The photos on your website can make or break the first impression someone forms of your business. Yet sourcing this stunning photography doesn’t need to be expensive or stressful. 
In recent years, stock photography has broken free from the stereotype of generic landscapes and models posing awkwardly in suits. In reality, there are countless websites which offer beautiful, high-quality images from a large community of photographers – all free for use. 
 
We can help you find the perfect selection of stock images for your website - here are our tips to get you started, plus some reviews of the very best sources to use: 
 

Why stock photography is a good idea: 

With stock photography, you don’t need to worry about producing your own images: there are a wide variety of high-quality photos ready to be used for your website, saving you time and effort and instantly making your business appear more professional and credible online. 
 
And thanks to the large amount of free stock photography that’s now available, it’s cost-effective too. With so many brilliant images on offer, you can give your website the boost it needs no matter what your budget is. 

 The legal side - how the Creative Commons Zero licence works: 

You want to focus on creating the best possible content for your business’s website, rather than worrying over the legal rights of a free image. So, before you jump in, let us tell you more about how this type of copyright works. 
 
In order to protect the work of photographers, there are automatic copyright laws in place to ensure work is not re-used without permission. The Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licence allows photographers to opt out of this copyright protection, so that they can release their work into the public domain for others to use. This means you can use their image on your website free of charge, and you won’t have to give credit to the photographer or link back to the source. 
 
This is why you need to ensure that you are using images from a website with a CC0 licence. Most free stock photography websites will specify whether the images they supply are free for personal and commercial use, so you should be left in no doubt that you can use the photos on your own website. 

 The dos and don’ts of stock photography: 

1. Select your images carefully. They need to be consistent with your brand and fit the topic of your page or blog: don’t just choose a generic photo to fill the space. Investing this time will ensure that your page looks trustworthy, and also more engaging to website visitors. 
 
2. Only use high-quality photos. It is important to ensure you are using the best images that you can. If they are blurry then this may make your website look unprofessional. 
 
3. Choose something different. Don’t go for the most popular photo every time if you want to set yourself apart from the pack. Opting for more unique images will ensure that people don’t associate your business with similar brands who are using the same photos on their websites. 
 
4. Check the licence. Just because an image has been circulated elsewhere on the web does not necessarily mean it has been licensed for that purpose. Some sites may advertise “free” photos, but actually have specific requirements regarding how the images can be used. Double-check that you’re using a CC0 licensed image before you put it on your website. 
 
5. Use images responsibly. If there are people in the photo – especially if they are identifiable -make sure your use of the image won’t be presenting these individuals in a negative or offensive way. 

 Free stock photo websites we recommend: 

Here are a few of the websites we know you can trust: the best of the bunch when it comes to free stock photography: 
 
Pixabay: This website has illustrations, vector drawings, and videos to offer as well as high-quality images. With abstract designs as well as photos with an exquisite attention to detail, this website provides the widest variety when it comes to stock photography, yet you can find what you need with ease by adapting the search tools to be as specific as possible. All the images and videos are released under CC0. 
 
Pexels: This website chooses images from sources on an international scale and compiles only the best ones for re-use. The photos are grouped together depending on colour scheme and theme, and you can edit the photos as you please. You can even search for specific photographers, if the work of someone in particular catches your eye. There is no need to give credit to the website or photographer as the website is under CC0 licence, although recognition is always appreciated. 
 
Unsplash: With new image collections added every ten days, stunning natural landscapes and stylish edits are just the start of what this website has to offer. This site is also community based so it is made up of a wide range of photographers sharing their work, and these photos in particular are taken from some of the most unique perspectives out of all of the other stock photography sources. 

 Using your own photos: 

You can, of course, use your own photos. This is useful if you have a very specific vision, or if you want to keep your pages unique by ensuring your competitors are not using the same images. 
 
Another great way to make your website stand out visually is by using your customers’ images. User-generated content such as this will set your website apart and helps to emphasise the real-life appeal of your products and to build trust in your brand. Customers will very often share pictures of their purchases on social media, and this can be leveraged by creating a brand hashtag and then featuring the tagged photos on your website – with your customers’ permission of course! 
 
Your own images – and customer photos where possible - could be used alongside stock photography to give a unique angle while maintaining a professional quality to the page. 
 
Got the images but need a brilliant website to put them on? We can help. At itseeze, we provide everything you need to reach new customers and expand your business with a professionally designed and affordable new website and ongoing support. 
 
As an itseeze client, you’ll also benefit from our partnership with professional stock photo agency Getty Images. Your website will be designed using some of the very best photos available, so you can rest assured that your business will stand out from the crowd online. Contact our friendly team today to find out more. 
 
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