you can fine-tune things to your liking whether it’s an article, landing page, or email.
Built for small businesses from a range of industries, the following resource can help you populate every part of your online platform.
For those working in the world of eCommerce, Burst, powered by the leading eCommerce platform Shopify, provides thousands of free images to improve your content. There’s a large selection of business-oriented photos to choose from, including retail, eCommerce, finance and other products, while the site features 28 different categories, several of which can be broken down further into subcategories.
They even sweeten the deal by offering advice on how to turn your online business ideas into reality and tips on improving your Facebook marketing campaigns.
Great for blog posts, the following resources can help you find unusual and attention-grabbing visuals at no cost.
A slightly more niche subcategory, but one that provides the opportunity to use some truly fascinating imagery, head to USA.gov and you’ll find a wide range of images relating to all manner of historical events and figures.
Likewise, Wikimedia provides a wealth of exemplary images, including iconic historical events for you to use. With over 34 million instances of free media, including videos and sounds, it’s an essential resource for graphic designers, photographers and artists looking to improve their content.
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Though this vintage photo database states its content is free of any known copyright restrictions, it’s worth checking up the limitations with each instance. Nevertheless, this website provides a great selection of photos from days gone by, whether its astronauts training for their next mission, behind the scenes of old movie sets, or steam trains departing their station.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the eCommerce section, there’s a chance you’ll find your startup imagery here.
There’s even a stock photo site for start-ups and start-up-related content too. An excellent resource if you’re writing a blog about hip new businesses for example, just be sure to check up on the licensing details beforehand.
Finally, if you’re looking to add a little beauty to your website, blogs and emails, the following resource is the perfect place to start.
For awe-inspiring photos of nature, landscapes and other scenery, Picography may be lacking in numbers (there are just over 500 pics on there), but it more than makes up for things with just how impressive the imagery is. From snow-capped mountains to dazzling closeups of flowers and greenery, make this your go-to if you need to take your audience to the great outdoors with your content.
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