What can you say about stock photos that wasn’t already said by Vince Vaughn getting cropped into a grouping of them in order to promote the spring release of “Unfinished Business”…if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all right? They were seriously funny but if even Vince Vaughn couldn’t improve a stock image then clearly there is no hope for them at all, right? Wrong! And we say wrong enthusiastically but also with great respect, and great joy because it turns out that the world of stock photos has come a very, very long way from the well-dressed-man-smiling-at-the-conference-table days of old. Not only are there some incredibly beautiful and creative photos out there, but incredibly many of them are also free. Wait…did we just say free stock photos? That’s right – you pay nada, nothing, zilch for them. We even have a bit of a hard time referring to them as “stock” images because they are about a million miles away from those smiling-intern-at-the-water-cooler days! And for small businesses who are embarking on marketing campaigns and/or web development projects but don’t necessarily have big budgets to purchase dreamy stock photos from one of the major industry players, this is really, really awesome news.
How Do We Know About These Awesome Free Stock Photos?
We know this secret about free stock photos because we very recently undertook a website project for ourselves (if you haven’t checked it out yet, we invite you to do so!) since it had been quite a while since www.corsicatech.com had gotten an update. Much like everything in the IT field, website development is a discipline that is constantly changing and evolving. So we have made it a priority to keep up on modern design trends and best practices for the overall user experience, because hey…it’s what we do. And one of the top website “don’ts” that we kept seeing over and over was around the use of stock photos. Which totally makes sense, because if the computer technician in the photo doesn’t work from Corsica, why would we want to put him on our website? So as we looked at the “smiling woman on the phone” and “smiling guy fixing your computer” photos from our old site, we realized that we needed to source some much better options, and fast. >Fortunately, a short Google search later we hit the photo jackpot. Unique, lovely images were just a free download away and thanks to these awesome sites we can produce attractive, compelling visuals for our blog and social media sites (like the example at left!), and we can easily locate interesting images for our website that still highlight our industry, but do so in a way that just doesn’t feel like a stock image. While we still do plan to add images of our actual employees (another recommendation for anyone who is updating a website, because human beings want to work with other human beings and it’s nice to see their smiling faces), thanks to these free stock photos, we have been able to do away with the use of traditional stock photography in favor of some very modern images that we love.
Well…Where Are These Awesome Free Stock Photos?
We feel so fortunate to have stumbled upon this photography goldmine, that we didn’t feel right keeping this information to ourselves. So for anyone out there who has been struggling to find very un-stock-like free stock photos, look no further than the fantastic websites below. You can visit them and do searches only when you need them or sign up to receive weekly emails with the latest batch of photos. Photos range from cityscapes to nature scenes to food to yes, even great pictures of computers and people using technology in their daily lives. Depending on your industry and your need you may find that some sites from the list below have more of what is useful to you while other options have less. They are all different and finding the one that has the best to offer for your niche is part of the fun. How you use the service is also up to you – if you have a one-time-only need them download what you need and move on. If you – like us – want to keep a steady supply of fresh images around, then it’s simple to download a zipped folder from Unsplash or StockSnap once a week and consult them when you are in need of some a fresh look or just some inspiration!
- Unsplash – sign up and get 10 free hi-res photos every 10 days…it’s just that easy.
- StockSnap – they add hundreds of new hi-res images each week. Search for what you need or sign up to receive a new installment each week.
- Death to the Stock Photo – sign up to get free photos once a month, with an option to choose the Premium fee-based plan…just an option, definitely not a requirement.
- Negative Space – another site filled with beautiful images that grows each week. Sign up or just search for what you need, when you need it.
- Life of Pix – another great option for unique and lovely hi-res images – sign up or bookmark this site for when you need it.
And one more tip for any marketing professionals out there looking for a great free tool that lets you do minimal design work around social media posts, blogs, etc., check out Canva – it’s super easy to use, and will let you take the free images you download from the other sources and maximize their use. They even have ready-made templates for social media, flyers and many other common formats. (Real-world alert…see example here about signing up for a website consultation. That was created by us, in Canva…and clicking that button is a smart idea if your website needs to be updated.) Happy editing!