Having trouble finding great photography for your business website? Stick around and I'll show you some great, free resources that you can use. As a business owner who's getting their business online, have you ever struggled with where to find free images and photography that you can use on your website? Well in this tutorial, I’ll show you where you can go to find great images that you can use, royalty free.
Fantastic images are one of the three components of great design (pleasing layouts and typography being the other two). But finding great images and photos that you can use on your website royalty free can be a huge challenge.
So by the end of this tutorial, you’ll have a set of resources that you can hit up anytime you're searching for that perfect photo.
Alright, let’s get started.
When you're getting your business set up and online, finding great images can be a real challenge. And I'm not talking about product photos or anything like this. I really mean images that will be used across your website to help represent your company. Think of these more as images that'll be used in a marketing or branding capacity.
Really, you only have a few choices to handle this sort of problem: You can take some photos yourself, which is certainly an option if you have an artistic eye and perhaps a decent camera. You could hire a photographer or purchase permission to use an existing photograph, which could be expensive. You could buy some traditional stock photography, which can also be expensive, or you can try to source some royalty-free images somewhere on the web.
Obviously, it's this last option that we'll be going for here in this tutorial. But first, let's talk about what you can't do...
We really have to be careful when we start digging around looking for images to use. Despite what you think, you can't just use any images you find on the web. Most content on the web is protected by copyright. And as business owners, infringing on someone else's copyright in a commercial capacity is a very bad move.
The only way you can use an image you find is if you get permission from the copyright owner, or if the copyright owner has made the image royalty-free.
So how can you know if the images you find are protected by copyright or not? Even more confusingly, some images are protected against certain uses. It's these sorts of issues I want to try to sort through here with you. Here, I've gathered three resources that you can use to potentially find royalty-free images to use on your website.
Let's take a look...
The first resource I have for you is Freeimages.com, which is owned by Getty Images. Freeimages.com contains over 400,000 free stock photos that you can use for pretty much any purpose, including personally and commercially. Most of their photos are good quality, and they're always adding new ones too.
Searching for photos to use on their site is straightforward. You can either use the site's search field or browse through their image categories. In order to use their images though, you will need to sign up for a free account on their site.
Once you find an image or two that you'd like to use, you can download them in various sizes—often small, medium, large, extra large, and full.
But, there are some limitations as to exactly what you can use specific images for. Be sure to check each image's licensing agreement to ensure that it's okay to use any images you find for your business venture. In some cases, you might have to provide credit to the photographer or copyright holder. So, if you find images you'd like to use, just be sure to check the licensing agreement.
The next resource I have for you is Pixabay.com, which is a pretty popular site for finding royalty-free images. They provide a huge collection of photos, images, and videos, all sorted into various easy to navigate categories. Best of all, everything on Pixabay is copyright free. Specifically, their materials are released under the Creative Commons CC0. This means that photos and videos you download can be used for pretty much any purpose you can imagine, even commercially.
When searching for images, you can browser through their carefully organized categories, or use the site's search feature. What I like about the search feature is that you can search by orientation, size, colour, and so on.
One downside is that Pixabay appears to be supported by Shutterstock. This means that whenever you go digging for images, the search results page is often cluttered with paid images from Shutterstock.
Once you find an image or two that you'd like to use however, you can get some information about the image, like how many downloads it's had and even some information about the camera that was used to take the photo.
Then, you can download the image in various sizes. You don't need an account on the site to download images, and while giving attribution to the photographer is welcome, it isn't required in order to use the image.
The third and final royalty-free stock photography resource I have for you is Unsplash.com. Unsplash is a community of over 20 million photographers and creators from across the globe, where they share their high quality photos for anyone to use, even commercially, for free.
In order to find photos for your online business, you can use the site's search feature, where you can match up with various themes, like sports, office, commerce, and so on.
Once you find some images that you'd like to use on your site, you can download the images directly—there's no need for you to register or set up an account. However, images from Unsplash can only be downloaded in one size...the largest file size they have. So, you're always going to get a top-quality image, which is great.
As far as the fine print and copyright stuff goes, you can download, modify, and use images from Unsplash in whatever way you want. While crediting the photographer is appreciated, it isn't required.
So there you go. There are three sources for you to find royalty-free images for your business website. There are, of course, many other royalty-free stock photography resources. A quick Google search will pull up more than you'd ever need.
Now, no matter where you've found an image, just be sure you're adhering to the photo's or the website's licensing. Often, individual images will have different licensing information depending on where you find them. Read image licensing carefully, because as a small business owner, the last thing you want is to get yourself into hot water over an image that you shouldn't have been using.
Now personally, while I do use stock photography for some of my projects, these days I'm using my own images more and more...especially if it's something I can shoot here in the studio. It isn't always easy or feasible to use my own photography, but what I like about this option is that I know that my images are unique, that no one else is using the same image in another project, and I can get the exact image I want. Again though, this isn't always possible.
Okay, so there are some royalty-free stock photography resources and options for you and your online business. We took a look at FreeImages.com first, then we saw the popular Pixabay.com. And finally we took a quick look at Unsplash.com. I hope you find these resources useful.
And don't forget to hit up Google or Bing to find even more free stock photography websites.