Talkin’ Stock: A Quick Guide to Free Stock Image Searching

A picture is worth a thousand words. And for some stock image sites, that picture is also worth quite a few bucks.

Stock image searching is an necessary and dangerous rabbit hole that marketers sometimes find themselves dangerously falling down. Not only spending way too much time trying to find a suitable image, but also trying to stay within budget. If you find yourself hitting dead ends, then take a look at this quick guide to free stock image searching.

The sites
Free stock images are great because they help your client save money, which in turn, makes you look good. Unfortunately, there are numerous sites out there advertising free stock images making it hard to sift through them all to find the diamonds in the rough. After spending some time digging online, I’ve found five gems that provide free quality stock images under the CC0 license which allows for commercial use without attribution. These sites are, unsplash, pexels, pixabay, reshot, and morguefile. While these sites might not have the same amount of images that iStock does, they do have same quality.

The search terms
It can be very easy to use only a handful of search terms or keywords when stock image searching. But by taking a few extra seconds and brainstorming different keywords, you’ll be able to view different image results. For instance, if you need photos for a social media campaign that involves football, you could begin with the obvious keywords such as football, American football, or football field. But by searching for terms such as quarterback, touchdown, or even referee, you might find the image you’re looking for.

The licenses
Another obstacle when free stock image searching is understanding the licenses associated with free images. Most sites will indicate what license the images are under and what you need to do to properly use the image. There are three main types of stock photo licenses; Public domain, royalty-free, and rights managed. Each has their own restrictions when using images and you should always check to make sure the license for any image before you use it.

With these three simple tricks, you’ll be a searching stock image superstar in no time at all!