Images are a core part of engaging web design, and engagement is what keeps people interest in your page/email, and thus your business. Drop that bounce rate, increase your pages viewed per visit, and increase your email open rate. It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words. A great picture is worth a thousand words with an amazing page layout.
Just like any product, good photos are most often paid for. You don’t need to hire a professional photographer every time you need a photograph for a landing page, though: that’s what stock images are for. And while there are a good number of high-quality paid stock photo resources on the web, it helps to know where to go to find high-quality photos for 0% of their prices. In another word: free.
The big three search engines have a handy way to find images you can re-use. After doing a Google Image Search, click the “Search Settings” button, and then the “Usage Rights” dropdown. This will allow you to tell Google to only display images that are flagged for re-use, with four different options. Bing and Yahoo Image Searches have the same functionality, via their “Licence” dropdown.
Harnessing the power of the search engines will cast the broadest net, and give you the widest selection of results. But there are also sites dedicated to sharing no-cost stock photographs. There are so many that it would be irresponsible of me to list them all in this FAQ. So here are two of my favorite lists of free stock photo sites.
This nuSchool article has a solid rundown of free stock photo sites, complete with volume of images, re-use stipulations, and the story behind the site’s creation. Try to tolerate the nuSchool writer’s attempt at being “hip”; I don’t think anyone except Snoop has said “shizzle” since 2010, but the list provided is pretty solid, so I’ll give the author a pass.
Enboard.co’s webdesign resources page has a sizable list of free and paid stock photo sites, along with tons of other resources for web designers. There’s some overlap with the nuSchool list, but enough extras that the inclusion is warranted.
The selection provided by these two aggregates covers a pretty broad spectrum. Landscapes, cityscapes, everyday items (both in-use and isolated), people at work/play/home, humor, serious, business, and so on.
Images can go a long way to punching up your page and email design, keeping eyes on your page. So next time you need some images, go through the lists and see what works for you.