When you are on a no, to low budget blogging journey it can be hard to find photos for your blog that are first off, free and-most importantly- pretty. There are tons of stock photo sites out there, and you will literally drain your time searching for the perfect photo for your super awesome blog post.
It would be so easy to just grab a cool photo from Google, slap your title on there and go with the flow. This, my friend is a no-no. Unless of course you are using the creative commons, extended search options, but I never had any luck finding anything fabulous. When searching for photos, even if you are just a hobby blogger, finding photos that are free from copyright restrictions is super important. Besides, doing it right in the beginning will save you countless hours, stress and maybe even money down the road if you do decide to monetize and start making bank from blogging.
Licenses can be tricky. Some places like Flickr offer an array of search features from All Rights Reserved to free for commercial use with modifications, which is where the sweet spot is. The problem with Flickr is that its a time consumer. All the really great, high quality photos are out of reach because they are reserved, boo for us. So the short of it, make sure your photos are Free for Commercial use, with modifications -and- find a sight with great high-quality, uncomplicated licences.
So you don’t have to go searching high and low, here are 10 of my all time favorite places to find free and pretty styled stocks and flat lays, as well as regular every day stocks that you can use with little or no strings attached. Your welcome, friend!
*So you know, this post has a couple of affiliate links, which means if you purchase through one of my links, I will earn a bit. I only recommend things to you that I love- you can trust me!
Haute Chocolate is my favorite, favorite place for professional and gorgeous styled stock photos. If you can’t afford to start with a subscription, you can signup for her newsletter and get a couple of gorgeous images from her latest collection every single month- for free. She also has tutorials on how to use stock photos, and her blog has tons of jewels to really uplevel your business or blog!
Rachel is super talented, and is really creative which totally reflects in every single one of her collections. No matter your creative business, she has something for you. If you attract clients and readers who are both male and female, this would be the only downside as there is lots of pinks, golds and feminine mockups (such as mugs, desktops and ipads).
If you do decide to *get a subscription, you also get a collection of beautifully styled Instagram quotes and brand boards to go along with new collections.
I personally use Haute Chocolate for pretty much everything I need for my brand. I even used her collections to create the visual listings for nearly 20 sets of social media icons, and they sell like hot cakes! Beautiful brand photography truly makes a difference- especially if you are selling digital products!
Shay Cochrane of SC Stockshop has helped oodles of small business owners drive traffic and sales with her feminine and chic styled stock photos. A bit more on the higher end side, she only offers a number of downloads for each of her collections in order to give brands a fair chance in the spotlight.
In signing up for her newsletter, you can get a couple of free images per month. I love that she tailors her collections to the seasons. For summer she gave subscribers super cute Popsicle flat lays, and for fall pretty leaves- so cute!
One thing I love the most about Shay is her newsletters. Not only are the helpful in terms of where I am at with my business, they are incredibly real. She talks about struggles she has overcome, and shares in depth how her business has become super successful. I admit, there are few newsletters I actually open and hers is always one!
I have been following Rosemary for quite some time, back when I started my first Etsy shop! Her style is really feminine and classy, and more on the minimalist side which I love. If you sign up for her VIP newsletter through *Creative Market, she will send you some great freebies!
She also shares some incredible tips on how to do business like a boss using Instagram, and she is so GENEROUS with her time and knowledge. Her blog is packed full of information on business, especially marketing and social media. Aside from the freebie she offers, you can purchase single image from her shop (through her website or Creative Market) or join the Stock Brand Library for photos monthly.
Wonderfelle media is pretty new to me, but I think her photos are awesome sauce. I recently used photos from her stock subscription library for a clients website design and it turned out amazing! The images in her packs offer a lot of variety but still fit together cohesively, which is SUCH a time saver when trying to find photos that are right for your brand.
You can sign up to get 10 free photos right away, and she sends out a couple of new ones every single month. Just like Rosemary, she also is a Insta Guru and has courses on how to rock your blog and business using Instagram alone.
I am such a big fan of Rekita’s work as a designer, and was totally thrilled when I learned that she has a whole TON of styled stocks that she gives away for totally free, for just an email address. You can actually find quite a few of her photos floating around the blog (thank you, Rekita!), as her colorful taste really fits my brand to a tee (or coffee, whatever).
You can sign up for her library of freebies, and also check out her blog because she gives away a ton of goodness for free there, too (such as desktop backgrounds that are just SUPER adorable and motivational).
Pexels is my fav when it comes to online stock photos. I absolutely adore the crystal clear resolution and the real ‘lifeness’ to their photos. Their search tool is super simple and their licensing even simpler. Any photo you find an Pexels is free to use however you please, with no attribution required, which is a sweet deal. What I love the second most is that when you download, you can choose a custom size, because consistency is key in your blog photos, right?
There are literally photos for every niche, and I love using Pexels to create inspiration boards for my clients, and to design new social media banners and templates for my shops (Etsy and Creative Market).
Since it is time sensitive, sign up for the free 14-day-trial and download photos you know you will likely use in the future. If you are a food blogger, obviously pretty food pictures will benefit you. If you want to save time, you can get download an array of beautiful quotes. I have a folder just from BigStock that contains beautiful images that I will be able to use for the entire year, love it. They also offer a pretty affordable monthly plan if you decide you need to freshen up on some new photos.
Gratisography is for sure the place to get high quality yet crazy (they like to call them ‘whimsical’) and off the wall photos for your blog. I mean, there are ones with people climbing in washing machines, stepping in gum and a toy dinosaur getting burned with a magnifying glass, yes. Seriously.
If thats not the look you’re going for, there are still tons of elegant and cool life photos. The photos are all free for commercial use, yay, and require no attribution, even more yay. If you are looking to grab attention, this is the place to find your inspiration. Don’t you just love this Pancake Smile?
I love Unplash. There is so much beauty here: nature, wildlife, people, places. There is a lot of culture and sophistication, and these photos are high quality and amazing. Even better, the license is so simple, “Do whatever you want” which I love. I am a lover of simple things, and much like pexels the site is super clean no frills. Just pure stock photo goodness. You can search for new or popular and they release 10 photos every 10 days. To make perusing the photos a bit easier, click the little four squared-box at the top so you can see the entire gallery.
Although the selection isn’t huge, there is definitely some gold to be found here. I especially love the ‘Things’ category as you can find all sort of random objects from life, nature, children, crafts, you name it. These photos would be great with layovers and text, and in some cases, product mockups. Mom bloggers and DIY enthusiasts would rack up here. Feel the freedom: Commercial use with no attribution required.
There’s more where that came from!
These are just 10 of my favorite places to get gorgeous photography that fits my brand, and my clients brands. If you still can’t find something you need here, I highly recommend doing a quick Pinterest search (ie: free styled stock photos, free stock photos) and you will literally get a TON of results.
I think too many choices complicate things, so find your thing and stick with it. I really only explore new options after I retire these and I still can’t find what I need for a project. If you want to pay for some stock photo love, Creative Market has some awesome ones, as does Stocksy (just saying).
So, how about you? Where’s your fav place to find free pretty stocks?
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