FREE stock images. You have heard about them. You have browsed all the sites that offer them. You decide to take the plunge and try using one for your Instagram, Facebook and Blog. You read the terms and conditions and downloaded that free high resolution image of your content creator dreams…but then you find out Sally down the internet block is using the SAME EXACT IMAGE AS YOU.
It’s like walking into a fancy New Years Eve party, thinking your dress is gorgeous, unforgettable and unique. And once you step inside the ballroom at that fancy hotel, downtown, 10 other women are wearing your exact same dress, in the same exact freaking color. You don’t want to feel upset or angry, but you can’t help it; you’re disappointed.
Please note that I am NOT an affiliate of the linked content found within and this post is NOT sponsored. I’m just a geeky mama boss, sharing the love.
Free stock images are kinda like that, for me, personally. Do I use them from time to time? Yes, yes I do. Want to know how I make a stock image appear more authentic and unique? Give this post a read. It makes the graphic design projects that I do for Brandis Allison Design Co. so much easier. Especially when I’m presenting a Curated Branding Moodboard to a blogging client. My header for my blog right this very moment, as I write to you, is a free stock image. I just couldn’t find anything in my own image library that I felt fit my vision “for now” so I searched for something specific, read the terms, agreed and downloaded that pretty photograph. I then edited it to match my branding, altering it slightly.
A New Way To Use FREE Stock Images
So what if I told you, there was a new way you could approach using free stock images? Something that could help up your ORIGINAL content creation game, but still give you a little help if you are feeling burnt out and are in a creative rut?
Hold tight. We will chat about this in a moment. First, we need to talk about the legalities behind a free stock image. Is it really free to use?
Reading FREE Stock Image Terms And License
This is so very important. You want to make sure you are legally covered in the event of something going terribly wrong. The original artist, who took the photograph you want to use, needs to be covered legally and well, whenever you use an image in this capacity, it’s just good practice to give attribution, or credit to the original artist. But depending on the site you are wanting to download the stock image from, attribution may not be a requirement. No matter what website you find yourself browsing, with the intention of finding a truly free image to use for your business, blog, brand…read the terms and license first, before downloading. And if you find yourself needing more information, reach out to the website directly and ask them for clarification.
What can I do with a Free Stock Image?
As long as you find an image that allows you to use it without restriction, you may use the stock image in MANY ways: You can download it. You can copy it as it is, modify it by cropping or adding image editing filters, text, etc. You can distribute it to your website and your social accounts. You can print it out. You may even be able to use said image for personal and commercial purposes without mentioning the original artist, i.e. photo taker.
But here’s the downside to a truly free stock image; Many other people are allowed to use the very same image you want to use. And they may also use it, however they deem fit.
Now that the technical stuff is out of the way, here’s a new, fun way of using a truly FREE stock image
For inspiration. For learning. For finding your own unique spin on a similar concept with the intention of creating original to you content for your blog, business, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Here’s an example of what I mean.
Perhaps you are a children’s fashion blogger and motherhood instagram influencer. You are an ambassador for a popular, mama-owned brand, who has recently asked you to style a flatlay using her new kiddo tee that’s releasing soon. The tee has a grizzly bear on it and you have this adorable plush bear from Target – the perfect addition to your styled image. But what else can you use? You’re stumped. It’s been a very long, tiring day and inspiration is flying out the window. You don’t want to be a copycat and look at other Instagram accounts that are in your same motherhood niche. I actually highly recommend NEVER being a copycat in that capacity. So instead, you head to Brandis’ favorite free stock image catalog, where you can use any image you’d like. You find the cutest flatlay image that uses women’s clothing, shoes and even a mug. You love everything about it! Because this image, free, was uploaded to a site that allows for several uses of said image, you can download it and use it anyway you’d like.
My suggestion? Study it! Study the placement of the clothing, shoes and mug. How did the artist fill up the frame? Is there a lot of white space or not much at all? Identify your favorite part of the flatlay – the style, the edit, the color scheme. Now try to recreate it with your own items or simply pull one or two ideas from the stock image, that you can put your own creative spin on when photographing YOUR flatlay.
There’s also something else pretty AWESOME about using free stock images from Unsplash for learning. If you click on the images INFO button, at the bottom right side, you can see ALL the technical goodness in the above picture. And if you speak photographer, you’ll recognize all these things immediately. If you don’t speak dSLR photographer, that’s totally okay too! If you have a question, leave it in the comments and I’ll explain it to ya, girlfriend to girlfriend.
This info tab is extremely helpful for the stock images you’d like to download and use as-is. From using the above image information stats, the stock image has been seen 752,016 times and has been downloaded 9,479 times. So it’s quite possible that Sally down the internet block may have also used this image somehow. Since y’all seem to have the same amazing taste and all.
::: wink, wink :::
Love my example of how to use a free stock image to spark inspiration or to learn from?
If you just nodded your head yes, then girl, join me! I started doing creative things myself, and found that not only was I staying inspired, but I was CREATING a lot of content, mostly images, that I could use now and later on, for my blog, Twitter,Instagram and of course my Pinterest pages. And honestly, it hasn’t cost too much (I’ll share how and where I shop for items used in my styled images) and we will go on a creative, photographing journey together!
Want to know what this free challenge is all about? READ THIS RIGHT NOW. Yes, I just shouted at you because I am THAT excited. I think you’ll love it and connecting with you would be amazing, too.
So tell me, Friend. Are you into free stock images? If yes, how do you utilize them the most? I know there are TONS of sites out there to choose from. Do you have a favorite go-to website?
Chat again soon. XO