We all know that images have a better chance of capturing attention in a noisy, cluttered online world. We are naturally drawn to pictures and colours. Images and infographics should be a part of your website, blogs and inbound marketing.
But what if you don’t have a photographer or graphic designer in-house?
On the internet, a high-quality photo is worth a thousand words—but often comes with a price tag. Some online sites offer photos for free or low-cost but there are so many generic stock photos out there – it’s hard to find something truly stunning. For free. With no copyright.
Well, it was until now.
We want to share our five favourite sites. We have illustrators and graphic designers for illustrations and infographics but when we need a photo, these are the places we go. Five sites that are a cut above the regular royalty-free stock websites. High quality photos you can use for your business, website or blog, all at no cost.
Free high-resolution photos you can use however you want. Unsplash adds 10 new royalty-free photos every 10 days. The quality is astounding. They recently added urban subjects, but many of the photos are breathtaking snaps of the great outdoors. We love the evocative nature of these photos. Unsplash also showcases examples of where the images are used. Great for inspiration.
Unsplash is a side project of Crew, a community of creative web professionals, so you're sure the curation is top-notch.
An initiative of Italian photographer Daniel Nanescu, SplitShire is home to his best work. You can use them all for free with no copyright restrictions. We love Nanescu's photos because the collection is vast, already categorised by subjects (abstract, people, food, etc). Many of Nanescu’s photos have a vintage feel to them.
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Pexels is a collection of handpicked stock photos from free image sources around the web. They have a great range of people and sports photos. We like Pexels because they do all the work. They go out of their way to verify that the images are under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0). The only thing they ask is that you don't portray any identifiable people in the photos in a negative light.
Every week, at least 70 new photos are added to their existing collection of more than 3,000 images. Their website is easy to use and searchable by what's new and what's popular.
4. Life of Pix
Life of Pix is a collection of donated images hand-made with love by Montreal-based Leeroy Advertising Agency and their network of photographers.
We like the artistic, quirky nature of some of their photos – all available for both personal and commercial use. Each week one photographer is spotlighted and a fresh batch of photos is added.
Pixabay is a collection of over 440,000 photos, illustrations and vector graphics. Some of their photos feel generic in nature, but the range is vast, the resolution high and they offer the ready-to-download images in different sizes.
You can filter the images by category and you also have the option of viewing just a single photographer's collection.
Pixabay offers all its photos for free, but they also host some of Shutterstock's images on the site. When you choose these images, you are redirected to the Shutterstock site. Shutterstock charges varying licensing fees depending on the photo.
Visuals are powerful. With only 10 seconds to gain someone’s attention and with a 47% increase in engagement of a post with an image compared to one without, now is the time to make sure your images are a cut above the rest.
We hope you find our round-up of the best royalty free websites useful. If you have a favourite site we didn’t mention, we’d love to hear about it.