Where To Find Free Stock Photos That Don't Suck
So you probably already know that you can't just go using any old photo you find in a Google search on your blog or in your branding. (If you didn't know that, you're about to). There are so, so many reasons why this is a bad idea.
First off, all those images are someone else's property under copyright law. And copyright law is some intense stuff that you definitely don't want to play around with. Not to mention you're most likely stealing a low resolution image, which won't be as clear and crisp and maybe not even big enough for your needs. I could go on, but if those two reasons aren't enough you probably won't be deterred, you heathen. For the rest of you, unless you know exactly what you're doing, my advice is stick to only using images you find listed as "Free for commercial use", please.
But how do you find free, high quality photography you can use without the swat team crashing through your ceiling? Oh, and bonus points if it doesn't make your blog look like a corporate sexual harassment awareness brochure from 2002.
Never fear, the proofs are out there! (Bad photo pun anyone? No? Okay then)
Here are a few of my favorite sites for stock photos, each of which has its own unique style. Bookmark them all, sign up for their emails, or just pick one or two that works for you and never worry about finding photos again.
As I'm writing this post the first few pictures on Unsplash include an artsy closeup of a rooster, illustrations of a city block from the angle of someone lying on their back, a welder doing their thing, and a few obligatory beautiful nature shots. So, basically, there's something for everyone. Scroll through to gather inspiration or use the search function to look for something more specific.
Totally free, high resolution, and each photo has different sizes to choose from. You can even find some illustrations and vector graphics here. The downside is some categories don't have a lot of great choices. I've had great luck with nature shots, cool office scenes, and even vintage music images though.
A-Maz-Ing nature shots. I've also gotten everything from some really great close up textures to a cool set of pics of a woman jumping in front of a painted brick wall. Sign up for their mailing list and every so often DTSP will send you a new set of high quality shots based around a unique theme. Free, random, and totally worth it.
I love the variety here. Need a super close up shot of some random coins from all around the world? They have you covered. How about a colorful picture of one of those spinny top things you had as a kid? Yessiree. Throw in a fabulous hipster shot of a butcher block table holding an iPhone, coffee cup, and vintage camera in front of a trendy looking bike and I'm sold. Sold! Anyway, yet another site with high res, great quality photos for absolutely free.
Haute Chocolate's tagline is "Branding Photography For Women Entrepreneurs", so as you can imagine this site is decidedly more feminine. If your style is gold trim and black polka dots you'll be in heaven, but they have other aesthetics as well. The catch here is not all the photos are free, there's a whole library of paid stock photos. You can receive free photos by signing up for their mailing list though.
These are my go-to sites, but I'd love to know yours! Share the love in the comments.