Best Places to Find Stock Photos and How to Choose the Best Ones

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In marketing, there are few things as off-putting as seeming disingenuous. If your audience even remotely gets a whiff of insincerity be it on your website, email campaigns, or other forms of branding (hello, social media), they will balk at your product. Customers want to feel like you’re being 100% up-front with them, and because of this consumer instinct, the images you use in your marketing campaigns are extremely important. Pictures have the potential to communicate a broad range of emotions and attitudes that serve to shape people’s fundamental perceptions of your brand, either helping to build, or inhibit, trust.

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So, before you go slapping any old stock photo from some random website onto your marketing material, we here at Beefy Marketing wanted to share with you some quality stock photo sites that we’ve found and a few tips about how to choose the photos that will serve your business best.


The highlights:

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • No attribution required
  • New photos added daily

Unsplash is a royalty-free, attribution-free stock photo website that boasts over 300,000 photos from which to choose. You’d think that a free stock photo site would be replete with less-than-amazing images, but Unsplash’s photos are generated by an impressive community of over 50,000 photographers with images that you could easily pay top dollar for. With business users such as Squarespace, Medium, Trello, and Slack, you can feel confident about using stock photos from Unsplash. Oh, did we mention it’s free?


The highlights:

  • Massive collection of photos, video clips, and music
  • Royalty-free
  • Affordable plans and pricing for individuals/teams

Where Shutterstock shines the most is in the sheer volume of resources that you can choose from. If you can’t find that perfect high-resolution image for free on Unsplash, you can believe that you’ll find it on Shutterstock. With over 175 million images to choose from, the odds are in your favor of finding exactly what you’re looking for. And, while some stock photo sites charge you for access and royalties, Shutterstock offers royalty-free plans and pricing that are affordable for both individuals and teams. Shutterstock also offers a comprehensive video clip and music archive to choose from that can serve your broader stock content needs.


The highlights:

  • Free, quality stock images
  • No attribution required
  • Over 1500 images to choose from, with more added weekly

Picjumbo was started by Viktor Hanacek after his photos were rejected by the major stock photo companies back in 2013. In response, Viktor created Picjumbo where he hosted his own photos and since then has seen close to 6,000,000 downloads since then. While the quantity of photos isn’t nearly as numerous as Unsplash or Shutterstock, the quality of the photos is certainly on par. All the images are free for personal and commercial use with no attribution required.


The highlights:

  • Free for personal and commercial use
  • No attribution required
  • 900+ high-resolution images to choose from

Much like Picjumbo, SplitShire is another free stock photography site started by one photographer specifically to be used by creatives, designers, and entrepreneurs. All his photos are free to use both commercially and personally and has over 900 photos to choose from.

How can I choose the best stock photos for me?

The stock photos that work best are typically the ones that don’t remind your audience that they’re looking at a stock image. We’ve all seen the super manicured, posed stock photos that seem inauthentic, awkward, and out of place. So, how do you avoid that? Ask these three questions:

  • How does it feel? Choose images that feel organic, especially when featuring people, whether as individuals or interacting with each other. When it comes to people in stock photos, look for authentic expressions that don’t seem over-the-top or contrived but rather convey genuine emotion.
  • How does it look? Something else to be mindful of when choosing stock images is how the photo will be used either on your website, blog, or other marketing materials. Does the photo fit with the design, colors, and overall theme of your website or other branding? Does the size, resolution, and orientation of the photo work for the space you’re trying to use it?
  • Does is fit with my message? Consider the messages that will be featured with this photo. Does the image compliment the message or distract from the message? Is there space in the photo to feature text if you’re planning on adding text on top of the image?

The Beef

Inbound marketing doesn’t have to be rocket science when you have experts who spend their time staying on top of the constant changes that occur in the digital world of marketing. You’re the expert at what you do. Let us bring our expertise to your team. Give Beefy a call today at (281) 516-8122

Andrew Brockenbush

Andrew Brockenbush

CEO of Beefy Marketing & Host of the Business Growth Hacks Podcast

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