If you want to build a quality brand, it’s going to require quality imagery. Not only does great photography help tell a story, but it helps set mood and it helps attract specific buyer personas.

Nothing is a bigger turnoff to me when I’m engaging with a brand than poor design and poor imagery. People want to interact with beautiful things, so make your shit beautiful.

I use a variety of sites to get imagery and have outlined the five I use most below. These images get used for blog posts, poster design, webinar design, sales page design, course design, social media, and more.

When I’m working on a new project, it’s not uncommon to download dozens and dozens of photos. I might invest hours picking out perfect photos—that’s how important they are. And it’s important that I can choose from a wide variety while not paying through the teeth.

That’s where these five resources come in…

#5 – Gratisography

I don’t use this site often, but when I do it’s for a very specific purpose. The images they have available tend to be quirky and a little over the top. My brand is more serious and refined, but occasionally I’ll need something louder or outside of the box. If that’s the case, I turn to Gratisography.

Price: Free
Website: http://www.gratisography.com/

#4 – Pexels

Pexels seems to be a curator of sorts—pulling free imagery from multiple sites and serving it up in one place. I often see images from my #1 pick in their search results. I should probably use it more than I do, especially since it seems like their catalog has grown a lot since last time I checked.

Price: Free
Website: https://www.pexels.com

#3 – Big Stock Photo

When I want something specific and I’m willing to pay, this is where I usually turn first. Not because they have the highest quality images, but because it’s where I always have the most unused credits. It’s not outstanding, but it does the job.

Price: I currently pay $80/mo for 50 images per month.
Website: http://bigstockphoto.com

#2 – Adobe Stock

If you’re going to pay, the quality and selection at Adobe is better than Bigstock. I just don’t have a ton of credits here because their plans are more expensive, so I have to be more selective when I use it.

Price: I currently get 10 images a month for $9.99/mo.
Website: http://stock.adobe.com

#1 – Unsplash

This is usually my first stop, depending on my needs. Unsplash is my jam. The reason is three-fold:

  1. High image quality.
  2. Organic image feel — images won’t look like stock photos.
  3. Free

The only downside is that the selection is very minimal and there probably won’t be a ton of highly specific matches to your searches. However, if you do find an image that will work, it means that it’s not going to look like a stock image. When I’m looking for imagery, that’s usually a qualification that’s top of the list.

Wrap-Up

Between these five sites, I can usually find anything I need. Keep in mind that stock image sites tend to have tons of images that are very “stocky.” People can sniff out stock images fairly well (they’re somewhat of a turnoff). The more organic and natural your image is, the better.

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