Yohei Guy - Monday 23rd March 2020

9 stock photo sites that will make your content more engaging

If you’re a content marketing specialist you’ll know just how important it is for great content to be complemented by engaging photos. Human beings have evolved to understand the world in visual terms and so we respond to photos instinctively in ways no other medium can replicate.

The right photo for a content piece sets the mood and invites the reader to engage with the text. It piques interest and curiosity. It also adds a sense of production value and authenticity.

For these reasons, we decided to share our favourite stock photo sites that you can use for your upcoming content pieces.

Stock Photos on a laptop

1. Freestocks.org

Freestocks.org offers a collection of unique free stock photos that can be used in commercial and personal projects under the CC0 license. The photo library is made up of contributions for the most part by 3 professional photographers who take these shots in the spare time. The images can be filtered via a number of categories including animals, city and architecture, fashion, foods and drinks, people and more. The photos here are beautifully touched up and have a natural look and feel to them which means they don’t feel like “stock” photos.

2. iStockphoto

iStockphoto has been offering an extensive array of stock photos since the year 2000 and was one of the first libraries for crowd-sourced, user-generated stock photos. iStockphoto was purchased by Getty Images in 2006 and has continued to grow in popularity ever since. One of the great things about iStockphoto isn’t just the huge range of photos to choose from but the fact that they also offer illustrations, vectors, HD and 4K videos as well. iStockphoto is a paid service and they have different options for payment (per image or subscription) but with literally millions of photos to choose from it really is a one-stop-shop resource.

3. Pexels

Pexels is a popular stock photo site particularly amongst designers, bloggers and those with an especially keen eye for the aesthetic. Their mission is to empower the creatives in society and to their credit, they have definitely won a lot of fans in this niche. They have hundreds of thousands of photos in their library, all of which have been selected and curated from those submitted by their users. Their photos are free to use in personal and commercial projects under their Pexels license and the quality, as we’ve mentioned, is absolutely fantastic.

4. Picjumbo

Picjumbo is an impressive stock photo site founded by a photographer from the Czech Republic, Viktor Hanacek, who created the site in 2013. He created the site as a result of having his photos rejected by other stock photo sites despite the fact he knew there was a market for his fantastic shots. He was proved right with his photos being used by thousands of bloggers, designers and professionals all around the world. The photos are free but there is also a paid premium version which is updated with additional exclusive photos every month.

5. Picspree

Picspree is an easy-to-use free stock photo site that has a wide variety of photos and styles of photos in their library. In a similar fashion to some of the other sites on this list, it is made possible by the photo contributions of its users. The photos are free to use on both personal and commercial projects with no attribution or sign-up required. It’s a great one to use if you need to source an image fast and don’t have the luxury of a big budget to work with.

6. Pixabay

Another easy-to-use free stock photo site is Pixabay. Founded in 2010, it has since grown to be one of the biggest sites of its kind. At the time of writing, it now has 1.6 million photos on offer which also includes illustrations, vectors and videos. Tens of thousands of photographers have contributed to this library and with the submission requirements stating at least 3,000 px on one side, the images are all very workable and the standard is consistently strong.

7. Reshot

Reshot is a great little site that has been an inspiration for creatives both as a source and as an outlet for their work. A lot of emerging artists submit their work through Reshot which is perfect for those looking for some unique and edgy visuals. With photos from all around the world, it’s a fascinating stock photo site to browse, let alone use, so you’ll probably need to be careful that you don’t get distracted by it if there are deadlines at hand. A very nice site and one that will undoubtedly grow in the future too.

8. Shutterstock

The behemoth of stock photo sites has to be Shutterstock, the resource of all resources when it comes to stock photos. The stats alone are staggering. 1 billion+ photos, videos and music clips, 1 million+ contributors, 200,000+ images added every day with customers across 150 different countries. As you might expect, Shutterstock is a paid service, but you can register for a trial period, getting the first month free. Like many others, you’ll probably find yourself hooked and wonder how you ever published content without it.

9. Unsplash

Last but not least, we feature Unsplash, a website with freely sourced images with something for everyone. This is what they boast at least and it’s a claim that’s hard to argue with having now amassed over 1 million photos. The user experience on the website is one of the best things about it with a range of filters on the homepage in categories like nature, current events, animals, travel etc that make browsing a cinch. They also have a number of curated “collections” which are even more specific and personal, handpicked by members of the Unsplash team.

Some great photo sites to choose from!

As you can see there are some great stock photo sites to choose from with a range to suit all budgets, styles, requirements and tastes. We hope you’ve found this read helpful and that it contributes to more visually stunning content pieces for all to enjoy!

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