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Have you ever wondered how websites seem to have perfect, sometimes oddly specific, images
no matter their niches? Many of them achieve this through the magic of stock photos!

In today’s digital landscape, no website is complete without relevant, eye-catching images.
While the best solution is to get a professional photographer to produce custom images for your
website, this approach is not always feasible or affordable for website owners. Stock photos can
be an affordable and effective alternative.

There are two main reasons to put images on a website. First, images help break up long
chunks of text into smaller, more digestible paragraphs so that people are encouraged to keep
reading. Second, images are a great way to drive home a point or put emphasis on an idea. In
fact, good stock photos can make a blogger outreach service!

What makes a good stock photo?

Good Stock Photos vs. Bad Stock Photos

Using stock photos can become somewhat of a balancing act: you want to find photos that
clearly convey your message, but you don’t want to use photos that look scripted.

Let’s take this well-known example: “innovation.” If you look for the word “innovation” on stock
photo sites, this is one of the most popular search results:

1 0OjNBVdHDpnmFPFKwPyKaw

This is a good example of a bad stock photo. Sure, it has the word “innovation” in the image, as
well as other related buzzwords, but what does the image convey? Does it inspire a feeling of
change or a message of transformation? Aside from being a literal representation of the word
“innovation,” that stock photo doesn’t have anything else going for it.

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Now let’s look at another stock photo for the word “innovation”:

innovation 1

Now, this image is a good stock photo! While it might not literally show the keyword, the image
portrays it in a more creative and unique way. Any visitor to your website would not only
appreciate the more visually appealing way of presenting the idea of “innovation,” but they
would also be more curious to see what else your website would offer.

The 10 Best Free Stock Photo Sites

Here are seven of the best free stock photo sites where you can find photos and other images
for your blog:


If you’re looking for weird and wonderful stock photos for your blog, then look no further than
Gratisography. In fact, they boast about being the “world’s quirkiest collection of high-resolution
free stock images,” curating only the strangest and wackiest photos out there. If you’ve got a
very specific niche for your blog, you might be able to find the perfect images here!


Pexels is one of the biggest and well-organized collections of free stock photos on the Internet,
making it a favorite for both first-time and professional bloggers. What’s more, they even offer
something that you won’t normally find on stock photo sites: free stock videos! You can consider
Pexels your one-stop free stock shop for all your image needs.

One of the biggest draws of is the ever-growing collection of high-quality free
photos. Every time you visit, you will be treated to hundreds of new photos since they add new
content daily! Aside from a search bar to make your searches a snap, they also offer a
tag-based system so you can find relevant images quickly.


If you use your blog to run your business, you probably need stock photos that are a bit more
formal. Well, Pixabay has you covered! Their extensive database of high-resolution stock photos
is the dream stuff of marketers and advertisers. The website also offers free illustrations and
vectors to give your content that extra oomph!

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Death to Stock Photo

Death to Stock Photo is exactly what it sounds like: a website dedicated to giving you
high-quality, unique images you won’t find anywhere else! This site is full of images from
talented photographers and artists that will give your blog an edge over blogs that use
dime-a-dozen stock images.


Once upon a time, a photographer by the name of Viktor Hanacek got tired of stock photo
websites rejecting his work. So, what did he do? He created his own free stock photo website!
Today, you can find Hanacek’s stunning photographs as well as images from other talented
photographers on his website, PicJumbo. And yes, they are all free! If you want to show some
love, you can choose to donate or buy him a coffee.

Noun Project

Sometimes, simple is the way to go. If you don’t want something loud and flashy, or your blog
has a minimalist theme, the images at The Noun Project are right up your alley. This website
offers over 2 million simple and beautiful black & white icons that will add a touch of elegance to
your blog.


With over 50,000 contributors and a huge database of over 300,000 high-resolution images,
Unsplash is one of the largest free stock photo collections on the Internet. Since thousands of
new images are added every day, each visit will yield you something new and exciting. It’s just
like a treasure hunt, but online!


If you don’t have the time or patience to crawl through thousands of stock photos to find that
one perfect image, Foter has the perfect system for you. Their home page contains one of the
easiest and most organized search systems for stock images. You can use the search bar,
browse their ideas area, or simply click the relevant category for your blog. It’s that simple!

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Negative Space

One of the best features of Negative Space is that they allow you to search through their images
by color! And as any blogger worth their salt knows, color plays a huge part in influencing how a
person feels about a certain brand. Of course, the website also allows you to search by
suggested keywords or by category.

Some Basic Tips for Choosing the Best Stock Photos

Still feeling a bit stuck on how to find the best stock photos for your blog? Here are three tips to
keep in mind:


Always use high-resolution, high-quality images. If you choose blurry or poorly shot photos, it
could harm your website and cause visitors to lose interest in your blog. It won’t even matter
how interesting the rest of your content is — first impressions do matter!

Try To Look From the Outside

Put yourself in the shoes of your visitor or all website traffic. Remember, you know the message that you want to convey, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your visitor will automatically understand that
message from your stock photo! Always ask yourself, “what message am I getting from this
stock photo if I don’t read the text?”

Don’t Be Afraid To Tweak the Photos

Stock photos won’t always be that perfect image for your needs. Luckily, you can use other tools
such as Photoshop or Canva to tweak the photos and make them work for you. You would be
amazed how much more impact a simple crop or transparent color overlay can give a photo!

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