Great images are an essential part of a beautiful website. Adding several stunning images to your website can transform it into an exciting, memorable experience for your visitors and customers. When putting images on your site, there’s a lot to keep in mind, like placement, dimensions, and file size. But before you need to think about any of those questions, you need to know how to choose a great stock image and where to find high-quality images.
The do’s and don’ts of stock photography
There are millions of stock photos out there which is why we put together some do’s and don’ts to help you choose the right ones.
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- Take time to browse images: Even if you’re immediately blown away by the first images you see and think “wow, these are great pictures," invest a few minutes into checking other photos and stock image platforms. You may find an image on another platform fits more to your style. Don’t just take the first picture.
- Use high-resolution images: Smaller is always possible. Pay attention therefore to a high resolution of the pictures, which you download.
- Stick to the basics: Don’t use more photos than you really need, even if there are thousands of beautiful pictures.
- Write alternative text: Remember to enter the alt texts for search engines. For a brief description of the respective image is enough. (This is how it works for: Creator, Dolphin).
- Use cliché stock photos: We’ve all seen those five stock photos that have been used a thousand times. Or scenes that look staged … awkward. Avoid these at all costs.
- Be inconsistent: Find photos that really fit your industry and text. Don’t just choose photos because they look great.
- Use too many symbolic images: A few symbolic images (depictions that don’t actually show something but illustrate it e.g. a lightbulb to symbolize an idea) are perfectly okay. However, be wary of using too many of these images throughout your website as it could look bland and outdated.
Where to find high-quality images
There are a number of different websites that offer free, high-quality images that can be used commercially without any royalties. Here are some of our favorites.
Unique and relatively unknown, Barnimages offers free, high-quality images that you can’t find elsewhere. The reason? Barnimages isn’t your normal stock photo portal. It’s a photography project by Latvian founders Igor and Roman, who call their pictures “non-stock images." They only provide you with photos that they themselves love. The two of them have taken the majority of pictures themselves. Plus, they also upload photos from their personal photographer network—always with the claim, that each of the (over 2000) pictures are totally different. Definitely worth a look!
Pixabay is an excellent community of photographers who are dedicated to sharing high-quality, license-free images. You’ll get complete access to a huge library of approximately 1.4 million incredible images and videos in a variety of styles and sizes. You can sort photos in specific categories (food/drink, sports, health, etc.), filter by color and size, or search for specific keywords. In addition to the search results, photos from Shutterstock are displayed (clearly marked), which are subject to a charge. We recommend that you check out the Editor’s Choice, section, which is frequently updated and contains tons of fantastic photographs.
The strength of PhotoPin lies in the simplicity: Just like a search engine, you enter your search terms directly on the start page and then get suitable photos displayed. The pictures can then be downloaded with a click on “Get Photo" in various sizes.
Unsplash is a unique stock photo blog that posts 10 new photos every 10 days. The photos are submitted by a range of photographers with a wide variety of interests. There’s no easy way to search for a specific image, but you could spend days scrolling back through their archives and looking at thousands of mesmerizing images.
PicJumbo also offers a large collection of pictures in many categories. The platform was founded in 2013 and two years later it was able to break through the barrier of 2.5 million downloaded photos. Good to know: If you want, you can download more than 2000 photos at once, so you always have a considerable image library offline. This feature is also free, although there’s an optional donation.
There are a lot of cheesy stock photos around but Gratisography proves that this doesn’t have to be the case. Their images are creative, interesting and can spice up your website with their quirkiness.
Tip: The services presented here usually provide you with the photos free of charge. Please note that images of trademarks (logos, names, products) cannot be used for commercial purposes.
Life of Pix publishes a new, high-resolution image from (mostly) professional photographers every week. Again, instead of your standard clichéd photos, you’ll find high-quality footage on Life of Pix that makes your website stunning! You can browse the galleries of individual photographers and click through their collections for hours.
At Pexels you’ll find a huge selection of photos, sorted into various categories. In addition, the portal offers you some special features, for example, you can filter by popular photos or trending searches which can provide beautiful images or even some nice inspiration for your own search. Despite hundreds of thousands of photos, Pexels is easy to use and still looks tidy. Highly recommended!
Free stock photos included for Jimdo Dolphin
At Jimdo, we think that only beautiful high-quality images can make a nice website look fantastic. That’s why with Jimdo Dolphin the best stock photos are fully integrated into our image library. There’s no need to download or search image databases. Just click on the photo symbol and choose “Photos from Jimdo". We offer a huge selection of free photos in different categories. It’s that easy :-)
Dolphin not only integrates free stock photos but also suggests your best images from Instagram, Facebook or Google. So you always have all your images in one place.
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What do you look for when choosing a stock photo? Let us know in the comments!