4 Free-Use Stock Image Sites Designers Love

Finding the perfect image can be a process. In fact, over 350 million stock images are available for download on the internet today. That’s a lot of images you have to sort through to find exactly what you are looking for. Finding the perfect image for your project can be a long, frustrating process…but it doesn’t have to be. Our designers are here to help share some of our tips and tricks to finding the perfect image, along with our favorite free use imagery sites.

Finding The Perfect Stock Image

Of course, our designers love authentic images from companies of exact products staged in different angles and settings. However, not every company has the budget for such a photo shoot. Stock images are a great option for high-quality images that can look authentic and clean, perfect for any project. Here are some of our tips for finding the perfect stock image.

It’s All in the Image Keywords

When users upload images to websites for others to use, they are prompted to tag the image with different keywords that describe the relevance of the image. For example, a user who uploaded the featured image in this blog post might use keywords such as female photographer, photographer, city, or taking pictures. Then, when someone goes to search for a female photographer on the website, the image will come up based on the search relevance.

That said, if you’re not finding the image you’re looking for, try out a few different keywords to see if they are tagged differently than what you originally searched for.

Look at What Images are Trending

Typically stock imagery sites have trending images, most downloaded, or popular images section. You can use these images for project inspiration and ideas as well as learn more about what people are looking for aesthetically. For example, maybe a lot of trending images are of people exploring the great outdoors. You might come up with project ideas using those images as inspiration or you might gather that users enjoy images that include nature, people within images, etc.

Download a High-Resolution Version

Always be sure you’re downloading a high-quality image. When you have a high-resolution image, you have a greater opportunity to manipulate, edit, or change the image if needed. Higher resolution images allow you to expand or zoom in if needed as well, without losing quality.

Ensure You Have Image Usage Rights

Of course, the most important aspect of finding the perfect image is ensuring you have usage rights. Without usage rights, you cannot legally download or use the image in your project. Websites typically have licensing agreements that you can read to learn more about the guidelines and laws regarding the use of images.

4 Free-Use Image Sites We Love to Use

Here are some of our favorite free-use imagery sites that our designers use daily.

1. Unsplash: Unsplash is a free-use stock imagery site that photographers and designers alike – love. When a photographer uploads an image, the site licenses it as a free-use image and allows the user to credit the photographer who took the image. 

2. Pexels: Like Unsplash, Pexels is a community of photographers uploading their images for free-use online. We have noticed Pexels imagery is a bit cleaner as opposed to authentic-looking like Unsplash. Both are great options to have as free-use image sites, depending on the type of images you are looking for.

3. Burst: The newest free-use image site, Burst, is created and run by Shopify. With a beautifully authentic, organic aesthetic, this image site is a favorite of our designers. Don’t forget to check out their image collections and resources!

4. Pixabay: Pixabay is a lot like Pexels, where it is a free-use image hub for aesthetically cleaner, brighter imagery. However, Pixabay’s library of about 500,000 free-use images also includes vectors and illustrations as well. 

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