Finding the right, high quality images for your website is important. The quality of the images can affect how your visitors perceive your website – whether it is credible or not. Whether this is fair or not, it’s simply human psychology. We all tend to gravitate towards nice and pretty pictures, and are quick to judge when something doesn’t look good.
We have a few different recommendations where you can go find high quality images. Some of these resource are free, and some are paid services.
The free images are referred to as “creative commons”. They’re free for you to download and use on your websites as long as you provide credit to the owner of the image. One downside if creative commons is that your selection may be limited.
There are also paid images, which compensates the author of the images. With paid images, you get access to a very broad variety of stock photos that covers almost every industry out there.
We’ll provide recommendations for both free and paid sources below.
IM Free (Free)
IM Free is a free resource from IM Creator and the images are free for you to use under the Creative Commons license. We really like a lot of the photos here as they give a sense of realism and authenticity. IM Free categorizes the images by collections / categories, such as ambient, arts & music, business, black & white, cityscape, education, fashion & beauty, foods & drinks, inspirations, lifestyles, nature, occupations, people, technology, etc. This is a fantastic resource. To see what IM Creator is all about, see our IM Creator review here.
Click here to see IM Free.
Unsplash is a website that gives you 10 free, high resolution photos every 10 days. Once you visit the website, there are almost an endless number of beautiful and professionally taken photos for you to use, absolutely for free. Just keep scrolling down and you can use them as you wish. You should also read the licensing note just so you understand how you should use the images under Creative Commons. For a summary / archive of all the images ever posted, click here.
Click here to see Unsplash.
500px.com (Free & Paid)
This is one of our favorite places to find free and paid images. One thing we really like about 500px.com is that their creative commons are awesome. The quality of these free images are just as good as the paid ones from a few other sources. We find that the images available here are more artistic and some of the “real life” shots are much more realistic than the canned pictures from other sources.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Flickr, which is probably the biggest resource of free images. At the time of this article, they have over 43 million free images for you to choose from. The challenge is that they don’t always have high quality images, but you can find a lot of “natural” pictures as people are free to share their images online on Flickr. So the images are not overly “posed”.
Click here to see Flickr.com
Getty Images has a very big selection of paid images with over 24 million in their database. Amongst all the paid images provider, we like Getty the most. They’re not the cheapest, but that’s for good reasons as their images are very commercial (meaning they work very well for all kinds of businesses).
Click here to see GettyImages.com
Shutterstock has one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of photo, icon and vector images (over 28 million). They offer package deals and also monthly subscriptions so that you can download as many images as you like during the subscription period. A drawback of Shutterstock is that some images are priced on the premium end. However, they do offer one of the best quality images that are exclusive to them, so in our mind, this definitely helps justify their pricing.
Click here to see Shutterstock.com
Bigstock has over 15 million images. They have a fantastic selection of background images, portraits, landscapes, fashion photography and much more. BigStock’s selection of images and icons is not as comprehensive as Shutterstock, but it has its advantages!
Click here to see Bigstock.com
Want more in-depth discussions on which of the above resources works better for your website, the pros & cons of each resource, or when to use which resource?
Take a look at this guide here. It will save you some time from browsing through the websites.