Stock photos are an essential part of any content driven website. That's why I have compiled my top five sites that I use for you to browse.
Unsplash is my favourite resource for stock photos and images. It has a vast library of well-curated content, all donated by freelance photographers. Although Unsplash doesn't have the most extensive library of the sites mentioned in this article, I still find it has some of the best.
The Unsplash search bar is the fastest and most reliable way to find a suitable image for your production. Still, I often find clicking one of the collections offers some excellent photos that might provide some inspiration.
Suppose you're like me, and you use an iPad pro or your mobile phone to search for inspiration on the go. Unsplash has an excellent IOS app that provides all the tools you need to get the image you need wherever you are.
Previously known as Fotolia, Adobe Stock has made over 70,000 stock photos, video clips, animations, illustrations, icons, templates, 3D models, audio clips, and other assets available for free. Adobe aims to "make the means to create accessible to all".
The free photos featured on the Adobe Stock website are consistently high quality. However, it does require you to create a creative cloud account. The benefit of this is, it licenses the image and assets to your account for ease of use across the suite of Adobe creative apps. So, suppose you're experienced in using the Adobe suite. In that case, this is an excellent option for some free high-quality stock images.
Pixabay features over 2.3 million+ of high-quality images, videos and music files, all submitted copyright free by their ever-growing community of creatives. In addition, they have a special Editors section that showcases hand-selected images that often impress you if you're looking for some inspiration.
The only downside of Pixabay that I have found through my experience using the site is that the images are often heavily manipulated through an image editor such as Photoshop. I prefer my pictures to have a more natural look, but if this is the look you're into, you'll love Pixabay.
Pexels is another excellent source for free stock images and videos. They have a helpful search option that filters your results into suggested tags or similar categories to refine your search further. One of my favourite features on the site, and is also another reason I love Unsplash, is the option to filter photos by the orientation of the image. I hate looking through hundreds of images to find the perfect shot, only to realise that the image is in the wrong orientation with not enough clear space for a crop.
Another feature I love about Pexels is the community leaderboard and challenges. Although I haven't taken part, it's nice to see a company focus on its creators and provide an opportunity to showcase their work. After all, the creators are the backbone of any of these sites.
Although Burst is last on my list, it's not necessarily the worst out of the five options I have provided. Powered by Shopify, Burst is free for users of its platform and is integrated on the back-end, making it very easy to find the perfect image without needing to leave the Shopify website.
Burst sorts its content into clever collections that make finding images easy and efficient. However, their resource section, for me, provides the most value. It's often refreshed with tips on how to size your photos for Facebook or master your lay photography. With the addition of some high-quality images, Burst is a very nice option to have on any creators list and one you should bookmark.