Top 10 places to bag yourself great images for free.
Did you know that a tweet with a picture is 18% more likely to get a click through that one without? Every business or personal account needs great imagery to accompany blog posts and social media content. So as we update our social media calendar and blog schedule, I’ve been on the hunt for great new images to accompany our content. Sourcing these images in advance may seem like a long process but it can save you valuable time throughout the year, helping you get your blogs and posts updated regularly and on time. So here are my top 10 tips on sourcing free photos for your content marketing:
1. You! The best source of imagery can come from you. Taking your own images allows you to tailor it to fit your theme or topic perfectly whilst adding more of a personal touch to your work. You don’t need a fancy, top of the range camera to take great quality photos when smartphones can offer great picture quality making it easier than ever to capture the perfect photo. The quality, however, does range between different smartphones and brands so just ensure that the image is a suitable pixel resolution – find out which smartphones have the best cameras here. But, like me, you may not always have time to capture that perfect image yourself so I have often had to resort to numbers 2-10
2. Unsplash Unsplash has one of the largest collections of great online images that I have come across. You can search by collection or keywords which make it easy and accessible for everyone to use. Unsplash doesn’t require you to set up an account if you don’t want to, which saves you from the unwanted emails that many free image websites can flood you with.
Here’s an example of how we have used Unsplash on our blog: How to write a PR Brief
3. Picjumbo Picjumbo, like Unsplash, offers stock photos which do not look very stock-y. Typical ‘lady sitting behind desk’ stock photos don’t inspire much interest, and Picjumbo offers a great alternative to this – offering images that are a bit more interesting and unique.
4. New Old Stock This site is rather different, offering top quality copyright free vintage images from public archives. These images are great for adding a unique touch to blog posts or fitting in with a more vintage and retro theme. The only issue is that New Old Stock is very specific and it doesn’t offer what everyone is looking for.
5. Gratisography Although Gratisography may not have the same number of photos as Picjumbo or Unsplash, they make up for it in originality. Where else could you search the term ‘rabbit’ and get hits of a man dressed up as a rabbit in a tie reading a newspaper? Albeit, if you are aiming for a simple image of a cute bunny munching on a carrot, Gratisography may not be the free image site for you, but it offers eye-catching photos – all for free.
6. Canva Canva is my new obsession in the office. Not only can it be used to add text and layouts to photos and designs, Canva has a great stock of simple and transferable images you can use for free or thousands of others available from just $1. The great thing about Canva is that it is not everyone’s go-to site for free images, the photograph function is just one of the many of its features, therefore the images aren’t used as often as many, more obvious, stock photo websites.
7. Pixabay Pixabay is great for a range of top quality photographs. You can tailor your search to a particular orientation or photograph size making it easier to pick photos which cater to the specific requirements of certain social media sites. You can also narrow down searches by colour, meaning that if your blog or posts require a certain colour scheme you do not have to sift through endless photos to find your perfect match.
8. Life of Pix Life of Pix offers a platform for photographers to upload their photos for others to use for free. As a result Life of Pix is regularly uploaded with a whole spectrum of different styles and artists. You can even follow, like and share your favourite photographers and images creating a social-networking vibe to the site, presenting stock photos as more of an art and hobby than a corporate necessity.
9. Jay Mantri All photos on the website are taken by Jay Mantri himself. Many of Mantri’s images are from his beach holidays but he also includes many of urban landscapes and materials, with a unique and modern style. He releases new photos every Thursday and allows any use of all photographs.
10. Death to the Stock Photo Death to the Stock Photo offers a great service where you sign up to a mailing list and each month you are sent a zip file with interesting and beautiful images. Once the month is over the images are removed and replaced with new ones, meaning that the stock photos are not often overused online.
So there we have it. 10 of my favourite sources of perfect high-quality images for your blogs and social media content, without any stress of copyright laws.
Amendment: September 2017
We are constantly coming across more great sites to bag yourself free images, so why stop at 10? Here are a few more of our favourite finds since writing this blog six months ago.
Burst: Although Burst is a fairly new platform, it’s image base is vast and growing every day. Search by popular categories, keywords or get the new images sent straight to your mailbox.
MMT: Another great platform built off the back of a love for photography, the stock mainly features nature, city scenes and workspaces.
Kaboom: Kaboom is perfect if you have a photo in mind. Being able to filter results according to colour and orientation, makes it a great tool for finding exactly what you need.
Styled Stock: This platform provides stock photos of all things girly, from makeup to flowers to fashion.
Negative Space: Negative space once again has a wide range of high-resolution stock photos which are easy to search through and quickly download.
Image sourced from Unsplash.