Are you wondering where you can find good quality photos and images for your training websites?
Ideally, it’s great to have some professionally taken shots of yourself and your clients/training sessions to use on your website. I’d always recommend investing in this as soon as you’re able, as bespoke images can be a great way to communicate your brand. However, unless you have a fairly healthy marketing budget, you may not be able to afford a constant stream of original images for your blogs, especially if you publish regularly. Most trainers save their professionally-taken images for the main pages of their websites or more targeted marketing.
A more affordable alternative for your blog – or for your website, if your budget won’t stretch to a photoshoot yet – is to use images from a royalty-free stock site. Mind you, paying for stock images can see the costs mount up. Plus, one of the downsides of using popular paid-for stock photo sites is that your website can end up looking the same as everyone else’s.
In my experience, it’s always a good idea to broaden your search for images to less well-known sites. There are some real gems out there that offer graphics, photos, and other visuals to make your content stand out. Many of these are available free of charge under various Creative Commons licenses. You’ll just need to check the terms of the licence for any image you download. Some stock images come with the caveat that you must credit and link to the creator, while other images can be used without credit but not modified in any way. The best images for use on your blog and social media platforms are those that can be used and modified without credit.
So, where can you find high-quality photos and images for your training website?
I’ve put together a list of my favourite image resources. It’s not a definitive list because new sites are cropping up all the time but hopefully, you’ll find some fantastic images on the sites that I’ve suggested.
I should point out that some of these sites do charge a paid subscription for you to download images (usually a set number of downloads per month). Other sites charge on a per photo basis, while some are completely free. I’ve made a note where there might be fees to pay.
- Unsplash is one of my favourite stock photo sites – it offers a huge range of free, commercially-usable images. Sometimes, you have to dig around the site a bit to unearth the true gems but Unsplash normally delivers.
- Pixabay features more than 1.8 million free stock photos, vector images, illustrations and graphics.
- Stocksnap.io offers some truly beautiful stock images that you may not have come across before – all are free to use commercially.
- Canva is a fantastic tool for creating your own website and social media images and I highly recommend it for trainers. Although you can achieve a lot with a free site, more templates, designs and images are available as part of its paid-for Pro or Enterprise packages.
- Burst (by Shopify) offers a choice of high-quality free images with an emphasis on business, education and retail. There are some really great pictures on this site.
- PikWizard is a (mostly) free stock image and video site that has over 100,000 images and videos, which are added to on a weekly basis. All of the assets are premium, contemporary and completely copyright free. The site also has an editing tool – DesignWizard – which offers a choice of free and paid-for packages.
- Pexels has some stunning images and videos and some good training shots, all free to use commercially.
- Reshot offers free ‘hand-picked, non-stocky images’ for entrepreneurs and freelancers – there are some lovely, quirky shots on here and images that are just a bit different.
- Morgue File is popular with bloggers because it offers a good selection of photos that are free to use commercially without attribution. Again, these images can be used in a tool like Canva to give them a unique edge.
- Picspree offers free images for commercial use – there are some beautiful images if you explore the site a bit and think beyond the conventional ‘business’ shots.
- Yay Images is a resource of more than 11 million images. You can currently sign up to a seven-day free trial, after which you would have to pay a subscription that would allow you to download between 45 and 260 images a month, depending on which package you choose.
- Free Digital Photos offers a good range of images that are free to use commercially. There are also links to premium, paid-for stock images.
- Dreamstime has a selection of free and paid-for images. There’s a mix of images not found on other sites and others that crop up on multiple stock sites.
- Free images has a good search function and you can find good quality office and training photos.
- Freerange Stock has a good range of free stock photos that you can use for your website.
- Freestocks has a lovely selection of images – the focus is more on lifestyle than business but you can still turn up some gems.
- Free Phone Bank offers a large number of free images for commercial use BUT you must link back to the site whenever you use one of their images online. There are instructions on Free Photo Bank about how they would like you to do this.
- Deposit Photos has a good selection of royalty-free images that can be downloaded via a choice of paid-for subscriptions, including an ‘on-demand’ service where you pay for batches of photos as and when you need them.
- Stencil is another tool that enables you to create branded images to use on your website and social media. There is a free ‘hobbyist’ starter package that allows you to download 10 free images a month. Many of the images are only available to those on one of the paid packages but it’s worth exploring what’s available.
- Shutterstock has a vast range of stock photos but there is a charge – you can either pay a monthly subscription or buy images in batches on demand.
- Adobe Stock (formerly Fotolia) features some beautiful pictures, available via subscription or ‘on-demand’ at a range of pricing levels, depending on your needs.
- Foodiesfeed might be of interest if you train clients in the food industry – it’s packed full of beautiful pictures of food and drink.
- Gratisography offers a mix of quirky, strange, whimsical photos that can all be used free of charge – a great site if you’re looking for something a bit different!
- Picography features gorgeous, high-resolution images that offer something a bit different.
- Foca offers photos, videos and templates free for commercial use – one of the most popular categories is ‘work spaces’.
- Picjumbo includes some excellent free images. You can also sign up for the paid-for Premium service to have 50+ premium photos emailed to you each month.
- Kaboompics offers free stock photos that you might not have come across on other sites. An added feature of this site is that you’re given the colour palette for each image, including the Hex codes of each colour.
- Skitterphoto has pictures that you might not have seen elsewhere – some of the nature-focused pictures are stunning.
- iStock by Getty Images is one of the most well-known paid-for stock photos sites with a vast selection of images. You can pay on a subscription basis or buy photo credits to use on-demand.
- Flickr is a photo and video-hosting service for a huge online community. Some members choose to share their images for free commercial use but you should always check the license for each image carefully before downloading.
- Life of Pix features some stunning free high-resolution photographs that are not widely found on other sites.
- Little Visuals was created as a ‘passion project’ for a photographer called Nic Jackson. After Nic died in 2013, his family left the images available for free download and commercial use to honour him.
- New Old Stock features vintage photos that are free from known copyright restrictions.
- Death to Stock is an artist-owned co-op that aims to create stock photos that look anything like stock photos. There is currently a 14-day free trial available and then a choice of paid-for subscription options.
- Jay Mantri adds new images every week, all available for free commercial use.
- ISO Republic features a mix of free images and paid-for images available from Shutterstock (see above).
- Styled Stock tends to offer free stock images aimed at a female audience.
- Snappa is a bit like Canva in that you can make branded images for your website or social media. The free Starter package only allows three downloads a month, while there are paid-for packages that include Buffer and social media. integrations.
- Pic Monkey, like Canva and others, allows you to make your own branded images. It is now a paid-for service with various packages available. There is currently a seven-day free trial to try before you buy.
- Negative Space offers some fantastic free images (you will just need to check the terms of the license for each image).
I hope you’ll have fun exploring these sites and discovering what images you can use to build your training brand.
One final tip – make a note of where you download your images from. If you ever have any questions about the images and their copyright, you’ll be able to go and find the information.
Have I missed any stock photo sites from this list? Have you discovered a hidden treasure that I haven’t mentioned? I’d love to hear from you!
This article was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated in October 2020.