The most informative, engaging and well-written piece of content for your website is likely to have far less impact if it is peppered with awful stock photography. Yes, the online world is sadly littered with cliché riddled images featuring unnatural settings and fake smiles that would simply never happen in the real world – but it doesn’t have to be like that!
There are plenty of fantastic online resources featuring a wealth of eye-catching imagery just waiting to add a splash of colour, humanity and depth to your site. It’s worth noting that all of the websites featured here are completely free from licenses or copyright and can be tweaked to your heart’s content without permission. You do need to be aware, however, that some images may have certain restrictions and require attribution to the source.
With a little research here and there, you can clear your conscience and ensure you give credit where credit’s due. So where can you source these wonderful images that will make your site look like as though you’ve collaborated with David Bailey? Check out our recommendations below:
With over 320,000 free photos and art illustrations at your disposal, Pixabay is a popular source of imagery and covers every topic you can think of, and then some! All images are completely at your disposal in either print or digital, and even commercial use. Users that sign-up have the option to upload their own images too, meaning that you get a diverse range of shots from every corner of the globe.
Updated on a weekly basis with images covering a range of different subjects, Gratisography is a great resource for those wanting to add a dash of beauty or quirkiness to their site. All the photos are taken by talented New York based snapper Ryan McGuire and are completely free for personal and commercial use – if you’re feeling generous you can always donate a token gesture to his coffee fund!
Featuring a selection of fantastic high-resolution shots, Jeshoots has a range of snaps on everything from the latest iPhone to mouth-watering foods. All the images are published under the Creative Commons public domain deed CCO, which gives you full permission to use them as you please.
New Old Stock is quite unique in that it sources beautiful vintage photos from the public archives (which are free of known copyright restrictions) featuring a range of subjects, from Apollo 13 to 1930s factory workers. The images here are mainly in black and white and great if you want to add a touch of nostalgia to your site or article.
Register with Jay Mantri’s blog and you will be privy to seven stunning snaps each and every Thursday, sent straight to your inbox. The images tend to be outdoor shots of urban areas and places of beauty, such as the sea or woodlands. Again, these photos come under the Creative Commons licence, giving you full control of how and where you use them.
Stock Snap is another great site which is popular with photographers from around the world and adds only the best images to their site on a daily basis. Pretty much every topic is covered here and again, all photos are free and require no attribution to the artist – Stock Snap show their appreciation to the artist by linking back to their profile.
Unsplash is a smaller image resource that offers 10 new images every 10 days, however they upload some undeniably beautiful shots which are all licence-free. From wildlife images of moose and tigers, to aerial shots of winding roads and rivers, this site features contributions from some incredibly talented photographers.
Life of Pix is updated on a weekly basis and offers breath-taking shots on topics as diverse as African village life to artsy interior office shots. New images are added here on a weekly basis for you to use as you wish – all photography is donated to the public domain.
With categories ranging from wedding, abstract architecture and business, Picjumbo is another site which offers an impressive catalogue of high quality images. Picjumbo do offer paid subscriptions for those that want access to even more photos, however many images are available for you to use for free, as you please.
Web designer Daniel Nanescu has had close to 270k downloads from his rather nifty Splitshire site. With a stunning collection of shots at your disposal, you can’t go wrong with this site – all he asks is that you don’t put it onto a third-party stock photography site.
So there’s our pick of 10 online resources for stock photography that are anything but dull and run of the mill. Use them as you wish and create digital assets that you can be proud to put your name to.