Sometimes when we’re in a bind, or feel like our creativity has run out, or are just on a crazy deadline, we make some questionable choices. However, pulling some crappy clip art for something literally anyone will see just can’t be one of those choices anymore. Those grainy cartoons that look like they were pulled out of a Microsoft Word document from 1999 make your work look unprofessional and cheap, and when you’ve spent your time building something amazing you owe it to yourself not to make it awful.
There are so many amazing resources out there for free or cheap stock photography these days that there’s really no reason to use clip art anymore anyway. Doing some searching can turn up some good resources, but there are potential pitfalls in grabbing resources online.
To avoid the danger of using something you may not have even realized was copyrighted (believe me, it can happen), check out three of my favorite sources for stock photos below. Chances are you can find something in one of these websites that will make the project you are working on (and by extension you and your organization) look amazing!
The first one is one of the highest quality, but also a little harder to get images from. Death to the Stock Photo is primarily an email subscription-based service. Sign up for free and you’ll be sent a new pack of images in a random theme every so often. The images are invariably amazing quality and always part of some sort of theme. If you have space on your system to keep ones you like, I’d do that. You can’t really go back in the archives to pull old photos very easily (unless you pay for the premium service).
My favorite image from Death to the Stock Photo
I love the blue brick wall and action in the photo. Makes me want to make all of my walls blue brick.
This one can be a little hit and miss, but is great for really vibrant and often silly images. Chances are you’ve seen some of these images floating around as blog post featured images (I even used it on one for a post here on Bright Nonprofit about email service providers). Some images are beautiful, some are strange, and some are an odd combination of both.
My favorite image from Gratisography
Mmm… donut holes…
This is probably the one I turn to the most, as there are more images in a wide range of topics. Generally, images have a bit of a hipsterish vibe, which isn’t a bad thing certainly. Lots of images of cities, workspaces, and artsy shots of people.
My favorite photo from StockSnap
Other Sources of Free Stock Photos
There are a lot of free photo resources out there, some of which I’ve tried and some not. Check out the list below and let me know if any of them turned up any gems!
- ISO Republic
- Jay Mantri
- Life Of Pix
- Little Visuals
- New Old Stock
The moral of the story is that you never have to use clip art again. Find some beautiful images that you can legally use free of charge and use them instead. Do it for me. Do it for the children.