Providing beautiful photography on your website is a must. It adds interest, it helps internet searches (which promotes traffic), it makes it easier to pin and share, and beautiful images help to build trust in your business. Many website themes (including this one by squarespace) allow space for banners with pictures behind text, or you can use images behind text for buttons- like I have. Either way, finding lovely stock photography is super important and very useful. However finding high quality photos that can be used commercially (on your website or blog) without needing to reference the photographer (and use the picture legally) can be tricky.
I have done a lot of research on this, and looked at a lot of free sites and paid sites. While paid sites like Shutter Stock can be awesome, they are also really expensive, and while it is worth the money, sometimes that amount of money just isn't possible. I have 3 great options for you.
One of my favourite sites is Unsplash. Seriously they have so many different types of photos (including ones of groups people that I just cannot take on my own!). I am not getting paid at all to say this, that's how good they are. Unsplash has a huge range of beautiful, high quality, large digital files that you can download for free, most without needed to attribute the photographer. I have only used my own stock photography, Unsplash and Pexels (below) to deck out this blog.
My other favourite is Pexels. Some of the photos are the same as unsplash, but they also have a whole lot of different ones. Just beautiful, high resolution photography, that you can download for free and use personally or commercially without needing to attribute the photographer! So easy, so awesome.
(That photo above, with the computer and post it notes can even be seen on a very popular graphic designers blog (Mariah Althoff) who I think is fantastic! See it here... )
How I use the photo sites:
1. I search for specific stock photos, such as for this blog I used the search terms "computer", "coffee" and "pink". Just browsing through is great, but you will see a whole lot of beautiful images that won't relate to your work at all. Whereas doing as specific search will mean you get what you need.
2. Place the photos under text (like I did at the top of this blog- photo from my collection). In an upcoming blog I will share how I make those images, and some easy free ways you can do it too, even without fancy expensive software.
3. Or place the photo in a banner on your site (like Mariah did in the link above) to add awesome imagery to your site
I sell my stock photography, because it's just me in my business and I do need to make money somehow, and I'm all about transparency :) But if you sign up to my blog below then I'll send out 4 free photos just to say thanks! You'll get one styled desk, one floral, one still life and one coastal photo as a little sample pack :)
What stock site do you use? Or do you take your own? Let me know! It'd be awesome to hear from you :)