Looks certainly aren’t everything! But when it comes to your website, newsletter or Facebook ad, having an eye-catching image can make the difference between a “click” or no click. Spicing up your marketing assets with engaging images is always a good idea. But how do you source these images? Luckily, there are tons of quality stock photos on stock photo sites.

Sure, stock photos can be notoriously cheesy and fake looking… like this one…

But if you know where to look, you can find a great selection of amazing stock photos at no cost whatsoever. Here’s a checklist of what to look for in a stock photo site:

  • Relevancy– When you perform a keyword search for a stock photo, the results should closely match your query
  • Authenticity– Unless you want a funny or exaggerated vibe, the best stock photo sites will offer authentic-looking photos where people look natural and not like they’re acting.
  • Flexible licensing– It’s important to familiarize yourself with the different type of licenses that legally define how you can use a photo. It’s always best to look for photos with “creative commons public domain” licenses. These are the most flexible and let you use, modify, copy and distribute stock photos even for commercial use.

Now that we’ve covered the most important attributes of stock photo sites, it’s time to take a look at the best ones. The stock photo industry is pretty big with many resources flooding the market. We’ve scoured through dozens of them to bring you our list of the top five stock photo sites with free images.

Unsplash

The best thing about Unsplash is that its entire library is populated with freely useable photos created by a generous community of professional photographers. Unsplashe’s selection is organized into popular categories like “Business & Work,” “Travel,” “Fashion,” and more. You’ll find really gorgeous landscapes and cityscapes and authentic shots of people. 

Pixbay

Pixbay offers a vast library of free images and royalty-free stock photos. The unique advantage of Pixbay is that you can easily search for illustrations, vectors and video in addition to photos. If, for example, you need to source a graphic for your website and not a photo, Pixbay is a great resource.

Burst (by Shopify)

Burst is the brainchild of Shopify, one of the most popular and powerful website builder for e-commerce stores. So, with Shopify users in mind, Burst offers a robust collection of royalty-free stock photos that are excellent for use on your website or generally for marketing and commercial use. They have a whopping 28 main categories with even more sub-categories that include everything from celebrations to fitness to technology and more.

Reshot

Reshot prides itself as a library of “non-stocky” photos, meaning you won’t find notoriously cheesy, overly posed images that make us all cringe. Similar to Unsplash, Reshot’s library is built by photographers themselves who contribute their work. And their terms of use are very clear and simple: All photos on Reshot are free to use for both commercial and non-commercial purposes. So, take a wander and go crazy!

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