Make your site pop with beautiful images

Images are becoming more and more critical to your organisation’s marketing strategy, but it can be challenging to find the right content and hard to know resources are reliable.

With the rise of social media and electronic Digital Marketing (eDM)s your visual language and images are part of your overall marketing strategy, and not just print or website design. Images are now standard in social media post, newsletters and email campaigns. Getting this content can tricky, and if you don’t know how to access affordable images, it can get expensive very quickly.

The stronger your visual theme and its cohesion, the better your visible presence. Having that much cohesion without significant time and effort is rare. Stock image companies have huge catalogues, so getting an idea of how many images and the breakdown of the cost would be a good idea if you need a large number of images, like a website build or resign. Many of the subscription available work out to $3-$8 each, which you can re-coup 3 times over by not spending your time searching for free images.

Free vs Royalty Free

One thing to watch out for is the ‘royalty free’. Many stock image sites advertise the term ‘royalty free’, and it can be confusing when they try to charge you to download. Royalty free means you don’t need to pay the artist ongoing fees for using the image. Usually, ‘Royality free’ means you still pay for the download.

‘Free images’ are free to download and free to use for commercial use.

Sign up for the free stuff

If you don’t have a budget to for images, one option is to sign up for as many ‘free’ image services as you can stand in your inbox, and only use a single stock image service month to month when you have a big project, like a website redesign, and then cancel once you’re done with the project.

A number of the sites have ‘free’ stock photos, usually if you signed up with an email address. Some were ‘free’ versions of premium content, some were ‘get what you’re given’ batch of images on regular release cycles.

Other were just repositories of a particular artist, organisation or collective’s works. Some artist used a ‘buy me a coffee’ or donation system.

Combined, these sites had enough ‘free’ stock images for a small to medium enterprise to build up a supply of quality supplemental images. Apart from the screenshot examples or content liked from other sites, I’ve used free stock images on all my blogs.

Check the license

We recommend that you store these ‘free’ images in folders or files that refer back to the original source - often they are no longer accessible for download after a time period, and you need to know where and how you got permission to use them.

Each site will have it’s own license details, you should ensure that you have the information on hand, either by keeping a record of the license, as well as an internal reference on what it means.

On most of the sites, the license lets you use the images for commercial use, however, it’s polite to indicate the image suppliers. You can do this in your “About Us” pages by adding an appreciation message with a link to the supplier you use.

The Resize

There’s a free online tool to resize images called Picresize. Many of the high-resolution stock images are large file sizes, you can resize them using this tool. I used a Canva blog template to put the text on my final image the course description, which also had the benefit or resizing the image.

Special mentions

Death To Stock photos . Their free package is sent out once a month, and their premium package was very reasonable at $12 a month for unlimited photos. They currently have a smaller catalogue than some, but we found each image to be very high quality, and their model allowed for subscribers to request content.

PicJumbo is a particularly good resource. It doesn’t require payment, the $15 suggested donation is more than fair given the sheer number of images you get (About 1800).

I also liked Stokpic for its online catalogue for free images, which were sorted by category.