Stock photography is something I know a lot about. And you know what I see more than anything?
People who can't even stand to see the words "stock" and "photos" come out of someone's mouth. And honestly, I don't blame them at all.
The good news is that not all stock photos are terrible.
Some are actually done by skilled photographers, that aren't interested in photographing stereotypes.
If you decide to download a stock photo, here's a rule that you need to take really seriously:
Follow Creative Commons license rules!
No idea what that means? Here's a handy resource that you should bookmark and save as a future reference.
Stock Photos: where to find good ones for your brand
In a perfect world, I would encourage everyone to go out and take their own photos.
However, not everyone is a skilled photographer, and not everyone has the time to snap a really great photograph.
But that's totally okay! Here are my top four stock photo sites that will help you find the perfect photo for your marketing content.
I'm a big fan of UnSplash because I love how naturalistic the photos are.
But what do I mean by that?
Unsplash doesn't do artificially posed images.
And the moment was definitely captured on a state-of-the-art, professional camera.
Every detail is crisp and well-focused. Yet, every image looks strangely familiar.
Like something you'd see at home, work, or school, every...single...day.
Unsplash's stock images are chosen by a team of creative professionals.
If the team of creatives thinks that the photographer is someone that's been a positive impact on their culture, they'll post the photographer's work on the site.
That's how you know it's definitely legit, high-quality work.
If you want to use Unsplash you have two options:
Search for a keyword in the "Search photos" sidebar:
Or check out the "collections" section, to look for a specific category:
2)The IvoryMix website
Another great place to look for authentic stock photography is the IvoryMix website.
When you sign up, you get access to a collection of member- curated stock photos.
All of the members are bloggers and business owners, who have been randomly selected to curate the photos for the month.
And if you're lucky, you'll win the draw, and get access to custom photos that no one else has access to.
All you have to do is enter an email address and a password will show up in your inbox.
When you get your password, this message will show up on screen:
Then, all you have to do is enter the password, and you'll have access to monthly ZIP files, of curated, stock photo content.
Although it's not technically a stock image site, Flickr is definitely a suitable alternative.
Flickr is an online photo management and sharing site, where users, from all around the world can post pictures.
If you want to use a Flickr image, make sure you pick a public domain image, in order to avoid any copyright complications that might arise.
This rule is especially important to follow if you intend to use the image for any commercial purpose, including a blog.
The big difference between Flickr and the other sites that I just mentioned, is that it's not a curated uploading process.
Flickr is as much of an open-access platform as a lot of social media sites.
However, if you look carefully, you'll find a lot of high-quality work via the Flickr website:
PicJumbo, unlike most stock image sites, is a database of work by only one photographer.
It's 100% free, and public domain. The only thing you're not allowed to do is sell the photos.
PicJumbo was founded by a photographer that was struggling to get his photos featured on stock photo sites.
So, if you don't like the typical look and feel of stock imagery, check out this site!
On PicJumbo you can:
- Look for an image by keyword
- Browse the best of collection
- Check out the random image list
- Choose a photo from the latest images list
- Search based on the categories at the bottom of the page
There are so many free image databases to choose from, that getting images legally is always a straightforward option. Which image sites do you like best? Feel free to comment below.
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