The constant need for new content as a time-strapped entrepreneur can be stressful. But if done right it is proven to consistently entice your audience to come back time and time again. With this in mind, I’ve created a list of some of the best stock photo sites, both free and paid, to help you ease off your workload for good.
Why use stock photos?
You can learn a lot about a brand by the images they use. Not only are the useful for illustrating your point and keeping our very short attention spans engaged (thanks Internet), they are incredibly powerful for conveying the emotion and feeling we want others to associate with our brand through beautifully curated imagery.
As business owners, we constantly have to shift between a number of hats. Stock photography gives you one less thing to worry about, so you can redirect that energy and put it to better use on more top-level tasks, like binge-watching TV shows on Netflix.
Where can I use stock photos?
Blog post imagery
Instagram story posts
You see where I’m going with this...
Where can I find the best stock photos?
The good news is that there are so many stock photography sites out there, so it won’t be hard to find some images. The hard part is know where to find the best ones. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with some of my favourites.
Free Stock Photography Websites
Canva (both free and paid)
Benefits of using free stock photography
There’s a tonne of choice, just throw in some keywords and the world is your aesthetic oyster.
Some sites such as Unsplash have creative commons licensing which means your free to edit them, crop, change colours and really make the image your own.
Oh yeah, and did I mention they’re free?
Disadvantages of using free stock photography
Though free sites are easy to access and have tonnes of choice you can bet that everyone else is going to be using them too. With paid stock photo sites although they are still accessible to everyone there will be a much smaller fraction of people using them.
Finding exactly what you want can take a bit of time as there’s so much choice.
It’s possible (not confirmed, but highly speculated) that free stock photography ranks lower in terms of search and engagement. This is especially true of Pinterest where images are ranked to describe what’s in the photo. If thousands of people are using the same photo for completely different topics this can confuse the algorithm and result in your pins being wrongly categorised.
If you want to use the images to promote your paid content there are often additional rules that need to be considered
Benefits of using paid stock photography
Unlike some of the bigger, free sites where you have to trawl for content you can easily pick a site that is similar to the aesthetic you’re going for. That means when you pay for a subscription or bundle you know you’re going to be getting your money’s worth.
Usually you can also leave feedback and make suggestions for upcoming content.
Disadvantages of using paid stock photography
You do have to pay for the photos, however this can be seen as more of an investment than a cost.
Often images are grouped in bundles so it could take some time to find if you’re looking for a specific image as opposed to a general context.
It’s likely no matter what site you choose some images just won’t be fitting for you
How do I choose the best paid stock photography site?
Have a look at examples of their existing work.
Do they fit with your brand?
Are they high quality?
Do they offer a good quantity per month to fit in with your content goals?
How is content delivered (one off bundles, membership sites etc)?
Read up on their licenses.
What can you do with the images and more importantly what can’t you do? Will you have to pay an additional fee for your licensing needs?
Get in contact
Have a burning question you can’t find the answer to? Don’t be afraid to shoot them a message to clear up and queries before making a purchase.
Sign up for their mailing list
Often paid sites offer a free *taster* of their content via their e-mail list. This will give you a feel for whether their content aligns with your brand
Still don’t have the time to source your brand imagery?
As part of my Pinterest services, I curate content for your account so you don’t have to worry about spending hours trying to find images to fit your aesthetic. Each pin graphic is *lovingly* sourced by me and tailored to reflect you and your brand.