Here are my favourite free and low cost stock image websites.
With the alarming Covid-19 situation happening worldwide, many businesses are needing to rethink their direction. Most throwing away their whole 2020 marketing plan to accommodate this. Business are now looking for new marketing material and supporting imagery to keep their clients informed. I’ve spoken to SO MANY clients who are transitioning at the moment and just need to get something online so they can keep their business going.
Now I’m usually a “stock image discourager". I mean my job is to create and draw images, yeah? But businesses are struggling and many of them …gulp, can’t afford the services of a professional Illustrator or Graphic Designer at the moment.
And I get it. 100% I get it.
So I'm going to give you some little “insider designer secrets” that you as a business owner may find helpful.
What many people don't know, is that you can't just take pictures off the internet and use them to promote your business. It's completely illegal and infringes on copyright. But, there are websites dedicated to helping you find the perfect image. With searchable image libraries and easy download options.
Here are 6 of my go to free/low cost stock image websites.
Now these guys would have to be my favourite low-cost site! If I’m ever looking to make a cool mockup or I have a client wanting me to source images for their social media feed, Freepik is my number one my go to. They offer vectors and stock photos that are free to use with attribution, or you can buy an annual subscription. It's a low cost subscription, at only $90 (us) per year.
(A vector file is generally an illustration that you can edit in programs like Adobe Illustrator. For more information on what the various file kinds/names mean, click here.)
As the name suggests, Vecteezy provide high quality vector graphics. Images are free for personal use, or you can purchase a low-cost annual subscription. The subscription gives you access to more images and allows you to use them without attribution for around $9 (us) per month.
Pexels offer free stock photos and videos from photographers from around the world, no subscription needed. They also offer frequent challenges for photographers who can submit their own images and even win some cashola!
Upsplash offer a massive range of free stock images and have new photographers from around the world contributing daily. Their images tend to be quite arty in composition, so make for a pretty cool looking social feed.
I find these guys offer similar imagery to Pexels, but as well as sharing free stock images, they also offer free vector and video files. There is a huge variety from Photographers worldwide and Images are mostly outdoors and landscapes.
Founded by polish photographer Karolina Grabowska, it showcases her amazing work in an easy to search gallery. The site also gives you a list of colours that will compliment each photo.
The collection manly consists of beautifully styled shoots. But with a huge data base of free stock photos available, Karolina would have to be one of my favourite stock photographers.
One thing to note, is that many of these sites do have ads on them that link to paid sites such as iStock, Shutterstock, Adobe Stock. The advertising can catch you if you’re not used to using the sites, so just be careful you don’t accidently click on an image that’s part of their advertising by mistake. Not that there's anything wrong with the sites advertised, (they are amazing sites!) but their images do come with much higher costs.
When selecting stock images for my clients, I use the search tools on each site to find imagery that I feel reflects the look and feel of the business I designing for. So when searching, be sure sure the images you choose work well together and appeal to your target audience.
Not sure what's going to appeal to your target audience? I've got a free workbook that will help you get to know your brand better. And once you have a clear understanding of your brand, you'll find choosing appropriate images a piece of cake.
NB. Be sure to check licensing agreements on all sites to ensure you’re using the images properly.