We all know that great photography makes for an effective website. But with professional photography being one of the higher costs for small businesses, there isn't always the budget to hire a photographer or all the images needed for their website and marketing material. Thankfully, there are plenty of places to find free stock photos that offer you royalty-free images to use on your website while saving you a fistful of cash in the process.
The following are 5 of the best places to find free stock images for small businesses.
Unsplash is an essential free stock image site for small business owners in any niche. The database is constantly being updated, although they already boast over 2 Million high resolution images from 200,000 photographers for you to choose from.
The Unsplash licensing terms take a 'do-what-you-want approach, and lists the following as a summary of their rules;
All photos can be downloaded and used for free
Commercial and non-commercial purposes
No permission needed (though attribution is appreciated!)
While Unsplash doesn’t offer the sheer volume of choice as some of the paid sites, the images are generally amazing-quality, and would not look out of place in most ecommerce stores or marketing campaigns.
We can't do a post on image websites without mentioning Pexels. With a tonne of stock photos for free, covering a massive range of topics, you’re sure to find something you like for your business or project.
Their huge, well-organised collection of free stock photos is one of the best curated you will come across, and as an added bonus they also have free stock videos!
Pexels’ also could just be one of the easiest stock photography websites to use, and its search function is what really makes it stand out from the crowd– it’s simple to use and has multiple filtering options. The library of images contains plenty of aesthetically pleasing images, with a heap of stunning landscape photos, so they could be ideal for the backdrop of your website pages, online store, or marketing campaigns.
Gratisography takes a slightly different approach to the other sites mentioned here, proudly proclaiming "we’re the world’s quirkiest collection of high-resolution free stock images, comprised of the world’s best, most creative pictures — images you just won’t find anywhere else."
They can’t compare with sites like Pexels or Unsplash in terms of quantity, nor are they trying to, but how many times have you looked at a website and thought "those images are too stock"?
Gratisography must have had the same thought and so their offering is aimed more at providing interesting photography with personality.
In saying that, the search functionality is quite limited and you may need to do a bit of scrolling to find something you like.
While Pixabay has a very large database of high-quality images, they are somewhat more oriented towards business and marketing than a site like Unsplash, which can be a little more useful for bloggers and content marketers. Pixabay also offers some more advantages over other sites, in that they also offer free vectors, illustrations, music, and video content.
Images on Pixabay are licensed in a way that you can use the images without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist (though it’s always appreciated).
Pixabay also has pretty cool search functionality with filters such as orientation, size, and even colour!
So if you’re looking for a red, landscape photo, that’s 3000 px X 2000 px, you can whack that into search and see the appropriate results.
BURST (By Shopify)
Burst is a free stock photo platform for bloggers, content creators, entrepreneurs, and business owners, created by Shopify.
All of the photos are free for commercial use with no attribution required.
You can use our pictures for just about anything — your website, blog or online store, school projects, Instagram ads, facebook posts, desktop backgrounds, client work and more.
There are a whole heap of pre-populated categories, and you can search for relevant topics, but apart from that there is no other search or filter options so you kind of have to get lucky in finding what you are after.
Once you get all of your images sorted, make sure you check out our post on all the social media images sizes you are likely to need.