Gone are the days of forking over hundreds of dollars, to receive a staged, smiling blonde swinging her shopping bags, for use on your latest SALE poster.
Not only are those photos expensive, they're also pretty cheesy (and less likely to resonate with your tribe. Sure, there's still sites like Getty Images making a buck, or many, from the works of photographers; but if you're not looking to nab an image of a sportsperson or celebrity, there really isn't a need to pay for stock photos. (Unless of course, you're hiring a professional to create your own!).
Before I launch in and divulge my secret photo stash sites, I wanted to share a little bit about why these sites are popping up on every corner of the internet.
Thanks to these beautiful photographers, we now have access to stunning imagery that make our marketing materials POP, without hurting the bottom line of your business!
If like me, you're one-part lazy and one-part just love staring at pretty things - Death To The Stock Photo is a brilliant choice for you.
Curating a unique set of photos for you monthly, and (practically) hand-delivering them to your email address, means you don't have to leave the comfort of your inbox to be captivated by striking images.
This is brilliant to create your own stock pile of images, ready to go whenever you need them - but you've gotta be on the list, baby!
He says it upfront "I take better pictures Caffeinated. Want to buy me a cup of coffee?"
No, he's not a creepy stalker on the internet, Ryan ... is the man behind the lens of all the images on Life Of Pix, and thinks it's fair enough to exchange all his hard work, in searching down the perfect shot, for a measly cup of coffee.
I think this is a brilliant exchange, personally, and a little bit of good JuJu.
Now, if you're after a little less indie-designer photography, and want something a little more corporate-looking, SplitShire's your site.
Bridging the gap between the hexy-cheeseball stock photos of the past, and the free, edgy images of some of the previously mentioned sites, SplitShire provides "Delicious Free Photos for personal & commercial use."
The only restriction, as the photographer themselves put is is "download them for free and make something awesome". Well, you heard him, GO!
'7 hand-picked snaps every 7 days' is SnapWire's motto.
SnapWire upload a selection of images weekly, but be warned: there's no searchable database here, so you've got to be in it to win it.
Lucky for you though, you have a choice here. You can either set your email calendar to send you a reminder to check SnapWire weekly, or you can just hand over your email address and they'll send those new snaps straight to your inbox! Snazzy, right???
The thing I like most about SnapWire, is that you can tell they're in it for the passion of picturesque photographs... There's no blaring ads in the sidebar, no pop-up offers - just pure, passionate photos and links to their creators website.
SnapWire also have a paid version of their site, where you can get a little more specific about what sort of image you're after, or request one if you can't find it! How's that for service?
I've saved, in my opinion, the best to last. StockSnap is my go-to site. It has everything you could ask for in stock photos, even the odd drool-worth puppy too.
Uploaded in real-time, the creators of StockSnap curate images from across the web that can be utilised free of charge for personal or commercial use.
Now you have no excuse not to create beautiful products, social media images and blogposts. These sites are also wonderful tool for finding the perfect image to use in my e-book templates. Go on, get creating!