Stock images — they’re one of the most useful things about the internet age. Whether you’re designing a PowerPoint presentation, artistic projects, advertising, corporate identity, resale products, or branding, you’re going to need the best stock images out there to make yourself shine.
Stock images — it almost goes without saying — are so useful because they’re generic-but-effective, interesting-but-non-threatening, they’re like the pizza of photos — everyone likes them.
But it’s important that you’re making use of free stock images. The whole point of stock images is that they don’t cost you much money to use. You might as well double down and get them for free.
If you’re wondering where to find stock images, you’ve come to the right place. This article will walk you through all you need to know about the best free online stock images.
What Are Stock Images?
Let’s start at the very beginning.
In case you’re not aware (and hey, many people don’t use the internet, they may just be finding out about this now), stock images are images that are already modeled, captured, edited, processed, and ready to use. They’re images-for-the-sake-of-images, images captured by “stock photography” companies who work specifically to capture useful slices of life.
These slices of life have a wealth of uses. In fact, you’ve most likely seen a lot of them before. Any image on an article you see depicting a situation (there are probably even some in this article) is most likely a stock image that was not taken by the person who posted.
Say, for instance, you’re doing a blog presentation on the joys of eating pizza. You would probably want an image at some point of a group of friends or a family enjoying a pizza. Rather than rounding up your buds and going to a pizza store, you can explore the internet for free — or cheap — images of people eating pizza, taken by professionals and ready to use.
How to Find the Best Stock Images
Now that you have a firm grasp of what stock images are, it’s time to look at the ways you can optimize your stock image usage. These tips will save you time and money.
Find a Stock Image Website
While popular search engines such as Google provides you a panoply of resources, you might wind up getting too much of a good thing. Google has a very broad and complicated way in which they work. You may wind up with images that are relevant to your topic but aren’t stock images, and wind up in legal trouble.
Thankfully, there are websites out there that specialize in providing stock images. Check out this cool website we found, everypixel.com, for a wealth of free stock images. Simply type in your keywords, and watch the images pile up.
No matter where you’re searching for stock images, you have to optimize your keyword searching. Optimize your keywords allows you specificity, precision, and dexterity in your search for stock images. Bigger isn’t always better, and a higher number of search results means spending longer searching for the right image.
Many people search the internet in broad strokes, not realizing just how precise the internet can be. For example, someone less experienced in the internet trying to search for images of people enjoying pizza might search “people eating pizza”. They’d do much better to get specific, and search something like “friends enjoying pizza around table”.
Go ahead! Get specific! The internet can handle it!
Use Negative Keywords
But you’re not off the hook about simplicity yet.
Search engines are complicated beasts. They pile together the results of millions of searches and use your keywords as honing devices to find you the results that you want. However, they may also pick up on keywords that are relevant to your keyword that you just might not want.
This is where negative keywords come in. Negative keywords allow you to tell the search engine which words you want them to leave out in their search.
For example, let’s head back to pizza.
You’re doing your famous presentation on pizza — but this time it’s in front of a room full of vegans. Most search results for “friends enjoying pizza around table” will include the standard pizza, which — oh no! — includes cheese. Not to worry, simply add “cheese” as a negative keyword, and enjoy your results.
Look For High Resolution
So far we’ve talked about speed, efficiency, agility, and free-ness as factors determining which stock images you used. However, there’s another consideration you need to make:
Does the image look good?
On the vast sea of the internet, it’s easy to forget about aesthetic considerations. However, no one’s going to want to look at your image of friends enjoying a piece of pizza if it looks like something from out of your old NES.
Instead, look for high-resolution images. High resolution isn’t just about what the image looks like — it’s about how the image is built. An image that looks good on your little laptop might look awful blown up for a crowd.
To ensure that you’re using high-quality images, make sure you use one of the sights that specialize in stock images listed above. Any joe-shmo can post low-resolution images on Google, but those sites regulate their images.
Find Free Stock Images
Stock images are an incredibly useful tool in the age of the internet. They can help you illustrate your points, add a level of visual flair to a PowerPoint presentation, and spice up any piece of marketing.
However, not every stock image was created equal. You want to make sure that you’re investing your time in high-quality free stock images, so as not to waste money and not waste aesthetic space.
Now that you understand stock images, the world is your visual oyster. Check out our “TechGeeky” articles for more articles like this.