Saving money on free photos for your website
If you haven’t realised before reading this blog, one of the most important aspects of a website design is the photography. Clean, attractive, high quality photos can really transform a website or print design and improve your conversion rates. However, you’ll probably also know that engaging a professional photographer for a relatively small website can be very costly to your limited budget. If you have a unique product or service then it is definitely worth paying out for individual photos that will show off your products to their very best, but what if you don’t?
Paid stock photos
Stock photos can be really important to visually improve any design and can be one of the most important factors of a website design. As a website designer, I sometimes find it difficult to get high quality, visually appealing photographs from clients without having to take them myself. Often cost comes into play, clients don’t always have the budget to allocate to a new website and a number of photos. Stock photos can cost anything from £2 to £500+ each. Often stock websites will sell credits, usually meaning you need to buy more credits than you’ll actually use! There’s an alternative… free stock images!
Where to find free stock photos
If you’ve ever tried looking for free stock imagery on the internet, you’ll probably know how much of a pain it can be. In general good, high-quality, free images are really hard to find. Even when you do find some, they are likely to be low resolution, maybe watermarked, blurry and mostly irrelevent to you. That’s why we have a list of our favourite royalty-free photo sites which are always worth a visit before handing out any cash…
Our favourite free stock photos websites
Pixabay is full of really stunning photos, all easily found with the great search bar and more importantly free to use! All images and videos are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons Zero. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty-free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required so they are perfect for website, social media and print design purposes.
Death to Stock
You can sign up to receive a selection of photos, regularly, straight to your inbox. Whilst they might not always be relevant to your business, blog or interests, you can be assured that they will always be amazing photos of top quality every time.
If you are looking for amazing, beautiful landscapes then Unsplash adds 10 new royalty-free photos every 10 days. This site is so simple and has a good search facility. All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero.
Totally free photos for commercial and personal use. Another easy to use, high quality and good search function for you to find the perfect free stock photos! I do have a few gripes with this site though. Only showing 8 photos per page is a little annoying and time consuming when looking through categories. Also the two clicks (and new page loads) needed to download. One would do and you stay on the page you were on… now I just open the image in a new tab!
Free high resolution photos for personal and commercial use. Although some of these images are pretty eccentric, they are unique and you never know when you might have the perfect project for them! All pictures are photographed by Ryan McGuire.
More free, high-res, inspiring photos all taken by Jay Mantri. The website is a little awkward as it’s set out like blog posts and you can’t search for certain things, but you can download easily and subscribe to updates. These are all Creative Commons Zero licensed so as Jay says – ‘free pics. do anything, make magic’!
What about licences?
Creative commons copyright licenses can be pretty complex but are really important in helping creators retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute and use their work, non-commercially. Be sure to check any image that you want to use on a website, advert or printed media that you have the right to use it. You may need to attribute the author in order to use it for commercial use.
The majority of the free stock photo websites above have images with a Creative Commons Zero license means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer.
So what are you waiting for…? Get searching for those perfect free photos for your website!
Of course if you have any great suggestions, please post them below!