Photography is something I’m really trying to focus on this year. It’s time to up the game! However, for some blog posts or websites, it is actually tough to find anything to take a photo of! For a whole lot of my tech posts, along with some of those posts where you just want to have a good rant, it can be a huge pain to actually get appropriate images for them.
So this is where stock images come in. I think we’ve all heard the horror stories of accidentally using an image which is copyright and then all being hunted down. This led to me initially being really wary of stock photos and using any images which I didn’t take. However, after doing a bit of research, as long as you are using images that explicitly say they are under the CC0 licenses (creative commons with no attributions required), then you are free to use the images to your hearts content without having to credit.
Stock images aren’t just for blog posts, they’re also a great way to cut costs if you’re building a website from scratch or redesigning it. True, hiring a photographer and getting unique images has a more professional look, but if you take into account certain costs like those mentioned in this website cost calculator, web expenses can rack up. So why not cut a few corners with free stock images?
Since my research, I’ve been trying to find good websites in which all of the images on the site are under this licenses. And luckily, I have found the top 5 sites for free stock images.
Best for Outdoor scenes: Unsplash
Unsplash was the original site I have been using. It is full of really high quality images which are uploaded by photographers. It’s specialty is definitely travel and outdoor scenes. If you need any kind of forest, sea or sand scene then this is your best bet. It does have some other categories, a few good shots of laptops and apple products but you definitely won’t find a good shot of someone snuggled on the couch with netflix.
Best for Traditional Stock Pics: Pixabay
Pixabay is ideal if you need a picture of something specific, these are less of the arty snaps like Unsplash. This is handy if you are blogging about a particular topic and you need an image of say a laptop or a women using a tablet. That said, it does have a lot of artier snaps included in there and if you spend a bit of time searching then you can find some really good images for those harder to pick blog posts. It is also a good one for when you need those elusive pictures of ‘relaxing’ or ‘comforting’.
Best All Rounder: Pexels
Pexels is like a search engine of all the other good stock image sites. This is a good one to start with if you’re unsure of where you need to look – if it’s hosted on their site then you can simply download or it will send you to the other site as needed. A lot of these snaps are also really high quality and beautiful pictures. It also has a whole load of good food pics if you need them!
Best for City Snaps: Picography
Picography is probably the hardest of the options to use, but if you need a good city pic this this is the place! Picography doesn’t have a search facility which means you do need to scroll through them. I find it handy to have a folder of stock photos, then I just save any which catch my eye – that way I can just look through my folder and easily find the snaps I need.
Best for Arty, Cultural Snaps: Gratisography
All the pics on Gratisography are by one photographer and you can definitely tell, they are all a bit odd! I do love them though, and if you need anything a little arty or different for the blog then this is the best place to look. From chopped off hands to people dressed as trolls, you can definitely find something to use here.
So there we have it, at the time of posting all these picture sites are free to use on your blog without attribution. Do remember to double check when you do use them, but all sites say in big writing exactly how it works and what you need to do. Like I said earlier, I find stock photos the easier to use if you save a big folder of them on your computer then if you are ever struggling, you have a big trove just ready and waiting.
I usually use these stock photos in my Pinterest graphics especially, they are ideal if you want to make something like the above. I use Canva to make all my graphics and I highly recommend it if you need a new tool to use!
Do you ever use stock photos?