The most ‘un-stocky’ stock images and where to find them

Oftentimes we’re in need of high-quality images to accompany our compelling text. A good image doesn’t just grab the reader’s attention, it can help (or hinder) the perception that a website, blog or brochure is credible, that the writer is knowledgeable about the topic and can even resonate with a reader before they read past the title of a piece of content.

So, a good image is kind of important if you care about reader attention, credibility, looking knowledgeable and resonance…

But good quality images cost dollars and time, whether you’re creating them yourself or sourcing them from a stock image site. We don’t always have the skills or budget to do this though, so are we left with a piece of great copy sans image or (potentially worse) a shonky looking clip art job? Nope! Luckily, there are three places I use each time I need a great image for free, but to save you time trawling the web I’ve put them here for you in one handy location…

…and here they are:

1. Death to Stock Photo

Death to Stock is an artist-owned co-op that provides you with authentic stock photos (and videos). The images and video are beautiful and artist created, so you don’t get your typical ‘stocky’-type stuff here.

Death to Stock Photo offers a 14-day free trial which you can use to get some pretty stunning imagery or video footage, and you can cancel anytime.

2. Unsplash

Unsplash describe themselves as the internet’s source of freely useable images. And that’s exactly what they deliver. Again, you won’t find much in the way of a ‘corporate type’, smiling cheesily at the camera, but what you will find are people-focussed images that look entirely real, or dare I say, authentic. As if the thing it depicts was really happening. Pretty cool.

Unsplash also has a handy search function so you can find exactly what you’re looking for and it makes it super easy to credit the author of the image (if you’d like to).

3. Pexels

Pexels is like Google images for Creative Commons stock imagery (copyrighted images you can use freely with little/some restriction).

It’s easy to search for what you want and it’ll suggest similar images based on what you’re looking at, including paid versions through Adobe Stock if you can’t quite find what you’re looking for (although I’ve never had that trouble).

So, there you go! Bookmark these three for beautiful imagery that doesn’t look like your standard stock photo and doesn’t cost you a thing.

Photo used in this blog post by Marek Levák on Unsplash.