Hey! Made you look…
Well, I didn’t, but that image did! You shouldn’t be surprised. Visual elements are incredibly important for attracting and retaining people’s attention.
For example, consider these facts from Ethos3 research:
- Content with visuals get 94% more total views than content without them
- Of the information that gets sent to the brain, 90% of it is purely visual
- Human brains process visual content 600,000 times faster than straight text
One simple way to add visual elements to content is by designing with stock photos.
Large reservoirs like Getty Images, iStock or Shutterstock can be great to help you create high-quality visual content for your website — but they can also be incredibly expensive. Sourcing images from the major players can quickly become inaccessible to small businesses and websites without huge marketing budgets.
Don’t panic. You can still download high-quality images for free or cheaply with these tools that our team uses all the time.
Our Top Picks for 2019
I hand-picked the following five stock image resources for their affordability (most of them are free) and ease of use.
1. Envato Elements
I’m starting off with the only resource on this list that costs money. But trust me, this one is worth it. Envato Elements gives you access to more than 1,000,000 super-high-quality downloadable creative assets — from photos to videos to website templates and more — for $16.50 a month.
That’s all. In my opinion, what you get with Envato for the price is unbeatable. One caveat, though, is each subscription is for one individual, so it is perfect for any team with only one person doing the downloading.
Pixabay is a great first stop if you’re looking for one or two high-quality free photos to put on your website. Pixabay includes the widest selection of subject matter available in a free stock image resource. It has over 1 million images (as well as illustrations, vectors and videos) free to a good home — no attribution required.
A downside to Pixabay is that sometimes it is hard to find an image that doesn’t look too “stocky,” especially if you need something specific. But it is always worth a look.
Unsplash is one of my personal favorite stock photo resources, ever. I use it all the time. While the selection and subject matter is smaller than what is available on Pixabay, the quality of free images you can find on Unsplash is top-notch.
Professional photographers submit their photos to Unsplash to be used freely by whoever downloads them. Unsplash doesn’t require you attribute the photos you download, but it does request you do whenever possible.
I highly recommend Flaticon for graphic designers or anybody building a website. Flaticon allows you to choose from more than 1 million free icons and vector images to download and use for any reason you want. Changing out a couple of icons on a website can breathe much-needed new life into a homepage.
The possibilities for use are endless. Sometimes I download new icon packs just for fun. You can never have too many icons, right?
5. Burst (by Shopify)
Burst is another free resource for high-resolution, artistic stock images. Burst is up there with Unsplash as a place to find unique, non-stocky photos that cost nothing to download. At times, the selection can feel sparse if you need a specific type of image, but if you have broad preferences, you can find some real winners on this site.
Burst adds photos regularly, so I like to revisit this one from time to time just to see what is new.
Do More With a Design Team
If your design needs to go beyond changing out a few stock photos, talk to us! Our design team has built hundreds of stunning, professional websites and can help you with any of your needs, from simple branding changes to total website overhauls.
Contact Venta Marketing today for a personal web design consultation! We can’t wait to hear from you.