Hi-res images, lo-fi prices
Finding quality photos can be a challenge online. Stock photos can be hilarious at best (check out the Dark Stock Photos Twitter feed for an insight into how dreadfully directed some of these can be), or, for the most part, just very, very boring.
But whether you’re looking for images for a mood board, t-shirt design, website graphics or blog posts, aesthetics are important. We live in a visual world and pictures have the potential to express a lot of meaning. Whether you’re in need of images for tech company branding, merch for your street food business, or graphics for event promo, the right choice of images can bring your website, product, service or message to life.
Making sure images are copyright or royalty free is crucial. Royalty free images have been made available, through licensing, to anyone who would like to use them for their websites and blogs. Essentially, it’s other people taking great pictures and then letting you use them on your site or in your promotional material for free. While it can be tempting to use unlicensed images found online, don’t do it – not only does it undermine the value of the work of the photographer or creative, it can also lead to legal complaints down the line.
Besides, there is an abundance of fantastic sources of copyright free, high resolution images – and we’ve found them for you.
Unsplash may not have the multi-million photo numbers of some of the big sites on this list, however there is something so genuine and different about its images that it deserves a mention – it’s a favourite of us here at ICON Printing and we often pick out high resolution photos from its creative selection for use on this very blog. The variety you will find on the site is extensive and steers away from the usual staged feel of some stock photos. They are also open to contributions (and you don’t need to be a professional photographer to share your work, so it’s also great way to get your photos out there – or simply give something back to the archive.
Best for: Filtered photos and the hipster aesthetic
Burst has a brilliant selection of high-quality, high-resolution and (most importantly) royalty-free images to choose from. It has a simple to use interface which allows you to get in, find your image and get it downloaded. Powered by Shopify, the global e-commerce company, Burst continuously adds new images from a global community of photographers. One great feature is the Business Ideas page which shows a selection of case studies of business ideas with a load of great information!
Best for: Cool, creative images for websites
One of the largest libraries of royalty-free content anywhere on the web, Pexels is simple to use and has some brilliant images and videos. Everything is easy to download and covered by Pexels license, allowing for commercial and noncommercial use. Whilst you don’t need to sign up to download any of the images from Pexel, if you do you will receive content straight to your email as well as 40 exclusive photos.
Best for: Quickly accessing a huge archive
Looking for more design and merch inspiration? Have a read of our guide to screen printing, find out the benefits of a staff uniform, or check out our tips for the best tech companies and event planners in the UK. You’ll find even more on the blog.
Flickr is possibly the biggest name in photo sharing. Owned by Yahoo, it really does have a picture for all occasions with a database of over 6 billion high resolution images to select from. You have to sign up to use Flickr, but there is the option to go for the free membership which allows you a certain number of images a month. You can also sign up to Flickr Pro account, with a yearly fee and access to unlimited images.
Best for: The sheer quantity
Another great site for free high resolution images, Pixabay also boasts an extensive collection of illustrations, vectors and videos. The German owned site doesn’t require you to sign up to download any of the content, however you can create an account if you would like to contribute any images you have taken. This is a great site if you are looking to add illustrations to your site as well as look through a brilliant collection of high quality images.
Best for: Quirky illustrations and vectors
Promising ‘no tricks, no gimmicks, no fine print; just dazzling images for your creative projects’, StockSnap deliver on that promise in a big way. While some of the images are taken from Shutterstock’s site (more on them later), any which don’t have a watermark are free to download without the need to sign up. The images on the site cover a wide range of areas which are made easy to browse through as they are sorted into different categories.
Best for: Chic, creative photos
Nature, Spring, Abstract and Digital Nomad are just some of the categories of images that you can scan through for free on Picjumbo. One thing we really like is if you see an image you like there’s a great feature which allows to find more images like it with one click. There are so many great photos available for free on the site but if you want to get access to a number of exclusive photo galleries you can pay a monthly subscription fee starting from $6.58 a month (£5.02).
Best for: Easy browsing
Life of Pix
The most artsy option on this list, but don’t let that make you think the Life of Pix archive isn’t high quality. The site uses images from a host of different photographers, some professional and some amateur, and groups them in galleries, or if you find a photographer you like you can search through their images exclusively. Whilst there aren’t as many images as on other sites the more artistic approach means they offer something a little different from the others on this list. They also have a partner site called lifeofvids.com where, you guessed it, they have a great collection of videos that are also free to download and use.
Best for: Creative, artistic and atmospheric shots
T-shirt printing in London? At ICON Printing we offer fast turnaround printing and embroidery with a wide-ranging catalogue from t-shirts to caps to bags. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.