Imagery is CRUCIAL for showcasing your brand, invoking feelings, and cultivating a connection with your audience.
As a photographer, I will ALWAYS tell you that the best option when it comes to imagery for your site and social channels is to pay a photographer to capture you and your brand.
But let’s be real…
Photography, like branding, is an investment. It’s an extremely worthwhile investment, but it’s one that I know not everyone can afford when they’re just starting out.
Cue stock photos. They’re definitely not as personal or fitting as your own branded photos would be. However, stock photos have come a long way over the last few years and there are some GREAT sites that offer images (and sometimes videos!) that are free to download and free of any copyright. Essentially, you can download the images for free and use them across your site, social channels, marketing materials, etc. without worry of infringing on anyone’s copyrights.
While stock images and video aren’t a true replacement for your own brand imagery, they are a damn good stand in until you’re at the point where you feel comfortable investing.
There are lots of sites out there offering free stock imagery, but the following are my favorites and the ones I always direct my clients to…
It’s hands down my favorite for photos. Tons of variety from some amazing photographers.
There is some overlap in the photos available between Unsplash and Pexels. I find that Pexels is more likely to have photos of more obscure things that you’re looking for, whereas Unsplash tends to be a bit more mainstream. (Just my personal opinion, of course.)
The real reason Pexels rocks is all of the stock video that’s available. Video is a fabulous way to add some personality and movement to your website. They’ve got a pretty good selection for you to choose from.
Canva (esp. Canva Pro) gives you access to both stock photos and video. I’ll argue that their selections aren’t as great as the other two sites I’ve listed, but it’s still a great source for beginners.
A note of warning, sometimes their videos are kind of amateur, think shaky home videos…so I’d avoid these unless that’s the look you’re going for. Sometimes they also contain sound, so make sure to check the mute button before downloading if you’re looking for a video sans sound!
And there you have it, my 3 favorite sources of stock photo and video. Again, a branded photoshoot will always rein supreme, but these are wonderful cost-effective options for those who can’t do their own shoot just yet.
If you are ready to invest in brand or product images, you can check out our photography offerings here.