Many a business has been launched from a blog: Groupon, Mattermark, and blogging platform Ghost all began life as simple places where founders could post their thoughts. Yet the visual aspect of any online presence has changed dramatically since platforms like Instagram gave users an appetite for beautiful imagery. But unless you’ve got an eye yourself (or a willing guinea pig of a friend who does), you’ll be turning to stock photography to do the job for you. Sadly, most of these are outside the budget of the average at-home blogger. But if you look closer (as we’ve done), there are some high-quality free stock photography websites that will help get your brand out there and looking swank.
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Don’t forget: although these sites host pictures that are free to use for personal, editorial and commercial purposes without any need for attribution for the photographer, just be aware of featuring things like people, landmarks and trademarked products (Getty’s guide to intellectual property will get you up on all the details).
From the filtered to the clean, Pexels is a straightforward, easy-to-browse site with a pretty impressive set of images for virtually any topic you can think of. There’s also a Photoshop plugin to make life that little bit easier (if you’re fluent in Photoshop, of course).
Helpfully pre-divided into categories for searching ease, Negative Space has a more authentic feel than your standard stock imagery site, making it a great choice for more relaxed websites and blogs. Plus, there’s also a category dedicated solely to typography – now that’s our kind of forward thinking.
If you’re in the market for more whimsical, cheeky and downright weird imagery, Gratisography has got the range you’re after. Colourful, vibrant and noticeably different inclusions, this site will give your site the creative edge you’ve been looking for.
As essentially a master database of other free stock photography sites, there are nearly a million searchable snaps on Pixabay, giving you a pretty good chance to stumble on something that’s fit for purpose on your blog. Helpfully, there’s also a clear filtering system at the top of the Pixabay browser to help you sort through endless images by things like colour and orientation.
While the images on this site of relaxed, candid photography are pretty top-notch considering they’re at a low, low price of “free”, you’ll pay the price in another way here – having to scroll through the blog-like layout to find the right snap for you. Our advice? Save some time for scrolling and never forget to “collect” the image in a library for later (just sign up for an account, then add any image to your personal library by clicking said button in the bottom-left corner).
This little extension, Unsplash Source, is pretty helpful too – it will help you customise the image size before you upload it to your website, saving you a help of a lot of time.
Death to the Stock Photo
Finally, a stock photography site after our own hearts. Frustrated with the lack of authentic photography, Death to the Stock Photo (DTTSP) is the perfect antidote to unusually smiley women in crisp white shirts. What’s more is that DTTSP actually delivers a bunch of free photos to your email each month, so you don’t even have to go searching if you find something you like.
Life of Pix
Need something more than a fab free photo? Life of Pix also offers videos free of charge on its website, so you can make your blog look infinitely more professional than your wallet can afford.