By now you should know why using stock photos is great for your social marketing plan, but that you have to be careful when searching for useable graphics. If you haven’t already seen our guide to adding beautiful photos to your blog post without getting sued, you should hop over and read it first. I touched on my favorite sources for stock photos in that article, but I wanted to explain what I like about each of those sites for you here.
Every stock photo website is different, and it is important to understand how each can provide you with the photos you need. In order to show you our four favorite sites compare, I did a quick search for “strawberry cake” on each of these services.
Best for Style
Generally, the first place I look for stock photos is Unsplash. Unsplash is an entirely free tool for finding high-quality, curated photos. The site was started by photographers who didn’t want the 10 photos left over from a photo shoot to go to waste. Rather than let the images languish on a hard drive somewhere, they uploaded them to the interest for other creators to use free of charge.
Today, Unsplash’s library contains hundreds of thousands of beautifully composed photos taken by talented photographers who allow their work to be used for free. While crediting the photographer is generally good form, all of Unsplash’s photos fall under a CC0 license, meaning you can adapt the images and use them however you would like without needing to give credit.
This strawberry cake image is a good example of the photos you can find on Unsplash. Their photos tend to have a more artistic, stylish composition than the stock photos you might find on other sites. These are gorgeous photos that will make your blog posts and social media shares look incredible.
Best for the Basics
If your photo needs are fairly basic, head to Pexels. The site contains thousands upon thousands of CC0 licensed photographs, so you there’s a good chance they have a photo that will work for you.
Pexels is great for straight-forward, clean stock photos. I have found that you need to navigate around some fairly cheesy, stereotypical stock photo images to find the gems, but they do exist. You might have to wade through a few pages of photos, but when you do find an image that works, you can adapt or reuse the image for any purpose.
Best for Illustrations and Vectors
Quality-wise. Pixabay is very similar to Pexels. What makes Pixabay stand out is the fact that they also allow you to search for illustrations, vector graphics, and even videos. Sometimes your graphic needs an illustrated background or a clip art icon. You can safely search for these graphics on Pixabay knowing that everything on the site falls under a CC0 license.
Best Subscription Service
Free stock image services are amazing, but they have their limitations. There may come a time when you need a very specific stock image, and there just are no free photos available. In that case, I recommend Deposit Photos. We have found beautiful stock photos for our clients using this subscription service. Deposit offers a variety of ways to purchase photos from the site, so you are likely to find something that fits your budget. The Flexible Plan is probably the most cost-effective route as your unused downloads roll over from one month to the next. Deposit has millions of downloadable files, so your money will be well-spent.
As you can see from this strawberry cake image, Deposit’s photos tend to be of high quality, not only in content, but also in composition and style. This is a definite case of getting what you pay for.
We hope this guide helps you find photos that are worthy of your amazing blog posts! If you would rather have someone else handle the work of sourcing and creating content for your blog or social media account, we can help you! Houndstooth offers top-quality content creation to help tell your story.