Finding quality (and free!) photos for programs and marketing materials has become much easier.
Picture it: you’re in a crowded ballroom about to witness a highly anticipated lecture. The speaker starts. He advances to the next slide, and suddenly you’re staring at a stock photo with the watermark still on it.
Four of my favorite sites for stock photos are:
- Gratisography has wonderfully surreal photos. High-quality portraits portray a range of emotions and scenarios. You may find yourself trying to plan a program around a photo, like I am trying to do with this one. (If you have any ideas, let me know.)
- Great for: art programs, programs for people with a sense of humor, programs that teach patrons how to do a frustrating task.
Historical Image Archives
- While many archives require payment for the rights to use a photo, there are many historical photos that have no copyright restrictions. Two of my go-to sources are the Library of Congress and the United Kingdom's National Archives. Simply limit your search results to “no known copyright restrictions” before choosing an image. Some of my favorite collections are 1940s factory workers and this collection by NASA. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, New Old Stock curates some great ones. Pay attention to the sources on this site, as they’ll offer more ideas for specific subjects.
- Great for: genealogy programs, programs for history buffs.
- Looking for landscapes? Unsplash is one of the first places I look for restriction-free photos for fliers and presentation slides. It aggregates photos from a variety of photographers around the world who are generous enough to offer their images without strings attached. Looking for a photo of the Eiffel Tower? Take your pick of angles and times of day.
- Great for: book programs, whimsical programs, social media marketing.
- For those of you who have been dabbling in the stock photography world for a while, Morguefile might make you cringe a little. However, they’ve been making a concerted effort to highlight their higher-quality photos. It may take some concerted searching, but you’d be surprised at what you can find.
- Great for: low-resolution photos for handout, random images.
What are your go-to sites for quality stock photos? Share them in the comments — the more, the merrier!