I'm a huge fan of Canva, SparkPost, WordSwag, and other image creation options, They are fantastic tools for busy entrepreneurs looking for easy ways to improve their branding.
However, they aren't the perfect solution for everyone.
First, you may have noticed similar images and layouts used over and over across different social media platforms - which makes your images less unique. Maybe you're ready to explore fresh templates and elements. Many of the fonts, graphics, and elements you'll find at the links below can be used in Canva and other platforms and some can only be used with Adobe Photoshop.
Second, you simply may not have time to learn, tweak, and deal with your own images. It would be faster and easier for you to outsource your image creation to someone else so you can focus on other parts of your business.
This collection of resources will give you more options for your own images as well as some pre-made, yet still customizable, templates for social media and more.
Before you fall in love with a font, background, or other item, be sure to review the license. Attribution may be required, and some may only be available for personal use.
You may be tempted to download everything once you start browsing. But before you get too carried away, create folders for the different items and clearly label (or otherwise track) what item came from which site and when. It gives you a "paper" trail, helps keep you organized, and if you want to go back to look for something similar in the future you'll know where to start!
The Hungrey Jpeg - Sign up for the weekly design freebie, but check out the huge selection of social media templates, presentation templates, fonts, graphics, illustrations, and more. You can unlock a bundle of fonts by sharing the link on social media. They also offer a selection of items for $1 each month.
Design Bundles - There is a nice selection of freebies here. You'll also find bundles and deals for all kinds of templates including ebook covers.
Vecteezy - You can search by license, orientation, and type of element. There is even an editor that allows you to edit before you download.
Deal Jumbo - Wow. There is a lot here! You'll find pages of freebies of all types in addition to paid and discounted options.
Creative Fabrica - Another good selection of freebies from this membership site. Several membership levels are available starting at $19/month.
Font Bundles - If you are on the hunt for the perfect font, you may find it here. Free and paid options.
Original Mock Ups - Although most of the other sites offer some mock ups, this site is nothing but mock ups - including a nice selection of freebies.
Creative Market - One of my favorite emails to open every week! There are SIX freebies each week and an opportunity to unlock more.
Ready for more resources?
Lists of places to find free photos here and here.
Free audio resources here.
Free stock video here.
Whether you are looking for background music for your videos or adding intro and outro music to your podcast, you'll need high quality audio options.
The most important thing to be aware of as you browse stock audio is the licensing. Just like stock photo or stock video, stock audio has licensing that will determine when, where, how, and how often you can use it. For example, some stock audio can be used for video, but not podcasts.
Most of the sources listed below require attribution - that usually means crediting the artist in the credits and/or linking to the artist from your site, video, or podcast. Read over the attribution requirements since some are different than others.
To help you remember where you found the audio clips, when, who the artist was, and what kind of attribution is required, I suggest putting that information as the file name. You can also keep a document in Google Drive or on your computer to reference.
Videvo - In addition to stock images and stock video, you'll also find stock audio that you can use for any project as long as you include attribution.
Free Stock Music - You can search by mood, type of music, and tempo. Music is free with attribution.
YouTube Audio Library - Here you'll find music as well as free sound effects. The music can be sorted by attribution required or no attribution required as well as genre, mood, instrument, and length.
Free Music Archive - Curated music of all kinds. Attribution required.
Audionautix - Select from mood, type of music, and tempo. Attribution required.
CC Mixter - Both paid and free audio resources are available.
Looking for other resources?
Check out my posts about free stock images here and here.
You'll find free stock video resources here.
Ready to make your graphics and presentations stand out? I've got you covered!
Pretty much everyone in the marketing world agrees videos are hot. But not every small business owner has access to an in-house videographer or wants to appear on camera. This doesn't mean video is always the right choice for you, but if you'd like to explore your options stock video may be useful to you.
You can use stock videos mixed with your own product photos or interviews to give viewers a richer experience and help your brand appear more polished.
Before we get to the free stock video resources, let’s look at some tools you can use to create your videos.
iMovie – free, for iPhones
Power Director – free for iPhones and Android
FilmoraGo – free Android and iPhones
Androvid – free for Android
Video Maker Pro – free for iPhone and Android
Video Show - iPhone and Android. One of my favorites. TONS of functionality. Free and paid versions.
Adobe Spark Video – free and paid versions. You can also use this on a computer.
Filmora – I liked this one so much I bought it. (not an affiliate, I actually like it)
Lumen 5 – a quick and easy way to make simple videos with lots of text overlay. Free and paid levels.
Windows Movie Maker – Windows
iMovie – Mac
Animatron Studio - If you've wanted to play around with created a little animated video - this is a good place to start. Free and paid levels.
Now that you know which tools you can use, let’s get to the stock videos!
As always, when using this kind of stock, please pay attention to licensing. Just like stock photography options, some videos will be completely free, some will require attribution, and some will need to be purchased before use. You should also be aware of where and now often you can use a video clip – some can only be used for a single project, not reused over and over.
Pexels – In addition to stock photography, you’ll also find stock video.
Pixabay - Just like Pexels, you'll find stock video along with stock photography.
Cute Stock Footage - In addition to stock video, you'll also find video for transitions and other effects.
Vidsplay - All videos on the site are free with attribution.
Coverr - Videos for your home page.
Motion Places - Stock video from around the world.
Some Free, Some Paid
Clip Canvas - You'll find both paid options and a page full of free stock video.
Videvo - Free videos as well as a two-tiered subscription plan that starts at $14.99/month.
Videezy - The search option lets you choose from several different licenses.
ClipStill - This one is a little different because the videos are short with just a little movement. There are free videos to download each month.
Motion Elements - Lots of search options to make it easy to find what you are looking for!
Video Blocks - This is a subscription service. Plans start at $19 if billed monthly or $99/year if billed annually. The basic plan ($19/month) allows 5 downloads each month, and the other tiers allow unlimited downloads as well as other options.
If all of this seems like way too much and you’d rather hire a pro to create videos for your website and social media, check out my interview with RedFred Pro owner, Jessica Clark. She shares tips and insight about when, why, and how to hire someone to do your videos.
Need other resource guides? Check out my two posts about where to find stock photos – here and here.
View my guide to free audio resources for your podcast.
And, finally, a fun collection of freebies you can collect regularly to help your brand stand out!
One of my most popular blog posts was 8 Places to Find Free Images. I’ve intended to update it for longer than I’m going to admit.
I’m especially excited to revisit this topic for a couple of reasons. The rise of stock photography and the desire for quality images means there are more options now than there were then. There are also more options for diverse photos that go beyond the standard slim white lady doing yoga in her light filled home studio. Although there is still so much room for improvement, I’m excited to share these new free stock photo resources!
Before you jump to the list
Let’s get some common issues out of the way before we dive into the list.
First, just because a photo is on the internet, doesn’t mean it is ok for you to use. That means you can’t do a google search and save images you like to use on your own blog or website. You also can’t go to someone else’s website and take their photos.
Second, because there are so many stock photo sites, you may see the same photo on multiple sites. Let’s assume positive intent and say the photographer who owns the rights to the images uploaded the images to the different sites. But let’s also protect ourselves and make a note of which site you found which image on and when. The easiest way to do this is to make the photo site and the date as part of the image file name you save on your computer.
Third, be aware of licenses and what you can and can’t do with the photos you download. Stock image websites clearly layout the licensing and restrictions – either on the individual photos themselves or on a “Terms and Conditions” page.
You can learn a little more about different licenses here.
Fourth, when I compiled the first list of free stock photo sites, I excluded any that charged money for photos. This time, I’m including a few paid sites because the popular sites are so popular, I’m seeing the same photos used by different businesses. I’d like to encourage you to look at different sites and consider purchasing photos to reduce the risk of choosing an over-used photo, and support the image creators.
This guide is organized into sections of All Free, Some Free, and All Paid. Some sites, even the paid sites, offer free photo packs in exchange for your email address and I’ve made a note about that where applicable.
Unsplash – In addition to a standard search feature, you can also browse “Collections” of topics curated by users.
Pexels – Modify searches in both Pexels and Unsplash by adding a color or other term to your search.
Stock Up – This is a neat newer option. Instead of searching sites individually, you can search over 30 stock photo sites at once from Stock Up. All photos should be free and usable, but always check the licensing.
Nappy – Their tagline is “Beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people” and they deliver. The photos cover a range of topics and ages.
Public Domain Review - You won't find glossy fashion photos, but you will find thousands of images from across the centuries that are now in the public domain. Side note: 2019 is a big year for items coming into the public domain after a 20 year pause (yes, 20 years!) - read more here and here.
Foodies Feed - If food is your game, then you'll want to check out these free food photos.
Inspired by all these photo options, but stuck about what to write?
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Some Free, Some Pay to Use
Pic Jumbo – Plenty of free photos as well as a premium membership option starting at $10/month.
Every Pixel – Similar to Stock Up, Every Pixel searches multiple stock photo sites for you. Over 51 sites are searched and results are both free and paid photos (or modify the search to just free or just paid images). Image results can be streamlined by color and image orientation (vertical or horizontal) as well as by photo, vector, or graphic.
Death to the Stock Photo – There is a $12/month annual membership or a $15/month membership. You can join their email list to get occasional free photo packs via email.
Envato Elements – Offers stock photos, stock video, music, templates, and fonts. $33/month or $98/year. You can find monthly freebies on their freebie page.
Stocksy – I love the search features here. You can search by location, ages of people in the photo, number of people in the photo, gender, and ethnicity. You can also search by photo orientation. Images start at $15.
Diversity Photo – The photos feature a variety of people in different situations. Photos start around $25
Eye for Ebony – Photos are sold in very reasonable bundles focused on a single topic. Prices start at $10 for 25 images. Sign up for their email list to receive a pack of stock photos.
Representation Matters – This site offers body and ability diversity as well as ethnic diversity. Photos start at $5. You can sign up for their email to get monthly packs of photos.
Tonl – You can search by topic or browse categories. Photos start at $20 or a monthly plan of $29 for 15 images.
Create Her Stock – Focusing on women of color. Membership starts at $10 month. You can sign up for the email list to get access to previous collections of photos.
SC Stock Shop – Highly stylized flatlays and object photos. Prices start around $19/pair of photos or join the membership for $25/month. You can get a pack of free images by signing up for the email list. I love the option to shop by color or collection.
If you have a favorite place to get diverse and unique stock photos, please let me know!
And if you are looking for free stock video resources, free stock music resources, or a collection of resources to make your brand stand out - follow the links to check out those blog posts!
Musings about marketing, social media, and small business.