Find Stunning & Free Stock Photos to Make Your Marketing Pop!

As online marketing becomes increasingly image-based and web users demand higher quality images the rise of free stock photos is a godsend for small businesses.

Whether you use them for inspiration, mood-boards, marketing, your website or even your blog posts, stock photos can be an amazing tool for your business.

The popularity of image-based apps and websites and the growing importance of images on sites such as Facebook and Twitter is not too surprising. Internet users pay close attention to images. Positive images can even encourage people to buy and that’s really great news for small companies.

In an ideal world this might mean you need a whole series of photos; but commissioning a stack of bespoke photos isn’t always practical and that’s where stock photos come in.

Stock photos are an easy way to fill a gap or communicate a message that your own photos cannot.

But as helpful as it is, stock imagery can have a downside.
The most common problem with using stock images generally boils down to 2 issues.

Quality.

Not every stock image is equal. Some can be terrible quality, overused or just not right for your brand image. Today’s web user demands a higher quality than the clipart of the 80’s and this means you need amazing photography.

Cost. 

The second issue is cost. A lot of time and skill goes into taking quality photographs so naturally they can be expensive. For small businesses this can often mean having to rely on poorer photos or no images at all.

The Free Stock Photos Solution.

There is a solution however, which can be found in the growing number of websites offering royalty free stock photos.

As with stock images, the quality of these ‘free image’ websites varies, so in today’s post I wanted to save you some time and share 10 websites with stunning, free stock photos.
1. Free Refe

Cow in City By Refe Via Free Refe

Free Refe is a section of the Refe website dedicated to free stock photos. Images are by Refe and a number of contributing photographers. The site lets you browse the whole collection or sort by a dozen categories. Unlike the other sites mentioned today (where you download the image direct) on the Refe site you’ll go through a shopping basket (with prices set to $0) and the image downloads will be emailed to you. A little more complicated but a great way to keep track of the picture links in the future.

Image by Refe via Free Refe.

 

2. Unsplash

coffee and mittens by padurariu alexandru via unsplash

Unsplash is the site I seem to use most often and you’ll often find an image credit for them at the bottom of my Business Tips posts. The site offers 10 new photos every ten days by a variety of talented photographers. You can browse the images in a list or grid format and search by keywords. I’d also recommend you check out the ‘Made with Unsplash‘ link for great inspiration on how you can use free stock photos.

Image by Padurariu Alexandru via Unsplash.

3. Gratisography

teddy bear pic by ryan mcguire via gratisography

Gratisography features pictures photographed by Ryan McGuire. Browse all for a visual treat or refine the collection by category for a more focused view.

Image by Ryan McGuire via Gratisography.

 

4. PicJumbo

donuts and milk by victor hanacek via picjumbo

PicJumbo offers totally free photos for commercial and personal projects. Photos are sorted into a dozen plus categories by a number of photographers. The site also offers a search facility at the very top of the site if you’re looking for something particular. Be careful to avoid the search bars shown in some of the ads on the site as you could easily find yourself on another site not linked to PicJumbo.

Donuts & Milk Image by Victor Hanacek via PicJumbo.

 

5. Creative Commons

Gift by Adhisty Kiara on Flickr via Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation that aims to expand the range of creative works available for people to build upon and share legally. This means they’re a great source for finding free stock photos. It’s not the most user-friendly website in the world but the results are worth a look. Simply enter your search term and choose one of a dozen partner sites.

‘Gift’ Image by Adhisty Kiara on Flickr via the Creative Commons website.

 

6. IM FREE

skating anyone by ryan mcguire via im free copy

Part of the IM Creator website, IM FREE is a curated collection of free web design resources for commercial use. Including photos, vectors and videos, you’re free to search the resources by keyword or browse over 20 categories.

Skating Anyone Image by Ryan McGuire via IM FREE.

7. Picography

cold-spring by alessandro bonini via picography

Picography by Hidden Depth has a variety of natural and urban scenes; as well as street art and statues. While it’s not the biggest collection of all today’s websites there are some lovely photos from a number of photographers.

Cold Spring Image by Alessandro Bonini via Picography.

 

8. Public Domain Archive

old-books-vintage-brown-red-by shayna hobbs via public domain archive

The Public Domain Archive has new images every week. The collection seems to be divided into modern, weekly and vintage sectors. I particularly like the vintage section, which has images (like the books shot above) which stand out from the contemporary finds.

Image by Shayna Hobbs  via Public Domain Archive.

 

9. Magdeleine

wolf photo by levi saunders via magdeleine

Magdeleine adds a new photo every day. You’ll find a huge array of photos from a wide selection of photographers. There’s lots of photos focusing on nature and landscape but you can browse by category, colour palette and licence type to find images that work for you.

Photo by Levi Saunders via Magdeleine.
10. Pixabay

shops and city by stocksnap via pixabay

Pixabay offer over 400,000 free photos, vectors and art illustrations. You’ll find a wide variety of subjects from animals to travel.

Image by stocksnap via Pixabay.

One Last Note on Free Stock Photos.

When you’re using these websites (or any other image websites you find) remember to read the terms and conditions carefully. There’s lots of different levels of ‘free’, while some websites make ask nothing of you at all, some may require you to link to the website or mention the photographer. Make sure you follow their rules to prevent any issues and if you’re not sure of the rules, make an enquiry or err on the side of caution.