Not a professional photographer? Not lucky enough to have an Instagram spouse?
Don’t panic. I have you covered. I’ve listed my favorite stock photo sites below.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. Thanks.
In Search of The Perfect Image – On The Cheap
If you have a website or a blog and you can’t afford a professional photographer or aren’t lucky enough to have an Instagram Spouse, at some point you’ll need to buy some stock photos. So whether you’re looking for a collection of photos for a new website, or just the right image for a single blog post, here are some of the places I like to go. I especially like Creative Market because they have collections of photos with complementary themes, they’re generally inexpensive and save hours and hours of time.
However, if you need a single photo or if you’re willing to put the time in to create your own photo collection for your project, I highly recommend starting here:
One of my all-time favorites. You can search for still images as well as video clips. The search engine is excellent. They also make it very easy to download photos from their site on smartphones, so be sure to download the app too.
Before I discovered Pexels, my go-to spot for photos was Pixabay. It’s still a great resource, but I seem to find the images I’m looking for faster on Pexels. It could be just the type of images I’m usually looking for, so I suggest you try both and see if one gives you more of what you need than the other.
I discovered Pixabay when I used to use the WordSwag app a lot to create images for Instagram when I was on that platform a lot more than I am now. For those who may have never used WordSwag before, it allows you to use photos on your phone or from their Pixabay database. Once you’ve found your photo, you can add your own text in a variety of fonts and export them to a variety of sizes for the various social media platform.
PicJumbo is another wonderful resource for a huge variety of photo categories and image styles.
They also have photo collections which as I stated above, saves a lot of time. Another nice feature is once you find a photo, you can hit a link that says “More images like this” which also is a time saver.
If you haven’t visited Unsplash for a while, please visit soon. It has come such a long way since its beginnings. The search engine is great, the quality of the images is excellent and many you won’t find on other sites, and they have the option of searching via categories if that suits you.
Because I enjoy using Photoshop and taking my time to create my own graphics, I resisted Creative Market for a long time. But life gets busy, and at some point, I had to admit to myself that I’m never going to be a Michaelangelo, so Creative Market is the place I go when I need a template for social media graphics, for Powerpoint presentations, new fonts, and more.
One of the nicest things they offer once you sign up for their newsletter is 6 free goodies every Monday! Sometimes, graphics, sometimes fonts, sometimes background/patterns. It’s worth the visit just to sign up.
Freepik has a selection of photos, Photoshop templates, icons, and vector images. I haven’t found a larger collection of vector images anywhere else. I’m not nearly as good on Adobe Illustrator as I am on Photoshop, but having the ability to size a graphic while keeping it crisp at any size makes it worth my time fumbling around with Illustrator.
If you’re like me with Illustrator, keep in mind you can always copy the image from Illustrator and paste it to Photoshop as a smart object and keep the quality of the image.
Like Freepik, Creative Tacos is a good place to find vector art, fonts, icons, and more. They do have search capability of course, but if you’re the type of person that works better diving into categories, you’ll definitely feel at home here.
They have thousands of design assets, from the pretty much ready to go variety, to the small decorative elements a more experienced graphics person might use.
They also have a great email newsletter I recommend you sign up for.
It seems to me that Pond5 used to offer some free stuff, but I was hard-pressed to find anything that didn’t have a price tag. However, it should be noted that the price tag on some stuff is as little as $1 or so.
They have some great filters to really dive deep into the type of photo you’re looking for, and while not free, they are usually reasonably priced. They also have video, music, sound effects, illustrations, and more.
Another cool feature they have includes uploading a photo you already have and asking to find photos that are similar.
I suspect that most people think of Canva as only a place to create an entire graphic for social media or even ebooks, etc. But their supply of photos is pretty inspiring. Some are free and some cost a couple of bucks, but even if you don’t want to create your graphic in full on the site, you can still get inspiration from the photos and the incredible font pairings they have.
You can sign up for Canva’s free version or go for the free 30 day trial period for the Pro version. Either way, it’s worth a look when you want to have an image or graphic of some kind that fits your needs.
Another time-saver is that you can choose a picture, etc, and resize it quickly to see how it looks on different platforms without having to start totally from scratch.
Coverr.co is awesome! Have you ever gone to a site that has a fullwidth video clip of something that makes you go, hmmmm… wish I could afford a videographer.
Coverr.co can be that videographer for you! They have a huge variety of different types of free stock video footage. Perfect for those hero images on your next website.
Do you have a favorite place to get stock photos or videos? Let me know in the comments below. I’m always trying to expand my list of sites with great design assets.
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