Top 5 sites to find free images for your website and social pages
Finding the right imagery to reflect your business can be a challenge and it can put a hefty hole in your hip pocket. However, hiring a photographer or paying the big bucks for stock imagery isn’t always the answer.
Did you know there are sites out there that host royalty-free images for your own use? Whether you’re looking for landscape, portraits or abstract images, you’ll find them in the websites listed below. It may take a little time for you to find the right photo but the trade off is that these images are free.
Despite its tongue-in-cheek name, Death to the Stock Photo provides some terrific imagery for you to use for free in print or online. Slightly more complicated to navigate than other free image sites, this catalogue is constantly changing and is displayed on the site in thematic clusters. There is no search function on this site, so you'll have to browse the lot to find what you’re looking for. If you're not in a rush you can always sign up to their distribution emails, which gives you the option to receive new images weekly or monthly.
With StockSnap you can browse images by category, search for particular keywords, browse the entire collection or check out what’s currently trending. With over 100 categories of images, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for, and with the license completely open for personal or commercial use, you will never have a problem with permissions.
Pixabay is very similar to StockSnap but extends the olive branch just that little bit further to include videos in their free offering. There is also the option to view the top picks from the editor. It is a great way to get inspired, particularly if you’re open to the type of imagery you will use.
Pexels is yet another option when it comes to the curation of free imagery for your site or social streams. With a basic search and find format, this platform is very easy to use for everyone. This site allows you to follow particular photographers, which enables you to keep consistency across your images.
Unsplash gets thousands of uploads by professional photographers on a daily basis so the catalogue is always fresh and reliable for quality imagery. In the same vein as StockSnap, Unsplash allows you to explore by category or collection or easily find what you’re looking for using the search bar!
Tips for using stock photos:
- The downside of free stock photos is that everyone has access to them, including others in your industry. Before you start your search for the perfect photo, have a look at other websites in your industry to see what photos others are using.
- Stick with a theme. With so many options to choose from, it's easy to find yourself overwhelmed by choice. Ideally, you'd want all your photos to look like they belong to each other. For example, if you're an event planner you might want to feature bright and happy photos with people in the background.
- Consider the image size you're downloading. Stock images often come in larger file sizes but in most cases are not necessary for your website (in fact, large files can slow website speed). Check to see what image sizes are best for your website before you upload them to your site.