Creating online content is a path full of peaks and valleys. As an online professional, I’ve filled various roles over the years. The career path leads to moments of bliss, where I have felt as if I am cheating the universe due to the ease and smoothness of my routine. Alternatively, there are elements of the profession that continuously frustrate and make live a bit of a living hell. For me, and many others I know, finding appropriate stock photography has plagued the process of creating clickable content. Finding images of integrity and quality that actually suit subject matter and evoke the desired response is a tall task, and it’s not surprising that so many sites struggle. However, it seems that a whole bunch of them lack the requisite effort, and they just plain suck.
Here is a guide to 13 sites that, in my opinion, absolutely don’t suck at all, in descending order from “best” to “worst.”
EyeEm is the gold standard for high-quality stock photography sites. I hold this opinion strongly, as do many others that I know and respect. Generally, this site is held in very high regard. The stock photographs on this site are authentic, royalty-free, and engaging. Compared to a lot of the competition, EyeEm is in a whole other league. I use EyeEm as my “go-to” and it rarely fails to satisfy my needs. Basically, this site has turned the process of finding high-quality stock photography from a burden to a blessing. If you’re looking for quality: start here.
I really like this site. The pictures are all sourced from the work of a man named Ryan McGuire, who runs Bells Design. The pictures are high-resolution and they can be used for free for any personal or commercial project that you are working on; there are absolutely no copyright restrictions. The images are categorized as Animals, Nature, Objects, People, Urban, and Whimsical. If you are looking for anything that can be specifically narrowed down into one of those titles, I would suggest heading over to Gratisography to check out the work of Mr. McGuire. The catalog is updated with fresh new stock photos on a weekly basis.
This is a perfect resource for a popular niche. There are certain types of content that seem to be more common than many others in this new wave of content marketing. Generally, images regarding office culture and workplace settings are required. MMt Stock specializes in this, as well as another very popular type of content: flowers and nature. So, if your content is geared towards the specific niche of “workplace” or “office culture”, this is a great resource. Generally, nature and flowers are much more versatile, and Jeffrey Betts at MMT does this well. New photos are added to this impressive collection on a weekly basis.
StockSnap is totally a great resource if you’re looking for quantity. Their database of stock photos is big enough that you can search very specific keywords for results. Many of the photos are beautiful and high-resolution; all of the stock photos are free. They add mass amounts of photos on a daily basis, so the large collection is consistently growing larger and larger. The site has a lot of other good features, like sorting images by the amount of downloads, so you can see what photos are the most (and least) popular. The photos all exist in the public domain, so there are no copyright hoops to jump through.
The collection on Unsplash is fairly large, and everything is high-resolution. Unsplash has earned a reputation for being one of the superior choices when it comes to finding stock images of high-quality. Every ten days, Unsplash releases 10 more impressive photos that will be added to their already substantial collection. Everything on the site is classified as “public domain” and can be used for free, for whichever purposes you require.
6. Negative Space
I have never had any issues using Negative Space, though it’s not necessarily the first place I think to search for my stock photography needs. Like the rest on this list, everything is free, and the impression good-looking, high-resolution stock photos is absolutely impressive. There are 14 “categories” of images that make navigating and search for your preferred image quite convenient.
Freestocks is exactly what it sounds like. It doesn’t offer any interesting thrills or gimmicks. However, the collection holds value, and the photos are free.
Picography is pretty good. Dave Meier is the main contributor to this website, but a myriad of photographers contribute to this site, as well. These are free stock photos that are released under Creative Commons, and there are no copyright restrictions with any of these photos.
9. Death to Stock
This is an inventive take on a stock photography service; I say “service”, not “site”, because this is more of a personalized email service than a website collection. Every month, a fresh photo pack is sent to your email inbox. As you can tell by the name, this group is doing their best to innovate stock photography methods. Their premium membership is not free, but it offers some cool perks, such as access to their full 1500 photo library.
Another categorized site with some great photos. Easy to navigate through the high-resolution selections. New photos are added to the site on a daily basis.
11. New Old Stock
This is a niche site, as well. Generally, the photos are “vintage” and work very well for an article that is playing on an old-fashioned theme of some kind. Not very versatile in terms of relevance, but a great collection, regardless.
Free for any type of project, these photos are taken with mobile devices. A consistent source of interesting, dynamic images.
13. Kaboom Pics
Kaboom Pics is a great resource for fantastic stock photos. The photos are categorized specifically, and the free stock photos are generally quite fresh and creative… As long a photo from this site is not being sold or redistributed, it can be used for commercial purposes.
Take what you can from these photography sites and make the most out of them. You can use the photographs to feature on your blog, promote your brand; there are tons of other uses. But how do you make the most out of them?
With the growing popularity of video marketing, that’s certainly one way to do it. With right captions and right sets of photographs, you can achieve anything you want on the web, whether it’s brand promotion, awareness campaign or just telling your story.
Use Picovico to create amazing slideshow videos with our professionally designed video styles.
If you have any queries, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is a guest contribution by Jacky Chou. Chou is a founder of Indexsy, and he is pretty good with a stapler.