Visual content has been a big player in the online marketing world and it's used to help capture the attention of the reader, decrease bounce rates on web pages and even tell stories using infographics.
The brain processes visual content much quicker than text. It scans for shape, colour and then meaning. We instantly relate image shapes to products, especially company logos.
According to research by Psychologist Albert Mehrabian and confirmed by 3M Corporation, 90% of information that enters the brain is non-verbal!
That is why you need amazing photos in your content and on your landing pages.
How many times a day do you surf through twitter and see those amazing text based images?
How about those inspirational quotes that Michael Hyatt uses to show beautiful photographs?
Ever wondered where those images came from?
You can easily create the same style of graphics using royalty free or copyright free images from stock sites without having to pay a penny or give attribution to the photographer.
We have put all the images from stock sites into five categories:
- Free (Copyright & Price)
- Paid (OK...I know the headline says free, but I'll explain this later)
- Account Creation Required
- Repository Sites
To create the perfect landing page, we recommend you use landscape images that stretch across the entire page. We have been checking the stock site and it includes the image size as well as the ease and speed of downloading images.
If you can’t find a free image then the next step is to check stock sites that require attribution and after that it’s probably time to pay.
Some stock photo sites are dated. The image previews are poor, the search functions and registration processes are soul destroying and we couldn't put you through the pain.
We simply decided not to include those in the list. The sites below have all been tested, so it’s easy for you to quickly grab images.
DISCLAIMER - While we have made every effort to source royalty or copyright free images, please double-check the licensing before you download images. Copyright protection could have changed on these sites since the publication of this post. We are not responsible for any images you download and use.
What To Look For
For royalty-free images, you are looking for the CC0 or Creative Commons zero logo that looks like this.
Or, you may see text like - Public Domain CC0 1.0 like this example:
This means you are allowed to use it based on the Creative Commons Zero ruling.
If you begin to research the different licenses we marked the two types we would use for images.
Free (Copyright & Price)
These sites all fall under the free category. They are easy to use, quick to download images, and you can, in most cases, find the license information fairly easy either on the image pages or by viewing FAQs, About or Terms pages.
Here's a Twitter list of the free stock image members.
2. Unsplash or Re-splashed
Unsplash.com or Re-Spalsh.com
These two sites are from the talented team at Crew. Another easy to use site with high resolution landscape and other images. Re-splash is the hacked up version of unsplashed with a quicker search function. Say thanks @unsplash and subscribe to get new photos weekly.
Click the image then hover over to double check copyright.
They even have free videos like this example of someone typing to use in your work.
To download images from Pixabay and other sites, you may be required to enter a captcha code like this example.
Freepy has a nice mix of randomly beautiful shot images that free for commercial use. A clean site that is easy to scroll through the photos.
6. Skitter Photo
Some seriously high resolution stunning photographs here from three photographers residing in Groningen, The Netherlands. Amazing diversity in their work. Give them a shout out @skitterphoto. Here's a great landing page photo of a cyclist on the move.
7. Barn Images
I found this site in the footer of skitterphoto and got very excitied when I saw the images of people, summer, backgrounds and more. They are all free for commercial use. Fries anyone? Say thanks via @barnimages.
This is not really a stock image site, but designer Liam McKay started uploading some free photos to his site.Do drop him a tweet to say thanks and check out his other projects. We have collated each volume here: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4.
9. Little Visuals (Respect Nicks Works & Donate)
A stunning resource of images that snatched a lot of traffic in the stock photo space. Sadly Nic passed away in November 2013 but his photography will live on. If you use his work, please donate a small amount to help raise money for Hands on Heart charity.
11. Travel Coffee Book
Wow!! These images are just too good not to be included. This work would inspire any wannabe photographer.
A basic site with a great collection of office and desk type shots. Perfect for business or startup related landing pages.
13. Negative Space
An abstract collection of beautiful images. No need to say any more.
15. Snapwire Snaps
They release new photos each week free to use and also have a premium service. Some excellent object and landscape shots here.
Amazingly, all the images are free without any restrictions, but as the images are so good, buy him a coffee and say thanks @bellsdesign.
19. Free Nature Stock
If you love the outdoors, and who doesn't, there's some lovely images here from Adrian Pelletier another easy to use site and great for any type of landing page. View the archives to see more.
There's a picture for everyone on Flickr. Some of the pictures look like your Dad has been using his new mobile phone, but the majority of them are high-quality shots from professionals. For copyright free and commercial images, use the search filter below. Always double check the copyright information.
Choose an image, click to view and download.
23. Fancy Crave
A mixture of superb images for any niche. Two images everyday! Great name as well!
24. Snapographic Gone Snapographic.com An easy to use site with some great images, textures and things. I did hit a couple of annoying ads that prompted software downloads, but other than that, there are some suitable landing page photographs.
24. Ultra HD Wallpapers
As Snapographic is no longer around we updated number 24 with Ultra HD Wallpapers . They have some beautiful images on this site. The site loads fast, is easy to navigate and you can simply download images using right click.
25. Realistic Shots
26. Foodies Feed
Lots of images here, high res, but try to avoid clicking the ads as you’ll only get frustrated while trying to download an image...I suppose they have to make money to cover hosting costs
27. ISO Republic
A great resource from Tom. Images from this website can be used for almost any commercial design project, this includes most forms of digital or printed creative. Bloggers and social media teams are also free to use our images like these coloured huts.
28. Lif Of Pix
Only on number twenty eight and they keep coming. This site is easy to use with minimal download effort. You don’t have to, but it’s nice to share the love. If you download an image take a few seconds to share an image for good karma and send them a tweet @life_of_pix.
A share box cleverly pops up while the browser is preparing to download the file. I bet 90% of people click the shares thinking they need this step to download the image - nice touch!
30. Bara Art
31. Lock & Stock
Lock stock and one smoking photography site. Some excellent abstract photography here. AJ says “If you use any of these photos, please link back to this site as an attribute, so others can share the love. If you don’t, no worries. I don’t have any photo police out there searching!”
Either way say thanks via twitter @ajmontpetit and share his work with others.
32. Jay Mantri
A lovely clean fast site, easy to navigate with a great selection of things, technology, and concepts for your landing pages. Thank Jeshu via twitter @jeshujohn as these images require no attribution.
34. Free Stock Image Point
While researching this article, it's hard to believe that these photos are all available for commercial use. This site has images of flowers, city buildings, landscapes and of course more. Drop them a tweet @mmtstock.
Lots of images here waiting for you to download. They state "Photober is free of charge, a photo downloading site for personal or commercial use. All images are free to commercial reuse, and reuse with modification" So, what are you waiting for...
39. Good Free Photos
40. Public domain Photo
Looking for vintage pictures and other modern photos. It’s easy to use, easy to download and free for commercial use.
A massive collection of images that are easy to download. Attribution is greatly apprictaed if you want to use any of the images. You may want to check the sizes if using them for full width landing pages. Drop them a tweet to say thanks @picjumbo and share the site with friends.
Some photographers like to get credit for their work which is totally fair. These sites all include free images, but you must give credit back to the author for their work.
42. Photo Pin
Some nice collections of images with attribution required. They provide the html to link back to Photopin to give credit if used.
45. Free Food Photos
Some seriously high quality images that pack a punch! Check out these hipster office & hipster fashion shots! The images are displayed on the site but accessed via Flickr. They require attribution to the author.
It’s shame that every category link opens a new window and the site is a little slow from all the ads loading. Other than that, it does have excellent images. Some of the images are free to use and others require attribution. Checking the commercial usage box didn’t make much difference in my testing.
Most of the big stock sites like Shutterstock, Bigstock or iStock Photos sell images. The first two I picked below are newer sites that have a creative team behind them. Both have made their mark in the stock photo space and worth watching to learn how they market themselves.
49. Death To The Stock Photo
They provide free images when you signup via email, but the premium version is a paid for service that supports photographers. They boosted their business by using email marketing tactics we could all learn. The photographs are outstanding, check Instagram for examples.
50. Free Digital Photos
This site has a huge collection of images. You could spend hours crawling through them all. The free images are too small for full width landing pages and require attribution. If you need something unique then you might find it here for a small fee. The site is not the most user-friendly compared to the two sites mentioned above.
Account Creation Required
Now this category contains some good stock sites but they force you to register before you can download. Personally, I would rather give my email address for speed of use, as often the registration process can really drag on.
As marketers, we can all learn from using these sites. You get to see how something so simple can be made difficult and cumbersome. If you build large-scale membership sites, always think about how your users will join and navigate the site.
Free images, confusing license info and not great for landing pages. The free images are a little too small and you are forced to register on the site. However, they have a big library of good paid images. Here's the link to free stock images. They could be listed in the paid category, but the forced registration earned them a place here.
52. Free Images
54. Get Refe
55. Pickup Image
Repository sites go out and source images form larger sites and make them available for viewing in a better format or more organised structure. Many of them also use the Flickr API so they've not been included just to bulk up my list.
Sites like FreeImages.pictures are a repository for Flickr, Wikimedia, Pixabay, morgueFile, Openclipart and Google Custom. They do make searching very easy, but you still have to go and check the copyright before you download any images.
This site uses the Flickr API and you have to create an account first. I nearly didn't include it, but 61 was an odd number for my headline. I also wonder how many people have read this far down the article and picked up that sentence!!
A quick search can return images from many sites. You MUST check the attribution requirements if you are using the images found through Splashbase.
58. Every Stock Photo
Every Stock Photo
This site claims to find ALL free stock images form a collection of other sites. Use the advanced search options to filter sizes, keywords sources and layout. Turn off NASA...like I didn't - unless that's your niche.
59. Image Finder
This site searches Flickrs library and it's a little easier to do than advanced searching inside Flickr for commercial images. When you find an image you can see the original source by looking at the embed code.
This is one of the better repository sites. It’s basically a Pinterest-style site but for Stock Photos and I found they make it easy to see the image source. Double check the copyright license on the source sites when you click through.
61. New Old Stock
New Old Stock
New old stock is a repository of Flickr's old public domain shots. Check the sizes if you want full background images. The older photos were much smaller back then.
62. Find a Photo
Last in the list but fun at the same time is FindaPhoto. You can search the image library via colour and hex colour.
Double check the license, however, I think most of the sites at the time of writing this, are included in the free copyright list above. You can see the image source list here and also the tips section that explains how to search for images by size as well as other attributes.
So there you have it.
3000 plus words, over 20hrs of research, writing, testing and you have 62 different sites you can use to get high quality images.
Please share this post on social sites, bookmark it for future. Your friends and clients, they will love you when you share this article or find them great photos.
You have no excuses for having poor images on sales pages or landing pages. What you waiting for? Go and download some photos and tweet the photographers.
A big thank you to all those site owners and photographers who make it possible for us to get images for our content and products. We quietly love you all!
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