How to Score Killer Free Images

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by Sophie Ross

on September 26,2016

There’s a crisis upon the Web. It comes in the image of a smiling woman wearing a headset. Other times it appears as a guy in a suit pointing at floating icons. Yep, you’ve seen them too – the boring stock photos plastered all over everyone’s website that say “Hey World! Nothing unique over here.”

If you’re working with our website builder to create an amazing site for showcasing your brand, don’t get lazy when it comes to the pictures you’ll use to populate those blocks. Of course stock images aren’t all bad – in fact some of the sites we feature in this list provide “stock” photos, but they’re from small-batch artists and they don’t appear on a million other websites. Here we want to show you how to go low-cost, or no-cost, and get some great looking images together, without having to worrying about licensing or paying ongoing royalties.

Not sure what it is, but it IS unique...

Canva is well-developed image creator/editor, especially if you have a pinch of creativity but lack Photoshop skills. You can take one of their stock images (or import one from another source) and dress it up, making it an original. Lots of font, background, and shape options too. The best stock images require a $1 purchase, but it’s a one-time cost and if you don’t want to pay just find a free pic to work with.

Beautiful high-resolution photos here that are completely free to use. Searching for something specific can be challenging though compared to other sources.

Big selection, very searchable, and pretty unique. No costs, and you can download your image in 4 different sizes. Tipping the artist is encouraged but in no way mandatory.

Really nice pictures are added each week. You’re free to copy, modify, and distribute for personal or commercial purposes.

This is an extension of the Buffer app ( and is great for making memes and inspirational-quote type images on the fly.

The originality of the photos here is impressive, and you’ll be shocked that they’re free.

This site has been a popular source of photos for years, but usually all the ones I like require attribution and licensing. Check out the Free Use section if you’re a cheap-skate like me.

Similar to Canva, PicMonkey is like a Photoshop substitute. Upload images and work your creative magic to make them truly unique. It’s fairly easy to learn. The free version is decent, but the paid subscription gives the user many more design options.

Here’s another image editor that makes fantastic looking collages, funny altered pics, and social media posts easily.

All of these websites should give you a great start for curating and developing your own unique images. Here’s another tip to getting original artwork on the cheap:

If you fall in love with a particular image that requires you to pay a royalty, yet still does not provide you with the full image rights here’s what to do: hire a decent artist on to look at the image and create his own version of it. Not a copy mind you, but the designer can capture what really connected with you (color palette, scenery, etc.) and make a similar rendering for $5 to $20 usually. You get an original picture and all the rights to it, forever.

You’ve got plenty of options now for sourcing killer image content for your website, social media posts, and ad copy. Stand out from the crowd – leave that girl with the headset alone!

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