The internet, not unlike a budding teenager, has grown and matured so much since it boomed in popularity at the beginning of the century. With that the world of web design has changed drastically too. 10 years ago, you could have probably gotten away with a bsic text-based website, using frames (remember those?), and html tags were king. Fast-forward to present time, and you have Javascript, CSS, PHP, MySQL, and a whole host of even further advanced programming languages dedicated to the web environment. User expectations have grown just as exponentially as well. In order to capture the attention of users, your wbesite has to have stunning visuals that capture an emotion that draws prospects in. Most businesses simply don't have the marketing budget to be able to afford a photographer to produce every single photo asset for their website, so where do companies turn?

You could just search Google for images based on a few keywords that describe what you're looking for, maybe use Google's Search Tools to narrow down your search to photos with a specific colour quality, minimum pixel definition, right click, download, and slap on the front of your webpage. Done. Right? WRONG. Ooops! Now you have a business sending you nasty emails demanding you take down photos that they paid for and rightfully belong to them.

Stock photogaphy comes to the rescue in these cases, and while in some circles of the idustry Stock Photography has developed a reputation, thanks to companies that stick their watermark on seemingly everything and want you to pay hundreds of dollars a year to use their photos. Luckily for us designers, there are plenty of websites that simply want their creative work to be used, and offer them royalty-free and attribution-free! Here's our list of our favourite places to find that one perfect photo that changes everything:

1.  Unsplash )

If you're already a fan of Unsplash, and you've read any of my blog articles, then you can tell just by looking at the photography, that I am too! Unsplash is my #1 go-to stock photography site, because it just makes things simple. While it may take you a couple searches to find a collection of photos that match your specific theme, when you do they are golden. Unsplash features photography that meets the expectations of modern designers and will add a touch of sophistication to any web design project. It's not hard to put Unsplash at the top of the list, because if you stop reading this article right at this precise moment, you've already taken away the best!

2.  Foodies Feed )

By far my favourite new addition to my marketing toolbelt, Foodies Feed literlly has JUST FOOD. And it's AWESOME. As a marketing professional that specializes in the restaurant industry, I love to see websites dedicated to food, and as I scroll through their enormous collection of mouth-watering photography, I think about all the inspired ways I could use their photography in upcoming projects. For restaurant marketing professionals, this is easily #1 on this list, but because this isn't just about food, they are easily at #2 on our list.

3.  Pexels )

4.  Pixabay )

5.  Picography )

6.  Stock Mile )

7.  Raw Pixel )

8.  Jéshoots )

9.  Stock Snap )

10.  Public Domain Photography )

Public Domain Photography offers a wide-ranging selection of Creative Commons Zero photography that has the potential to have the perfect selection to round out the photo assets of your latest content curation. They appear to update their website often with new selections and often where there is a photo that is part of a set all other derivations are usually present (example: flags on brick walls... yes, they have a seemingly endless collection of variations using all major country flags). While they also have photography you may not consider up to the calibre of modern design, they do have some hidden gems tucked away within their catalog. Public Domain Photography is a recent discovery of mine, but it is one I already know is one of my favourites!

26 Honourable Mentions (in Alphabetical Order)....

Art Outline   Blog Piks   Burst   Death to the Stock Photo   Free Nature Stock
Free Pik   Free Range Stock   Free-Stock   Get Refe   Good Free Photos
Gratisography   Jay Mantri   Libre Shot   Little Visuals   Magdeleine
Morgue File   New Old Stock   Photo Gen   Pic Jumbo   Public Domain Archive
Skitter Photo   Snappy Goat   Split Shire   Stock Photos For Free   The Pattern Library
Visual Hunt

Legal Mumbo Jumbo: Creative Commons Zero

One thing marketers often forget is that copyright is very simple, in that if you don't know where the photo you're using came from, it's simply not a good idea to use it. However, if you happen to find a website that disclaims all of their photography with the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license (, you are free and clear to use the photo as you wish. The Creative Commons website describes CC0 as follows:

The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

Final Thoughts

Did you find your latest photo for your marketing content because of this post? Thank us by giving us a shout-out on social media! Are we missing your favourite go-to stock photography site? Let us know by posting a comment below. The greatest web designers know that engaging in the online community of peers in their field is essential to making their business successful. We definitely owe part of our success to those bloggers who have posted similar articles, and have fueled us with the knowledge to seek out resources that are out their for the taking. We also owe part of our success to all of the many stock photography websites mentioned above, who have played a significant role in allowing our designers to capture the hearts of our clients as we design their dream websites.

Chris Holowatyj

Senior Managing Partner at Keddy & Associates

Chris Holowatyj works with local small businesses across Ontario to develop powerful digital marketing strategies that SMBs can actually afford. While focusing on web development as a core area of expertise, Chris also combines his industry knowledge surrounding all things technology - be it Social Media or Graphic Design - to help take small businesses to the next level!

A quick note about Keddy & Associates

Keddy & Associates is a digital marketing agency based in Bradford Ontario, delivering on world-class web design projects at affordable pricing. Keddy & Associates employs a dynamic website templating architecture while customizing end products to meet the specific needs of clients, taking the best of modern web design concepts and conventions, and putting them directly within financial reach of small and medium-sized businesses. Keddy & Associates also develops projects on a less-than-cost basis with not-for-profit organizations, supporting their core values of People, Planet, Profit, through corporate social responsibility commitments and policies. While this article may be informative in nature, not all business decisions are the same, and you should always talk to our competitors so they can quote you an exorbitant price for services we'll do better for cheaper! All kidding aside, it is always good to get a broad base of perspectives for something as incredibly important as your company's website.

Let us take your brand to the next level! Fire off a message to us below so we know you're interested in discussing how we can upgrade or create your website today. We'll give you a free consultation with no obligation and no pressure!