You're not supposed to judge a book by its cover. But online, we have to. When so many marketers pull people in all sorts of directions, your brain has to do some quality control and pick the best option.
This is why blog post headlines matter so much. When you have a question for Google, you choose the headline that you think will best answer your question.
The same concept applies for when you're on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube. On these platforms, you look at the best headline and image combination.
So it is important to focus on your images as well as your headlines to help drive more traffic to your website.
Find your brand identity first
Oh one more thing before I get started. I think it's important to know your brand first. Your brand is much more than just your blog name, the font and color scheme.
To me, your brand is so much more. It is the way you talk, your punctuation and yes, the types of images you use.
So, before we get started with the list of the best places to find stock photos, I want you to first find a "picture style" that fits best with your brand.
Minimalist, flat lay, laughing faces, funny kids. There's a lot of different themes to choose from.
For example, one brand might use blog images like these:
While another one uses stock photos like these instead.
It doesn't matter which style you pick, but you need to stick to one style only! This will only help enforce your brand.
Oh and by the way, it goes without saying that you should never use stock images like these:
So unless you're a photographer and have your own images to use, you're going to need to use stock photos. In this article I'm going to go over the best places to find blog images.
Let's start with the best one first.
While there are plenty of free stock photo sites out there, I only use Pexels.
Here's why they're the best.
I try and not use stock images, but when I do they're from Pexels. They were resized and cropped using BeFunky, which is the free image editing tool I use. By the way, you can find more free blog tools I use here.
If you want to stay within a theme for branding purposes, check out their discover page to find similar images that are within a collection.
Did you know Canva bought Pexels and Pixabay in 2019? That's right, your favorite free design platform now has access to over 1 million free stock photos.
When you're creating a design on Canva, say for an ebook cover, blog post image or a Pinterest pin, you can use their free stock images in your designs.
Here's where it gets interesting though. If you are a Canva Pro member like I am, you now have access to premium stock photos.
I use these higher-quality stock images to create pin designs like the ones above.
Because of Canva, I'm able to create Pinterest pins and paid ads using premium stock images.
If you've been around the game long enough, you can spot the difference between a free stock image and a paid one. Odds are, some of your readers can too.
There are some stock images so popular that I seemingly see them every single day. Naturally, if I see an overused stock image, I read a book by its cover and assume the content is also of low value.
Their stock photos are not available for free. Even a price tag of under $1 per picture is enough to keep them fresh though.
In addition to pictures, they also have vectors, stock videos and audio too.
Personally, I would only use a paid stock image site if you are already making money blogging.
I'd also recommend using them if you're going to launch an ad campaign and need a strong visual to go along with your ad.
You're going to find the best selection of stock images at a premium stock photo site like 123RF.
Other free stock photo sites
If you are in a niche where it's harder to find stock photos, you might have better luck at one of these other free stock photo sites.
Whether we like to admit it, online we always just a book by its cover. That's why I always make sure to pick a good picture for my featured image and the images I share on social media.
Thanks for reading and hope this helped you find some great sources for stock photos!