As a writer who develops business and digital marketing content on a regular basis, I’ve started to memorize some of the stock photos available by searching for “business” or “business meeting” - and I’m tired of them! I see you, awkward businessmen shaking hands. You have stock photo written all over your faces, and frankly, there has to be a picture out there that will better suit my audience.
Although not a new concept, it’s important to emphasize the importance of including visual content across all platforms in your marketing strategy. On Facebook, posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement, and on Twitter, posts with images get 2.5 times more engagement! Due to the high volume of content that fills our social media feeds and inboxes, you need the right kind of images to stand out from the crowd.
Luckily, there are a number of stock photo sites available that have been flying under the radar - and they are all free! Fresh, natural, brand worthy pictures are only a click away. Check out these top ten free stock photo sites to use in 2019:
Stock Snap has a refreshing array of hi-resolution, high quality images, all available for free. These photos are all free from copyright restrictions, so they can be used in any way you want without attribution (design, blogs, social media, etc.). The site is easy to use, and it organizes the photos into categories and sorts them by popularity. Images are easy to download, and hundreds of new photos are added daily, so there is a constantly growing network of beautiful images to choose from.
Unsplash has become my go-to site for free stock photos. They offer a huge selection of gorgeous images (more than 500,000) that are free to use under the Unsplash license. Collected from a number of talented photographers and hand-selected for the site, there are 1,000+ photos added every day. You’re bound to find the perfect image for your project!
Picjumbo comes with an intriguing backstory, as well as unique images you won’t find on other free stock photo sites. The site’s author and creator, Viktor Hanacek, is a photographer who lives in the Czech Republic. After other stock photo sites rejected his photos, he decided to create his own website offering all of his photos for free, adding a new photo each day. Now his photos are used by millions of people all over the world. Click here for his full story.
In addition to an inspiring story of an up and coming artist, the site itself offers beautiful images that are easy to search and easy to download. He also offers paid memberships and packages for designers, as well as a special plugin for Photoshop and Sketch. This is definitely a great stock photo site to add to the repertoire.
Negative Space invites photographers who want to share their work to contribute to their site. They offer new free images every week, and the site is easy to navigate as all the pictures are separated into categories. The name Negative Space is a photography term referring to the blurred background of a picture in which something else is the main focus. This site aims to generate a community for photographers who are willing to share their work and visitors who want to find beautiful, high quality images and use them without restriction.
Kaboompics was an exciting find for me. All the photos are taken by one Polish web designer and photographer named Karolina, who not only provides gorgeous, unique images to use for free, but also hosts them all on an especially attractive and helpful website. She has a flourishing blog with helpful marketing tips, and all the images have very descriptive taglines so it’s easy to find what you are looking for.
She also offers three size options for picture downloads; original, medium, and a custom size option where you can type in the width you would like the picture to be before you download it - all for free! (She does ask that you link back to her website when possible.) I highly recommend you check out Kaboompics for your next project.
SplitShire is an excellent source for high quality images, all taken by Italian photographer Daniel Nanescu, whose mission is to help you “be awesome out there with great content.” He assembled years of his photographs that would have otherwise been lost in what he calls “the darkest corners of the hard drive” and made them available for commercial use for free. They have been seen on sites like Huffington Post and CNN.
In addition to images, he has a page full of free videos that are also available to download.
Life of Pix is a stunning website full of awesome images categorized by topic, as well as by photographer. They even highlight a photographer of the week, so you can save your favorites and see new pictures when they are uploaded from your favorite photog. The site offers a lot of ways to personalize your experience, like following photographers and creating a portfolio so you can see all the pictures you’ve liked while browsing.
The site is a product of the LEEROY Creative Agency based out of Montreal. They also have a brother site called Life of Vids, which is full of free videos, clipsand loops for all your creative needs - easily downloadable through Vimeo. They just ask that you don’t use more than 10 videos on your site at once.
ISO Republic is a independent website with a collection of beautiful images gathered by a small team of contributors. All photos are free, with the request to spread the word and link back to them in blog posts and on websites. They also just recently launched Foodie Factor, an image site dedicated to food and drink photos.
Burst, powered by Shopify, is an excellent free stock photo site with many contributors adding to its database regularly. According to their website, “Our goal is to build the best free image library for entrepreneurs, so we’re constantly uploading new photos and adding new categories to reflect current trends in ecommerce and retail.” Definitely a worthwhile site to check out for your next project, especially if you are an entrepreneur working on content for your brand.
Reshot is a great stock photo site that says right on the home page that they provide “handpicked non-stocky images.” The site is full of unique images you won’t find on any other site. The reshot creative team is all about their mission of offering a free exchange of excellent visual content to elevate projects and bring unity to creativity for both photographers who wish to contribute and creators and designers who wish to use them. They also offer convenient quick image packs to download a group of images at once that go together. All they ask is for a simple tweet to recognize the contribution.
Honorable Mentions: Pexels.com & Pixabay.com
The only reason Pexels and Pixabay did not make the above list is because I use them all the time, and I wanted to highlight some of the many other free stock photo sites available. Regardless, both Pexels and Pixabay are easy to navigate, have a TON of image options and release all their photos under the Creative Commons CC0.
Go Create Something Amazing
There are some incredible free resources available for digital marketers, designers, bloggers and graphic artists to really make your content shine. Just remember to always double check the licensing and copyright restrictions whenever you visit a stock image site. This is an excellent list to keep in your back pocket (or save to your bookmarks) to access the next time you create something amazing. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and let those creative juices flow.
Have any other free image sites that we should know about? Are any of the above sites your absolute favorites? Let us know in the comments!
Need help with your marketing endeavors? Are you ready to take your business or brand to the next level but aren’t quite sure how to get there? Do you need help to make your website, blog or social media platforms really stand out from the crowd? Jennasis & Associates has the tools to help you in every aspect of your marketing strategy. Give us a call, shoot us an email, or take a closer look at our website. We can’t wait to talk with you!
Becky Martin is a content writer and "boy-mom" to Charlie and Lucas. When she's not writing or taking care of her little ones, she can be found binging on coffee, Netflix and young adult fiction. She and her husband reside in the bustling suburbs of Philadelphia.