Where to Find the Perfect Photos for Your Blog or Website

Nov 2014
Photo credit: @marenlosojos
Photo credit: @marenlosojos

As internet connections have improved, so has the quality of images displayed on websites and blogs. Modern web design trends include large, high-quality, colorful images being displayed as the first thing you see in the background of the site. This trend isn’t arbitrary; images like that bring life, personality and credibility to sites, which is especially important in a world where many online businesses are promoting intangible products and services.

The bottom line is, you need large, powerful images if you want a modern looking site. So, where do you get them?

Paid Stock Photo Sites
In a response to the need for large, high-quality photos, stock photo sites have surged in popularity over the last ten years. Sites like iStockPhoto, Getty Images, 123RF and Shutterstock offer packages that involve buying a number of credits and then exchanging those credits for images that can be used in whatever capacity you require.

What’s the downside? Aside from the obvious financial expense, these tend to look like stock images. A clever designer can do some editing to make them look more abstract and unique, but in the end, you’re seeing images that are clearly staged, and the odds are pretty good that some of your target audience has seen them before.

What you should definitely not do is use Google’s image search to find a picture you like, and then just download it. Stock Photo sites make a lot of money every year from lawsuits against people doing precisely that.

Instead, utilize some of Google’s built in search tools to find images you can use. After you search for an image, click Search Tools, and then click Usage Rights below that. Now you can filter images that are available for reuse without any licensing issues. Make sure to check the sources of these images, however, to avoid any issues.

Free Stock Photo Sites
An option growing in popularity these days are stock photo sites like Pexels, which provides professional, browsable photography, New Old Stock, a blog that posts high-quality images of vintage photographs, and Little Pixels, a site that emails subscribers seven high-quality images every seven days. What do all of these sites have in common? Their photography is available completely for free, with no restriction on use.

Hire a Photographer
You’ve worked hard to get your business to a level of success you can be proud of. Why not show it off? No stock image in the world can lend the credibility that a picture of your employees working in your office can, as long as the quality is professional and the shots are designed to enforce your brand. Many business owners don’t want to take on the expense of hiring a photographer, but a few hours of professional photography will always yield better and more credible results than days spent finding just the right stock photos.

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