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A Picture's Worth 1000 Words: 7 Great (Free) Stock Photo Websites

A picture is worth 1000 words...

Why use stock photography?

Whether you're looking for the perfect image to accompany your latest blog post on Graphic Design (like me!), or hunting down for photography to accompany the information on the brochure you're designing on vacationing in the Bahamas, you're probably going to want stock photography. Adding images into your pieces will add a dimension of beauty and interest that help bring your design work alive - and stock photography can be just the way to do that. One concern that is voiced a lot is the cost of stock photos - especially if you're on a budget. While it's true that a lot of stock photo sites require subscriptions to their site (like Getty Images or iStock), there are also many websites out there that offer stunning stock photography -- for free. These sites are often populated by photographers that are looking to get their name out there. They donate images to these sites for free use in the hopes of gaining some exposure and recognition in return for their work. It's a win-win situation for both the designer and the photographer when their images are admired in a piece that credits both creatives for their part in the job.

Copyright Laws

Anytime that you're using artwork that you didn't create, you want to make sure you're giving credit where it's due or else you could find yourself involved in the messy world of copyright law. Just because an image comes up on a Google Image Search does not mean that it is free to use that likeness in your work! You'll want to be careful to pay attention to what sorts of copyright exists with any images that you use. The best license you can find is free from Copyright Restrictions or else are dedicated under the Creative Commons Public Domain license. You can learn more about the Creative Commons Public Domain license here. Most stock photo sites will tell you about the licensing that they offer and operate under, and what you can and cannot use the images for. Some photographers will restrict the rights to personal use, for example, while others will allow you to use their images for commercial work as well.
Ignoring the copyright laws and restrictions can be a very costly mistake, so be sure to follow the guidelines given.

Here are some great resources that you might want to try out next time you need some good stock photos to populate your designs:

[caption id="attachment_56" align="alignleft" width="300"] Adobe Stock Image.[/caption]   1. Adobe Stock - One of the most convenient and useful tools for stock images on the market today is the Adobe Creative Suite's addition of a stock photography resource - Adobe Stock. While Adobe Stock isn't entirely free, the site is included as part of your Creative Cloud subscription. Each image includes the size in pixels in it's description, so you know the image's resolution before printing. Additionally, they offer free sample files that are watermarked for design purposes so that you can demonstrate the use of the image for your client to see while selecting images for your project. The images on the Adobe Stock site are crisp and vibrant, and you can easily search and find images that fit your subject. There's a little bit of everything on Adobe Stock - you can find literally anything, as demonstrated by the fact that I managed to find this picture of a dog relaxing on a pile of photos of himself. #DogsofInstagram? [caption id="attachment_59" align="alignright" width="300"]Photo by Freddy Marschall on Unsplash Photo by Freddy Marschall on Unsplash.[/caption] 2. Unsplash -  Unsplash is an online community of photographers and designers that have generously offered samples of their work for free stock photography use. There are over 300,000 photos, donated by 50,000+ photographers. The artwork offered on Unsplash is high resolution, and there are some truly stunning images offered on the site. While it's free, photographers do appreciate credit for their work, of course, and you're encouraged by the site to include a photo credit with the image so that the photographer gets exposure in return. [caption id="attachment_60" align="alignleft" width="300"] Image from BOSSFIGHT.[/caption] 3. BOSSFIGHT. - Another free stock photo site that's out there, similar to Unsplash, is called BOSSFIGHT. BOSSFIGHT doesn't prompt for giving credit to the photographer the way Unsplash does, but the quality and resolution is less discriminatory, meaning there are some lower resolution files mixed in on the site. Regardless, there are thosands and thousands of photos on BOSSFIGHT to look though, and more are added everyday so there's always a fresh page of images to stir the creative juices.   [caption id="attachment_65" align="alignright" width="300"] FoodiesFeed Image.[/caption] 4. FoodiesFeed - One of the hardest things to photograph is food - the camera just takes away a lot of the appeal. For that reason, stock photos are often used by food bloggers and menu designers to keep their designs looking delicious. FoodiesFeed is a great free resource for images of all things edible - from coffee to croissants, prawns to portabellas, cheeseburgers to cabernet.
[caption id="attachment_67" align="alignleft" width="300"] Poppies from[/caption] 5. Another great free resource is, which uploads new photos every week that have been released under the Creative Commons license. These images are all completely free for commercial and personal use.   [caption id="attachment_69" align="alignright" width="300"] A Hay Train, Image from New Old Stock[/caption] 6. New Old Stock - If you're looking for something a bit more vintage or historic in nature, you don't have to resort to breaking out the Photoshop filters to make new images appear antiquated. New Old Stock offers authentic older images that are free from any own restrictions - ranging from old time cars to locations all around the world, there are many interesting things to discover.
[caption id="attachment_70" align="alignleft" width="300"] NASA Image Gallery.[/caption] 7. NASA - One of my favorite sites on the Internet is NASA's official site, which offers up thousands and thousands of gorgeous pictures of space, taken by the various telescopes and probes that are out there exploring our galaxy. These images are breathtaking and in such high resolution that they can easily be printed as posters and wall graphics without losing clarity! The gallery includes deep space snaps of nebulae and stars, as well as technical science photos from the astronaut training camps. Even if you don't have a design project lined up that requires a gander at the stars, this is still a beautiful (and educational) resource to spend some time looking through.

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