If there’s one element which is often overlooked when it comes to creating an impactful new website, it’s photography. Specifically the need for great images that support the brand and help sell services or products.
This omission is often due to the misconception that it’s the responsibility of the web design agency to source images during the design process. When in fact, just like the text that appears on any web page, imagery is also the client’s responsibility.
Another reason for omission can be the factor of cost. Purchasing good quality, royalty-free images or hiring a photographer to shoot great product photos can add significant costs to any project, be it a website or any other marketing materials.
But help is available thanks to stock photography websites offering free images:
The use of royalty-free images from stock photography websites has been widespread for many years. However, it was often the case that the best images always required payment.
The big stock libraries such as Getty were generally very expensive. Too expensive for many brands, especially start-ups. This fueled the rise in cheaper subscription-based stock libraries such as Shutterstock. But the problem with the cheaper libraries is that the quality of the photography could often be sub-standard.
Moving forward in time, most people have fairly powerful camera functions as a part of their mobile phones, resulting in the need to spend large sums of money on stock photography reducing significantly.
The popularity of camera phones also fueled interest in photography in general, and with that, a slew of new stock photo libraries has appeared. Many of which include thousands of photos that are free to use.
Our Top 8 Best Free Stock Photo Sites
- Unsplash – Arguably, one of the most popular resources for free images on the Internet.
- Freepik – Freepik provides a great variety of free photography and graphic designs.
- Flickr – One of the first, if not the first, photo-sharing platform of any significance.
- Burst – A royalty-free photo library from the makers of Shopify.
- Pexels – With Pexels, you don’t have to credit the photographer like other free picture sites.
- Pixabay – A library of free-to-use images licenced under Creative Commons.
- Freeimages.com – An impressive library of 300,000+ free images without restrictions.
- Gratisograpgy – A uniquely designed website that offers fresh and exciting imagery.
Free Images For Websites: A Summary
Good quality imagery is very important when it comes to installing confidence in your brand and website. There’s no point in spending good money on a new website or brochure only to fill it with poor quality images.
Web agencies will always be happy to use place-holder images in their designs, with many of these sourced from free stock photography websites. It’s these sites that may prove useful when choosing images to support your brand. Especially if you’re working on a tight budget.
When using images from stock photo libraries, you may need to do one or all of the following:
- Create an account with the service.
- Credit the image creator.
- Adhere to some specific terms & conditions regarding usage.
Make sure you review the licencing rules before usage and give credit where credit’s due.
If you can’t find what you need from the above sites, you may need to consider paying for images. Websites such as Getty and Adobe Stock have vast catalogues of images that may be suitable. Alternatively, you should consider hiring a professional photographer to create the exact images you need.