For those of us who blog on a regular basis for ourselves, or for clients, one of the big dilemmas is how to find graphics and images that don’t break our budget.
Thankfully there are several sites that provide royalty free and attribution free use at no cost or very low cost.
Here are my favorite photo and graphic sites for marketing pieces and blogging:
- Pexels.com Free images. This is my favorite free site because they have a decent variety of business related images. They accept donations, which is a nice way to say thank you to the photographers and site owners.
- 123rf.com Very low cost for most of their images. And, really nice high quality for business shots. One of my clients found this site when he was looking for photos and I love it! When you download photos, you will get an attribution link. That is an option, as the images are royalty free.
- Pixabay.com Another free site. This site has beautiful images. Not as many “business” related photos as Pexels, but some amazing shots.
- Shutterstock.com The nice thing about Shutterstock is you can find consistently high quality photos, vectors and graphic icons. The cost is $15 per download. I use this site if I can’t find anything that’s perfect on the other sites. They have such a huge inventory that I can always find something that works.
- Unsplash.com If you want beautiful outdoor images, this is the site for you.
- Your own camera Never underestimate the power of your own images. A few things to consider if you use your own photos… 1) Good lighting; a flash will only carry for about 10 feet. So, you either need strong overhead lights or take a close up with a flash. 2) Stage everything. If people are involved, stage them and then have them interact while you take the shots. 3) Take dozens of photos; only a few will turn out. In a modeling shoot the photographer will take hundreds of photos to get the one “perfect” shot.
The key to using stock photos in marketing is to somehow try to make the image your own. I often crop photos or edit some of the colors to match the client’s branded colors. Another idea, if you use images showing a computer or papers, is to add some content to make it your own. Here’s an example of what I mean.
I typically wouldn’t use as much text as the example to the right. A few bullet points or words can suffice. With personalized text, the image becomes less of a stock photo and something that can blend with your website or blog.
Feel free to let me know if there are any other high quality, free photo or graphic sites that I didn’t mention. I always appreciate feedback on my blogs.