Where To Find Images to Use On Your Website

When it comes to choosing images for your website, there are a number of factors to consider. First, you have the technical considerations of which file format is the correct one to use. Secondly, you have to think about the aesthetic considerations of which image will be best in your design.  On top of these technical and aesthetic points, you must also figure out exactly where to find the images that you hope to use in your design work.

The right choice for your website will depend on the specific needs (and budget) of that project. Because different projects have different requirements,having multiple options available to consider can be important to a project's eventual success. Let’s take a look at some of the places you can turn to to find images to use on your website and on other design work that you may do.

Free Image Resources

There are a number of websites that offer no-cost images that can be downloaded and used in your projects. Sites like MorgueFile and Pixabay are just two of these sites which allow you to use images free of charge.  While the price of these resources may be attractive (you can’t get much cheaper than “free”), the downside to free image websites is absolutely going to be the quality of the images offered on those sites. While you can certainly find some attractive free images available to use, you often have to comb through page after pages of bad images to find the quality ones that would work in your project.

Free images may be easy on the budget, but you get what you pay for, and oftentimes these free image sites may not cut it for serious website projects.

Creative Commons Images

Some no-cost image sources require you to attribute the image to the owner through a Creative Commons license. When searching free image sites, be sure to check the attribution requirements for the images you select.

The popular photo site Flickr includes many images that are available to be used under the Creative Commons license - but certain images can only be used in non-commercial projects while others allow for commercial use. When reviewing these images, be sure to understand the specific of how it is licensed and what uses are permitted so you do not use an image in a way that is not approved.

You can use the website CompFight to search the Flickr database and filter the results to only show Creative Commons images.

Stock Photo Sites  

If the free photo resources do not get you what you are looking for, you can turn to one of the many stock photo sites available today. These sites feature a staggering array of images and graphics available at costs that start at almost free and go up from there.

iStockPhoto.com and Veer.com are two mid-range (in terms of pricing) stock photo sites that offer lots of great photos, including many that are exclusive to those sites, at very reasonable prices (anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars, depending on the size that you need to download). Different images come in at different prices, but sites like these feature vast databases of Royalty Free images (which means you purchase it once and can use it for as long as you’d like on a project) to meet almost any need and budget.

Another possible stock photo option is Adobe Stock. If you are using the Adobe Creative Cloud in your work, which many designers do, then Adobe Stock is an easy connection for you to make. It can be added right onto your existing Creative Cloud subscription.

There are also a number of higher cost stock photo sites out their, including. Getty Images. These premium sites will feature images unavailable anywhere else, but at a cost that may put them out of reach for smaller projects without sizable budgets. Again, you get what you pay for. Higher end photo sites will feature shots that will take your breath away and will look stunning in your work, but you will have to budget for their use.

No matter your needs or budget, there is likely a stock photo site that will suit you. Just remember that the lower the cost of the images, the more likely that those images have been used by others as well.

When you get into the higher cost images, there is less likely to be a chance that the amazing shot you selected to center a design around will show up somewhere else too!

Custom Photography or Illustration       

If exclusivity is important to you (meaning you do not want the images you use to show up anywhere else), then free or stock image sites are not for you. In these instances, you will need to turn to custom photography or illustration.

Hiring a photographer or illustrator to create exactly what you need for a project is incredibly powerful. You will get a high quality image that is unique to you and your project, but once again (are you seeing a pattern here?), you get what you pay for. Photographers and illustrators are professionals, and as such, their work comes with a cost that is going to be greater than just downloading some stock images.

If your project’s budget will support custom photography or illustration, seriously consider this route since it is the best way to get exactly what you need.

Edited by Jeremy Girard on 1/7/17

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Your Citation
Girard, Jeremy. "Where To Find Images to Use On Your Website." ThoughtCo, Jan. 7, 2017, thoughtco.com/where-to-find-images-for-website-3466380. Girard, Jeremy. (2017, January 7). Where To Find Images to Use On Your Website. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/where-to-find-images-for-website-3466380 Girard, Jeremy. "Where To Find Images to Use On Your Website." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/where-to-find-images-for-website-3466380 (accessed December 11, 2017).