If you are an entrepreneur and have a business blog and use social media to market your business, you need to have access to quality photography.
Using photos will draw more people to your social media posts and improve your blog’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
In other words, adding pictures to your blog and social media posts will get you more web traffic and that will help you grow your business.
As with anything, you get what you pay for. But hiring a professional photographer is not always in an entrepreneur’s budget.
Luckily, we live in a day and age where there are many great online resources for business owners to turn to, and you can get quality photos for little to no expense.
Keep reading, and you’ll find a short list of free online resources aimed at helping you find photos that you can use – for free — for your business blog and social media posts.
I’ve curated this short list with the following criteria in mind:
- Photos are easily searchable
Some stock photography websites boast galleries of thousands, tens of thousands, maybe even millions of stock photos, but it can be an arduous task trying to find something that fits your specific needs. The best sites make it so you can easily find photos using key words, by subject, colour, or some logical way. I’ve limited the list to sites that are well-organized and easy to navigate so that you, my precious readers, will have an easy time finding what you want.
2. Photos are appropriate for business
These online resources for stock photographs will have lots of different images for you to choose from, but I’ve chosen sites that have content that will make sense for a business owner to use.
Artsy, abstract images can be gorgeous, but in the business realm, they might be confusing or get lost in online traffic. Remember that the image you select has an important job to do: it has to catch the eye of your target audience and entice them to click on something. The images will often be seen as small thumbnails in a cluttered social media stream, so you don’t want to pick a photo that needs to be large in order to be truly appreciated.
This doesn’t mean that you have to pick images that are too literal or “on the nose”, in fact it can be more fun and attention-getting if you don’t. For instance, if your blog is about awkward yoga poses, instead of choosing a picture of an athletic woman doing yoga (predictable, won’t stand out in a search or stream), you might find a funny picture of a giraffe awkwardly bending over to drink water (more light-hearted and funny… probably the only giraffe in a sea of yoga posts that come up in a Google search).
- Photos are good quality
Look, you’re getting something for free and in all fairness, you really don’t have much of a platform for complaining if the quality of the photographs don’t meet your high standards.
That said, you can’t use poor quality images for your business blog or social media, because doing that will damage your brand. Low quality photos will make you, your business, and your brand look inferior.
There are two important factors that make a photo good quality. First, make sure the resolution and size of the photo is appropriate for where you intend on using it. If the resolution or size of the photo is too low, it will appear pixilated (or blurry) and that will cheapen your brand. Most of the time, you won’t need very large or high resolution images, but for Facebook covers and LinkedIn blog banners for example, you will want relatively large photos with a resolution suitable for the web if you want your picture to look crisp.
The second factor to consider when choosing a quality photograph is the overall attractiveness of the shot. Don’t choose something that looks like your kid shot it on your phone (although, I have to admit, sometimes the new generation surprises us in this area). Pick something that at least looks like you paid for it.
- Photos are readily accessible
Some stock photo sites require lengthy registrations and logins. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
- Photos are legally free to use
I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, so while all the photos on the sites should be free to use, make sure you don’t have to attribute (give credit to the photographer) before using the photos you select. It should be blatantly clear before you download any image.
To be safe, use photos that are licensed under Creative Commons Zero. Basically, Creative Commons Zero means you’re allowed to copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, even for commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or the website the photo came from.
For what it’s worth, paying for stock photography doesn’t have to break the bank. And if you can’t find a photo that exactly fits your requirements, you can usually purchase a great stock photo for under five dollars.
Besides, photographers work hard and they deserve our dollars!
BY the way, speaking of FREE…
And now for that list of websites that offer free stock photos you can use for your business blogs and social media:
Got a favourite stock photo site that isn’t mentioned here? Tell us about it in a comment below!