Every small business owner who is trying to build a website or do their own branding will run into this issue: where to get free digital photos?

And even harder, where to get free digital photos that are actually gorgeous, and that you’re actually excited to use?

Have no fear – your big sister is here to show you that it’s never been easier to get no-cost and low-cost stunning photos that you can use just about anywhere you like. Let’s dive in.

how-to-get-free-digital-photos-pinterest-graphic

Use Unsplash for Free Digital Photos

I somehow stumbled on Unsplash.com when it was just starting out a few years ago, and it completely changed how I source photos and build websites. The quality of its images was just superior to anything out there.

And in the past few years, it’s only grown, becoming a major player in the digital marketing realm. Seriously, you need to check it out.

So what exactly is Unsplash? It’s a website with over 500,000 free photos that are completely free to use on websites and other marketing materials, without having to give credit.

Which sounds basic enough … but it’s the quality of photos that sets Unsplash apart from its competitors. In a word, they’re amazing. And they’re also high resolution, so you can use them for a variety of purposes.

But, to channel that popular children’s show from the 80s, don’t take my word for it! Head on over https://unsplash.com/ and do a few searches for photos related to your business/industry. Pretty sure you’re going to be pretty impressed.

Here’s a few examples that I pulled while writing this article:

And as a Canadian, can’t lie – I was pretty stoked to learn that Unsplash’s headquarters are in Montreal. 🙂

A final note about Unsplash. The initial photos you download will be quite large – usually too large to upload straight to your website without resizing. You can resize your images in a program like Photoshop, or using a free online resizer.

OR, you can try out this free WordPress plugin, Instant Images. This is a really cool new plugin that makes using Unsplash images much easier. Learn exactly how to use Instant Images plus the finer details here. 

 

If Not Unsplash …

A note on Unsplash. If you’re selling something tangible like, say, pizza, then it’s going to be really easy to find tons and tons of photos to use – like this one!

pretty-picture-of-pizza

It can get a bit more complicated when you’re talking about more intangible things. You’ll need to get a bit more creative with your searches.

So, when I wanted to talk about an ‘a-ha’ moment I had using Google Analytics I searched for lightbulbs – because how else do you capture an ‘a-ah’ moment?

And when I wanted to talk about marketing mistakes small businesses often make, I branched out and found these cute photos to illustrate my points:

free-digital-photos-from-unsplash

All of which is to say: get creative! And don’t stress out if you don’t find the perfect photos right away. It might take a bit of searching using a few different keywords to find your perfect match.

And if I really can’t find what I’m looking for, I’ll check out Pixabay.

Pixabay is another online resource with tons of photos that are free to use. I personally find the quality of Unsplash to be a bit more my style, but Pixabay has more photos, and they seem to be improving. They also have vectors and videos.

They also seem to have much more relaxed ‘adult content’ restrictions if you know what I’m sayin’, wink, wink.

So be sure to check them out, too, if you get stuck.

 

Don’t Forget About Canva

I make no bones about how much I love Canva, a free online resource I use to make photoshop-level graphics and brand my websites and social media.

I usually wax on about how great Canva is for graphics … but today, let’s talk about how great it is for imagery. Here’s some pretty samples I just found, for free:

free-photos-from-canva-collage

Namely, Canva is another great resource for your free digital photo needs. Let’s mosey over to Canva.com and I’ll prove it to you.

So when you go to build something on Canva, go to Elements -> Photos, and then take a look at all the options!

canva free photo list

The same is true for graphics, and even for social media templates.

You’ll find lots of free options to choose from. And, the cool thing is that the paid options are only $1 each. Hardly enough to break the bank.

Easy to see why Canva is one of my favourite free digital tools for online marketers – find more here.

 

Get What You Pay For:
Elegant Themes Layouts

If you’re looking for free digital photos, I’ve save the best for last.

That’s because Elegant Themes includes all kinds of great, industry-specific photos in their website-building packages.

So technically, these aren’t free – you’ll need to buy a subscription to Elegant Themes first, which only makes sense if you are building a website. In my opinion, it’s reasonably priced and totally worth it if you’re using WordPress for your web design.

(And if you are building a website, see why Elegant Themes is a great choice here).

I use Elegant Themes because they make building awesome websites easy and fun, even if you’re not a coder with years of experience. I used their Extra theme to build this website, and I literally wouldn’t have my online career without them.

So they’re a fantastic option for small businesses and digital marketers (in fact, I love them so much I even became an affiliate marketer).

And because of that commitment to making the process easy, their lead WordPress themes, Divi and Extra, come with pre-built layouts that include industry specific layouts you can use to easily build websites – free digital photos included.

By that I mean .. say you’re planning to open a coffee shop, and you also need a website for said coffee shop.

If you use Elegant Themes, then this will be super easy. When you go to build a page on your site, use their pre-designed layouts.

(Don’t worry if you’re still new to web design – I’ve laid out all the steps to building a website from scratch, with no experience, here.).

screenshot of divi builder

 

Elegant Themes coffeeshop layout pack screenshot

You’ll be able to make a homepage like this:

coffee shop homepage

Along with the page layout, you’ll also get all kind of on-brand digital photos that you’re free to use. Like this one:

picture of coffee from Elegant Themes

So if you use this layout, then all you gotta do is go in and switch the logo and the copy, and maybe change some colours to match your branding (see my guide to picking colours for your website here).

And don’t think we’re just talking about your home page. There’s also layouts for an About Us page, Blog page, Guide page, Menu page, Shop page and even a landing page. See them all here.

Again, with those beautiful layouts comes all the beautiful free digital photography, which has the added perk of being hand chosen by uber-talented web designers to work with the website.

A pro-tip for my WordPress newbies. If you want to use these photos elsewhere, say on your Facebook page, then it’s easy to pull them off your website. Login to your WordPress dashboard, go to Media -> Library.

screenshot of wordpress dashboard

Click on the image you want to save, and copy the URL.

screenshot-of-attachment-details

Paste that URL into your browser, and then right-click ‘save as’ on your moues to save the image.

There you go – more free photos!

At the time of writing this article, Elegant Themes has dozens layout packs for different types of companies. Here’s just a few (follow the links to see their demos).

Gym

Plumber

Church

Driving School

Personal Trainer

Nutritionist

Dentist

Notary Public

Web Freelancer

And there’s more where that came from – here’s some (but not even all!) of your options: 

Restaurant, Agency, Learning Management (for e-courses), Design Agency, Fashion, Coffee Shop, Farmer’s Market, Yoga Studio, Wedding, Travel Agency, Photo Marketplace, Copywriter, SaaS Company, Web Agency, Interior Design Company, Digital Payments, Pottery Studio, SEO Agency, Business Consultant, Juice Shop, Software Marketing, Babysitter, Design Conference, Food Recipes/Blogger, Marathon, Cosmetics Shop, Tea Shop, Boutique, Auto Repair, Architecture Firm, Real Estate, Law Firm, Author, Handyman, Jeweler, Doctor’s Office, Travel Blog, Job Recruiter, Digital Marketing, Cryptocurrency, Animal Shelter, Elementary School, Locksmith, Life Coach, Wedding Planner, Car Dealer, Pharmacy, Graphic Illustrator, IT Services, Car Rental, Accountant, Insurance Agency, Construction Company, Meetup Website, Therapist, Moving Company, Carpenter, Business Coach, Language School, Electrician, Transportation Services, Food Catering, Gardener, Hosting Company, Plant Nursery, Cleaning Company, Makeup Artist, Bed and Breakfast, Web Freelancer, Political Candidate, Notary Public, Dentist, Nutritionist, Funeral Home, Soccer Club, Personal Trainer, Church, Driving School, Plumber, Fitness Gym, Podcast, Day Care, Laundry Services, Charity, Bank, and Suit Tailor.
Whew! Find them all here.

Definitely a great resource if you want to build a beautiful website with beautiful digital photos you don’t need to pay extra for!

Psssst …. like the Pinterest graphic in this post? I built it super easily and FOR FREE using Canva.
And all these great images are from Unsplash, and they were FREE too!
They’re two of my favourite online resources available to digitial marketers …
find them all with links here!