When you’re trying to maintain a brand online, it’s important that you use consistently high-quality images. What makes a good image? That largely comes down to taste. But when it comes to objective image quality you need to look at 3 key things: resolution, focus, and composition.

Now let’s look at where you can source high-quality images when you’re on a tight budget (or just don’t want to pay for stock images), we’re going to share with you our top 5 favourite sources. Just don’t call us out when you spot an image we’ve used!

Pexels:

Pexels is one of the most popular free photography sites, most of the images on there are C0 licenses (ok for commercial use). There’s a lot of contributors to the site, and the images are curated to a really high standard – more so than full-paid stock sites actually. As there are so many contributors you’ll find quite a decent variety of images too.

Pixabay

Another very popular free stock site, Pixabay has a similar look and feel as Pexels but has slightly less strict curation – some of the images there have a more amateur (very high-end amateur) photography feel to them. That, however, can be a good thing as the images feel decidedly less ‘stocky’.

Unsplash

All contributed by professional photographers around the world. You can find some great images here that you won’t find anywhere else (there may be some overlap). Unsplash has less of a business focus than Pexels, but you’ll find plenty of great lifestyle and landscape shots.

Libreshot

Libreshot is a collection of free to use photographs all from one (who must be extremely busy) photographer – Martin Vorel. Huge shout out to anyone who’s willing to put this kind of effort into providing free resources to the creative world, you’re making the world a better place. Some great images here, all shot in his particular style – amazing if you’re looking for consistency.

Life of Pix

Life of Pix is another great source. It feels less like a standard stock site and more like a photoblog or Tumblr. You’ll find lot’s or abstract and pattern photography here along with everything else. Quite heavily affiliated with Adobe Stock, which is fine, but there are quite a few ads to the paid stock site throughout the feed.

They’re all great sites, and an awesome source for blog and website imagery, just don’t forget to optimize them before you put them online – that’s very important. You don’t want 10mb high res images taking up precious page load time! A few days ago we told you how to prepare images for online use.