When I talk to clients about their digital strategy and content creation, one thing that always comes up is imagery. Where can I find it? How do I get it? Do I have to pay for it? How do I use it? Beautiful imagery and photography is so important for digital – while we can rely on our phones for social media, for websites and newsletters, we need high resolution photography. So, where do we find it? Read on!
For small businesses, relying on an in-house photographer just isn’t a reality. If you’re a retail business, then you may already invest in styled product imagery and potentially campaign imagery for big collections which is wonderful. But what about blog posts and newsletters? Or, what about if you’re starting off and need some stock photography to launch your website? Here is my list of the best stock photography sites out there (some of them free!). And don’t forget your discount code at the bottom to get you started!
Note – always do your own research on whether stock photos are restricted under copyright or a creative commons license and whether you need to credit the source. I’ve included some info on this below but always check before you start using a new site.
Stocksy offers a curated collection of high-resolution photography. Photos are royalty free and available through a range of pricing options depending on your needs. While it’s always handy to be able to access free beautiful photos, at the end of the day, we also need to be supporting the creatives who are producing them. What I love about Stocksy is that they really support their contributings photographers – they are a photographer-owned cooperative and give all photographers 50% of a standard license purchase and 75% of an extended license purchase. Which means every creative gets paid fairly – they also all receive a share of the company. How great is that? I’m very excited to be able to offer a discount code to get you started with Stocksy. Use the code OfKin20 to receive 20% off your first purchase. Get started here.
I’ve been using Death to the Stock Photo for some time now and I love it. They are, in their own words, ‘a photo and inspiration haven for creatives crushing their path’. I don’t think I could say it better! Sign up to their service and each monthly they’ll send you a free pack of high res photos on a theme. They have their own very reasonable terms which you can read here. Basically, you can use the photo how you please but you can’t redistribute it, clam it as your own or use it in a defamatory or hateful way. Read the terms before using for yourself, then sign up to download your first totally gorgeous pack. Psst! I even used one of their gorgeous images to create the header image for this post!
Ok, this site is pretty amazing. All images on Gratisography are free and all are photographed by Ryan McGuire with no copyright restrictions – which means you can use them for personal and commercial needs without crediting them. Although, as we touched on above, it’s always nice to give credit where it’s due and do your bit to support the creative industry. Think about that before using stock photos and depending on what you need them for. The photos are high res and some of the most fun and unique I’ve seen on a stock photography site. You can also search the site to find an image on a particular theme and new photos are added weekly. Brilliant! Check it out here.
I love this site. New Old Stock offers beautiful vintage photos from public archives that have been made available to use, without any known copyright restrictions. Including landscapes, drawings, maps, people and even vintage photos of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones concerts, download their beautiful packs and make history your own. Take a look here.
Jay Mantri is another site that I fell in love with a long time ago. A designer from Southern California, Jay Mantri offers free, luscious and totally inspiring photos that you can use for commercial or personal use without attribution (although you can always credit too!). It’s particularly wonderful for landscape and travel photos (just look at the shot of the Norway dock below!), but there’s also fluffy white sheets and that always handy shot of a great cup of coffee. Visit it here.
Another gorgeous site offering free (in their words ‘do whatever you want’) high-resolution photos. These are super stylish options submitted by different photographers which means you get a diverse range of photography perfect for your blog posts, website imagery and newsletters. You can subscribe to the Unsplash service to receive 10 free new photos every 10 days. I know, right? Perfect. Check it out and sign up here.
Are you new to stock photography? Or do you have a stock photography site you always use? What do you find is your biggest challenge when it comes to sourcing or creating images?
Don’t forget to use your special Stocksy discount – use the code OfKin20 to receive 20% off your first Stocksy purchase. And, if you’re in Melbourne on June 2nd, come along to Art Creation in the Digital Age (details below!) and let’s chat!
I’m also speaking at a unique event – Art Creation in the Digital Age hosted by Stocksy and General Assembly. Join us for a conversation with industry pros and pioneers on the evolution of photography in design and artwork creation.
When: Thursday 2 June 2016, 6pm – 8pm
Where: Donkey Wheel House
673 Bourke St
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
There will be an art exhibition showcase with a silent auction for charity – titled “Tiger Snakes and Six Packs” – co-curated by Stocksy and Frankie Magazine. With an industry panel discussion moderated by Kylie Lewis of Of Kin, she’ll speak with Stocksy founders, Tess McCabe (Creative Women’s Circle) and Matthew Henry of OakandInk.