A few nights ago I was speaking with a blogging friend when she complimented me on my blog photography. As soon as she said it, I laughed and laughed. Me? Photography? Oh no! Surely, I thought, she had me confused with someone else. I try to share personal photos (and feedback from my 2016 Reader Survey indicates that you’d all like to see more of them) but my photography skills are not all that great and improving them is a goal I have set for myself for the new year.
I told her that I greatly appreciated her compliment but that a lot of the photos that I use are stock photos and I use both free and paid sites to find them. Here are just a few of my favorite locations…
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I love, love, love Creative Market for photos. They can be a bit pricey if you blog every single day and you purchase photos from them for every post but it’s a great resource. If I need a particular photo for a specific topic I will hop over there and search for it. Sometimes I’ll search through bundles and buy photos in bulk (I once bought 100 photos for $30!). Buying in bulk is great because the photos all come from the same photographer and have the same aesthetic. If you find a photographer on there that matches your branding you can end up with really great pictures that you can use over and over again.
Creative Market offers freebies every Monday and I always download them. Sometimes they are photos but the freebies can also include overlays, graphics, icons, fonts, and other creative stuff. I download it all and save it to my external hard drive because you never know when you might need it. Better prepared than caught unaware…
Death to the Stock Photo
Ironically, Death to the Stock Photo provides stock photos. You receive their free photos on the 1st of every month straight to your email inbox. Again, I download all of the photos regardless of whether I believe I’ll ever use them or not. I believe it’s better to have them and not need them than it is to need them, not have them, and be unable to retrieve them.
I save them to an external hard drive for a rainy day. The downside to them is that you never really know what you’re going to get because you can’t pick categories or topics so depending on your needs, you may find yourself with folders full of pictures you’ll never use but it’s worth trying them out and seeing where it goes.
Getty Images is a paid stock photo site and I use them only for really important photos because they can be pricey. I’ve seen stock photos on here that run hundreds of dollars for a single commercial-use license. More often than not I use this site for stock photos for my business site or for promotional materials. Maybe it’s just me but I’m not willing to spend $200 just for a stock photo I’m going to use for a Pinterest graphic.
That being said, it’s a great site with fabulous images. Sure, there are cheesy images on here but if you know what you want and you’re willing to pay for the perfect picture, Getty Images is probably the place to get it.
Pixabay is one of my top free stock photo resources. They have an enormous library of photos, they are free to download, and are completely royalty-free. Sometimes I’ll go through their library of photos on a particular theme (romance, relationships, travel, home office, coffee shop) and download dozens of photos for future use.
All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications.
Pexels / Unsplash
I grouped these together because Pexels is a database of free stock photos and they pull some of their photos from Unsplash. You can search Unsplash if you want to or you can just go to Pexels and find all of the photos from Unsplash as well as other sites.
I love some of the images on here but one thing I have found is that the images seem to be very popular because I see a lot of them all over the place. You won’t find anything here that is identified with you or your brand, no matter how much you search, because it’s a popular resource. I typically use these sites when I intend to add a color overlay and text so the image is just a background.
If you use stock photos, where do you find them? Do you have any favorite sites I didn’t mention?
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