As you may recall me pointing out many times before, it’s critical that you use top-quality imagery in all of your business marketing materials. Such imagery is especially important on your website and in your social media marketing materials if they are to attract the attention of your target customer online. In a digital world largely comprised of image-driven social media platforms, visually-rich website designs and super high resolution mobile displays, to use crappy imagery will guarantee your marketing messages being ignored.
To help you create high quality image based marketing materials easily without having to go to the repeated expense of graphic design services, I told you all about Canva in my last post. Canva is an online image editing tool that allows anyone to create highly-professional and high impact business images in just a matter of minutes. And what makes Canva so awesome from the small business owner’s point-of-view is that Canva does not require any special skills to use. Just pick an appropriate template for the marketing document you wish to create, pick your imagery from a vast searchable library that’s fully categorised, place in the desired text and then download the results for immediate use!
Now, even though Canva does provide a supply of photos you can use for free, most have to be paid for at a dollar each. This makes sense of course because this is how Canva generates a large portion of its revenue, through image sales. However, if you really don’t want to pay a cent for producing the marketing materials you need, then there are places you can turn to to get top-quality stock imagery for no charge at all. I’m going to tell you about my three (3) favourite free stock photography websites below.
Importantly, each of these sites offer a CC0 licence for just about all images they offer, which simply means that you can copy, modify, distribute them, even for commercial purposes, without asking for permission or having to provide attributions. In other words, you can use the images as you wish without restrictions.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Not all images offered on these sites are covered by the CC0 licence. Be sure to check the licence status of any image you intend to use before downloading and working with it.
Pexels.com is a relatively recent stock photography site that has several thousand free stock photos that you can use for your website and online marketing materials. As mentioned above, the stock photos offered by pexels.com all appear to be licensed under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) which means you can copy, modify, distribute and even use them commercially, with no attribution is required.
However, I do like to confirm this visually by checking out the licence box that appears to the right of the image before I download it.
The site has a great search function, similar photos function and a comprehensive tagging system as well, which makes finding the perfect image for your specific needs quite easy. Downloading the image is simple, just right-click it with your mouse pointer and select Save Image As… or Save Link As… on the context menu that appears.
The images come down in very high-resolution, often about 5Mb or so, therefore, you will have to resize them appropriately before using them on your website. At most, you want to make sure that any image used on your website does not exceed 50Kb or so in size.
The photos are very high quality, being very sharp, crisp and clear. The one you see above is from the site (after I resized it of course). Most of the images are also very high resolution so they’re perfect for retina displays too.
The people at this innovative firm take an unusual approach to sourcing and distributing their unique brand of photographic works. Rather than provide a massive, browsable online library of “standard” stock photography, the creators, Allie Lehman and David Sherry, essentially email out license free, categorized photos for people to use however they desire.
What you end up with is high-quality imagery taken with purpose and meaning, and tend to fit very well with your creative marketing strategies. So I suggest you signup to their email list and start building up your Death to the Stock Photo library as soon as possible.
morgueFile is a free stock photo website where anyone can upload their images for others to use, which is why there’s a massive collection of over 300,000 pictures to choose from. Registration for a user account isn’t necessary and you can search for images with the search function provided.
Unfortunately, a Browse by Category function has not been made available. Most of the pictures can be used anywhere and for any purpose, however, just read the specific licence text for each image of interest before you download it just to be safe.
Do you have any great tips, tricks or methods for keeping your business going during hard economic times? If you do, then share them with other small business readers in the comments area below.