I have a paid subscription to an esteemed stock photography library, yet I still often struggle to find creative and captivating images for presentation designs, or other content marketing visuals. When searching the stock photo site with my paid membership, I often have to spend a lot of time filtering through pages of photos that look staged, fake, or out of date before I can find one image that has any sense of story, true meaning, or authentic place in the real world.
I am sure you instinctively know what I mean by photos that have a sense of story or authentic place in the real world. If you can imagine a photo fitting in easily on a popular Instagram account, the image likely has an authentic appeal. Images do not need to be gritty or rebellious like the photo above to be creative or compelling. However, if the photo seems like it belongs in a textbook or catalog from the early 1990’s, the picture probably lacks any real world flavor.
For your presentations, think Instagram, instead of catalogs or educational manuals. Even for corporate presentations, pick photos that look like they would attract interest on popular social media platforms. After all – you’re presenting to people, real people who use social media regularly, and therefore see endless streams of beautiful images every day. People can typically spot a stock image in an instant. If you abuse and overuse stereotypical stock images, you are missing out on an opportunity to develop a genuine connection with your audience. However if you choose images that are representative of real life, your audience will connect emotionally to your message because they can connect the visuals to their own personal experiences.
As an alternative to the traditional stock photography sites, check out the 12 websites below; each site features a library of creative and compelling images, all of which are currently free to use in personal or commercial designs. The photos on these 12 websites have the authentic look and feel that your presentation needs to intrigue your audience.
The fine print: All photos here on www.cupcake.nilssonlee.se are licensed under the Creative Commons license CC0, which means that you are free to use the images without any costs. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking for permission.
The fine print: For commercial use, your blog posts, social accounts and mockups.
Bonus: Check out this intro video by the crew at Death To The Stock Photo.
The fine print: Free to use hi-res photos for your landing pages & graphic designs.
4. Foodies Feed
The fine print: Free images of food for bloggers, designers, web devs. Both personal and commercial use allowed. Sign up for weekly delivery to your inbox.
5. Jay Mantri
The fine print: Free pics. Do anything (CC0). Make magic. 7 new photos every Thursday.
The fine print: All Pictures on this site are licensed under the Creative Commons Public Domain License CC0. That means, you can do with this Photos what ever you like.
The fine print: Free hi-resolution photos. Use them however you like.
The fine print: All photos are listed under ccO. This means you can do whatever you want with them.
The fine print: 623 free HD images for your web and design projects.
The fine print: You can copy, modify, distribute and use the images, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission and without paying attribution.
Conclusion: Paid stock photography sites are valuable resources for presentation designers, however sometimes the expensive stock images miss the mark of authenticity and emotional appeal that great presentations need. If you are searching for exceptional photos for your presentation design and the results on the subscription stock photos sites are lackluster, don’t waste any more time scrolling through the paid site; head over to one of these 12 stock libraries that are disrupting the photography industry by giving away beautiful images for free. Just like the photos on these sites, your presentation design will make a meaningful mark on the world.
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