Lesson 4: Finding Great Images


Imagery is king. Truly. With great images, you can show what you do, without having to say it. You can express the atmosphere of your company, boost your brand and make yourself look professional. Which is what we all want, right?

For this lesson, give yourself a couple of hours to browse our favourite stock photo sites, or better yet, find a local photographer you love to shoot branded imagery for your website. It’s easy to get getting stuck sourcing images though so remember, you created this badass website! You can edit further down the road too.

In this lesson we will: 

  1. Go over our top stock photo websites

  2. Discuss how to know what imagery is best for your brand

  3. Start a folder for images that might work for your website


Step 1: Go over our top stock photo websites

We love stock photos! They save you time, money, and so much energy. BUT, they are not custom and anyone can purchase them too. So, if you're creating your entire website with stock photos, be warned, you might see the same image on someone else's website at some point.

Our favourite stock photo websites: 

Free photos

1. Unsplash
Unsplash is a wonderful resource for professional looking photos that feel like they belong on Instagram. It’s awesome because photographers willingly donate their images to the site and you can make any changes you'd like to them! That means you can edit them, crop them, and use them however you like. Which is rare and really cool. 

2. Pexels
Pexels often features the same images as Unsplash, but it does have some additional ones in there too. It's great because it's also free, and you can sometimes find extra images that work well for your brand that won't be as popular or as used as the ones available on Unsplash. 

3. Pixabay
Pixabay can be hit or miss. Sometimes it will have just what you're looking for - particularly if it's slightly obscure or not the usual thing people are taking photos of - and other times it will have nothing much to use.

Paid photos

1. Creative Market
This online resource store has it all - including affordable images. We've found that Creative Market tends to have realistic stock images as well as more traditional styles of stock. They're beautiful, modern, and normally about $10-15 per image. Win-win! (Check out  Jacob Lund's photos!)

2. Stocksy
Stocksy has a wonderful collection of images with a range of licenses and sizes for each one. Every photographer who contributes has to be accepted to the site, so you know you're getting high-quality images from vetted professionals. Plus, they also have stock videos! Which is really great for the new video era we're in. 

3. Death to Stock
These guys do unique, creative imagery like no other. You do need to sign up for their membership, so take a look and decide if it's the right for you. 

4. Burst
Burst organizes their photos by collection, making it simple to find what you need. They also feature a small collection of free images every week!

5. SC Stockshop
The images on this site err more on the side of feminine and include a lot of work-based scenes with negative space. They're great for websites as the negative space gives you room to have text over the top. Plus you can search the site by colour!

6. Twenty20
This membership site prides itself on having images of real people, doing real things. Nothing fake or posed about these stock images here. They're perfect for creative entrepreneurs and small businesses who will regularly need new images. 


Step 2: Discuss how to know what imagery is best for your brand

Now that you know some of the stock photo sites to use, how do you know which images to go for?

Like we did in Lesson 3, we are going to revisit your brand personality. Using your resource from that lesson, if you haven't already done so, consider highlighting a list of the brand personality adjectives that explain your brand.

From there consider what imagery will speak to this best. For instance, if your brand is bubbly and young, you will want to look for photos that reflect that feeling. Most importantly, focus on finding images that have a similar look, feel, or editing style to them; they should be consistent to ensure your site feels professional. Avoid images that have been heavily edited or look like they have a filter on them.

One easy way to find images that match is to have a colour theme; choose images that are all warm and woody, or cold and blue toned, or even bright and vibrant with lots of contrast. Whatever style you choose, just make sure they look somewhat consistent!


Step 3: Start a folder for images that might work for your website

This is a pretty easy step - once you've started researching images, make sure you save them to a specific folder! Keep any image you think might be handy, or would suit your brand - you won't know what's going to work until you start putting your website together, so the more you save, the better. 

You're all done! You have all the pieces of your website ready to go. Review the copy you've written and head straight over to Module 3 to learn how to add it to your website.