Never before has the phrases 'a picture says a thousand words' been more relative in every day life. From advertisements on social media, to good looking book covers, how an image looks, and the message it conveys is of utmost importance more so than ever. That's why it's much more difficult for people no versed in photography tips and tricks, or who have the time to snap them in the first place to get there message across, because we process imagery 60,000 times quicker than we do writing. Thats, astronomical.
That's where stock photos come in.
Stock photos are photos taken by other people, made available for mass usage by almost anybody, no matter the background or finical circumstances. Quite like a library holds books, there are plenty of places that hold images, free for anybody to use, making getting your hands on images that much easier. They're a game changer in this world of visuals, but I've not always been a recommender of them..
When I shared the first 7 of my biggest blog turn offs, I mentioned and talked a little about stock images, and how seeing the same ones on numerous blogs not only makes me think less of the blog in question, but also makes me question their lack of creativity and resourcefulness having chosen an image that is almost EVERYWHERE already and used by other people. Fair to say, I look back on that mentioning and think:
Amanda, you are a tosser!
Stock images are insanely helpful and useful for people who don't have the creativity for photo shoots, or the money of equipment to get themselves up and started. Some people don't have smart phones with cameras, or even have phones or cameras, while some people just don't have the time to be taking their own. Some people might not have the knowledge behind how to take their own, and some people just don't have the effort or the inclination, and that's okay. My stance on stock photos has changed hugely, as I myself am now a user of them, but there is one opinion that hasn't changed..
There are thousands of free stock photos out there, thousands upon thousands, yet I frequently see the same ones being picked and chosen by the same people, and without some snazzy editing or making graphic skills, they're going to look almost certainly boring. I firmly believe that even the most inexperienced and tight for timed blogger can take their own images and keep the aesthetics of their brand all in sync without bending over backwards.
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Alas, I understand that sometimes you just can't take the perfect photo for that perfect post, and trust me, I've been there too. My funds are limited, as are my props and my set up, so it's only natural to go looking for somebody who's managed to achieve what I haven't. I have a handful of stock photo resources and websites that I use regularly or peruse when in search for handy and helpful stock images, all of which are constantly updated, have quality and family friendly images, and can be pretty universal for most blogs.
Gold and Berry Stock Photos - These stocks photos are certainly up there in terms of femininity and beauty, but they're not for everyone. They're pretty intense and full of props and set-ups, but they are beautiful and breathtaking, and I even have one of them as my laptop background, they're THAT pretty. They're bright, colourful and full of golden and brass tones. The fact they're completely free, no subscription necessary and that nice is mind-blowing, so make the most of them and all her other freebies.
Rekita Nicole Stock Photos - Rekita is without a doubt one of the bubbliest and most illuminating business and blogging ladies out there, and her photography is exactly the same. You do have to subscribe to her list in order to access her vast library of stock photos, but the library itself is updated up at least once a month with new themes and refreshing takes on the same styles, and you'll never get spammed by silly emails, which lets be honest, is the number one reason I unsubscribe to email lists. They're perfect for bloggers and business ladies alike, and they'll help brighten up any of your posts with quality happiness.
A Prettier Web Stock Photos - I love these stock photos because they create a really nice balance between bright and light, and universal usage. Where some stock photos lend themselves to a type of blog or person more than another, but Mel's are so perfect for almost anyone, it's amazing. They fit well with my aesthetic and the white balanced background fits well with lots of other blogs out there. Once again, you do need to subscribe to receive them, but it's well worth it.
Creative Convex/Pinkpot - Chiara has some of the most beautifully simple stock photos out in the world, and people love them for good reason. They're subtle, pretty and usually have single subject pieces, almost always relating to blogging and business (her area of work) but she does have more varied options too. All her photos are feminine and gorgeous, and while I haven't personally used any quite yet, I do have a collection and am subscribed to her photo packs. Once again though, they're well worth your email address.
PicJumbo Stock Photos - One of very few stock photo websites I will use personally, Picjumbo has a pretty good range of photos, although you will stumble across many that other people have used. I've downloaded and used a few of these myself, and my biggest and bets advice to check out the tags a photo you've seen and loved but seen other people use has been tagged with to find other similar attractive photos that way. You're likely to find photos that you haven't seen elsewhere and they'll be just as good as the original. You can subscribe to get access to more premium photos, but what's free is fabulous.
Pexels - I LOVE Pexels and it's without a doubt my most used stock photo website. I've used quite a few photos from these guys, and have a collection saved on my laptop for a rainy day, but when I'm looking for a good looking photo, I almost always start at Pexels. They collection is vast, and the topics are varied so much, from cats to cars, to scenes to socks, and even some rather good-looking blogging and business images that I can promise you you've never seen before. Once again, no subscription necessary, and they're pretty good.
Those are just some of my favourite places to find awesome and beautiful stock images, but did you know there's well over 40 other websites that offer free stock photos for all sorts of people, from bloggers to designers, to travelers and teachers, everything from outdoors and lifestyle to food and work, the places and options are endless. Some sites require attribution, while others only allow use of the images for personal, no commercial, so it's always worth checking out the details on each site and sometimes each image before using them.
Related: 47+ Websites for Free Stock Photos from Olyvia.co
Stock images don't have to suck, and the ones you choose to use on your blog don't have to be the same as everyone else's choices either. I don't use stock photos are frequently as I could, because I like to use my own whenever I can and reuse, rotate and recycle until I'm left with no other option, but that's not to say you can't mix and match them. There's always room to learnt how to take your own photography, and where possible, I seriously suggest picking up a camera and taking some yourself, but sttock photos are now a firm part of my blogging tool belt, and while I may never have thought they would be, I couldn't recommend seeking them and collecting some for yourself enough.