Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/@charlesetoroma
The internet is full of pictures! But are you allowed to use them? Do you know what your license includes? OR, what a license is? Why can’t they all just be free? I’m going to give you the dirt on where to find free stock images, and my favourites for the ones you need to pay for.
Free Stock Image Licenses
Typically when you use a free stock image you’re supposed to credit the owner. For example, Unsplash will show you a popup that tells you exactly who to credit by “Saying Thanks”. This is a wonderful practice. Not everyone does it. If you aren’t, give it a go. It’s nice.
Always check to see what the license agreement includes for your free stock images and make sure you’re following the guidelines set out for you.
Paid Stock Image Licenses
Depending on where you buy your stock images, you’ll have a different type of license for each one. It’s important to actually read what’s included with these so that you’re not breaking the rules. Some are intended for commercial use (to sell things) and some are for editorial use (like newspapers or blogs). Some can’t be used in conjunction with specific brands. Make sure you do your reading!
My Favourite Free Stock Image Sites
These sites have been growing in popularity more and more over the years, thank goodness, AND, they’re getting more diverse. It used to take me hours to find an image that wasn’t just of a white man when I used the keyword “business”. This is progress!
It is so key, to represent a diverse group of people with your images. Yes, your ideal client may identify as female and might dress professionally, however simply using one type of person that represents this archetype doesn't demonstrate inclusivity. Make sure you're selecting images that show a diverse range of body types, skin colours, abilities, gender spectrums and sexualities.
I've included a number of resources below with free stock images for you to use! Hooray free!
Remember to credit the source of your images! It's as simple as writing "Image from xx" and linking back to the source unless otherwise noted. Hey, they've made these pictures available to you for free!
- Gender Photos by Vice
- WOCinTech Chat
- Flaticon (all icons!)
My Favourite Paid Stock Image Sites
Hands down, my favourite graphic asset site is Envato Elements. It has such a ginormous library of assets that I really don’t need anything else, and it’s only about $200 USD/year.
Seriously though, it’s not just images, you can get vector graphics, templates, super bizarre stock footage, you name it! I especially love the fart sound effects in the SFX library. They’ve also partnered with Twenty20, which means 50 million more stock photos.
If you can’t find it there, you’re probably going to need to go with something more niche, like Clio and Fox or Adobe Stock.
Clio and Fox has unique, custom stock images that you really can’t find anywhere else, and that’s by design! It’s true, after a while you’ll start seeing the exact same stock images everywhere you look. So they’ve made it easy to stand out with super niche stock images that really pop.
Adobe Stock is a classic hub for stock images. While pricey, they do have a lot of really specific images that come in handy, for example when your client’s product is a very specific type of red algae.
Have a favourite stock image site that I missed? I’d love to add it to this list! Leave a comment below!