Many clients approach us at the start of their business journey. Some may not have a business name, logo or even content for the website they would like us to build for them. We get it – starting out isn’t super easy. With that in mind, I present a handful of my favourite (free) stock image libraries. Many are completely free, where you can use the image in your commercial content and not pay a cent for the image. Always check the licence on offer, but they tend to be pretty lenient with what you may use an image for. These sites may not be for everyone, but if some decent photography can help get your business going then I think it’s a good thing for everyone. Some may specialise in certain areas, so I’ll do my best to know what you might typically find at each site. You may see some content replicated on multiple sites too, but the vast range of content is generally pretty unique to each site, from what I’ve seen.
These guys have a seriously decent collection that spans business, art, technology, buildings, people and more. A handy search function should help you nail down whether they have what you’re looking for pretty quickly. Their present collection includes over 5,000 images, and grows by 600 a month apparently so it’s worth checking back often to see what’s new.
Ten images every ten days. I tend to scroll this site, it’s particularly easy to miss the search bar in the top right as you have a look through their collection of photography. This site also has a neat Google Chrome plugin, which randomly loads one of their images each time I open a new tab in my web browser.
This site is a project by a guy called Ryan McGuire, he does a lot of arty and HDR style photography of people, nature and whatever pops into his head I imagine. His images feel less business oriented, but they certainly are entertaining and quality shots that you’ll find here. His images are free for you to use, but he does feature a link to buy him a coffee if you so desire – I think that’s a fair deal for the effort he’s put in.
I just discovered the coolest search function on this site – search by copy space position. This is particularly useful when creating hero slides for your website and you plan to layer text over your image. The creators here have taken the hard work out of finding images that might work for you, with options to filter by left, centred or right aligned text. This image I found has an item on the right and space for text in the blue space on the left. Simply genius.
Filter images by category, use the search bar or the very handy #tags to find what you’re looking for. The hashtags are great, as they let you find associated images really quickly. You can use the images for personal or business use, and the downloaded files are often 5000px wide so there’s a lot of scope in what you can do with their images.
There are plenty of other sources out there, so this is by no means an exhaustive list. And you can always pay for photography too – through 123rf, shutterstock or a number of other stock photography sites where you pay for each image. If stock photography isn’t for you, you can always have a go yourself, or even hire a professional to get the perfect shots you’re dreaming of.