Top Five Free Stock Photo Websites

 
 
Best Free Stock Photo Sites for Bloggers, Small Businesses and Non-Profits
 

Whether you're a new (or seasoned!) blogger or a entrepreneur with a limited marketing budget, having professional photography done for each campaign, webpage or blog isn't reasonable. That's why I've rounded up my favorite stock photo sites that offer great, high-quality images for free. Yep, that's right: great photos for zero dollars, no strings attached.

PEXELS

Pexels is an incredible resource for free stock photos for bloggers across the board. They have everything from desk flat lays with coffee, notebooks and Apple gear and office shots to open plains and livestock. You won't find corny, posed images on Pexels either. Feminine or masculine themes, holiday photos, food images and everything in between sums up their giant library. They even have a massive fitness section, which in my experience, is hard to come by in the free stock photo world! 

Images are free for personal or commercial use and they even have a handy option to download different sizes of their photo, a feature that's especially great if you don't have access to Photoshop or time to spend resizing image after image.

No account is required to download photos, but if you do sign up, you'll receive 40 exclusive images you won't find on the website.

Here's a rundown of their license from their website:

It's hard to understand complex licenses that is why all photos on Pexels are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means the pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose.

•  The pictures are free for personal and even for commercial use.
•  You can modify, copy and distribute the photos.
•  All without asking for permission or setting a link to the source. So, attribution is not required.
•  The only restriction is that identifiable people may not appear in a bad light or in a way that they may find offensive, unless they give their consent.

 

UNSPLASH

Unsplash has a similar aesthetic to Pexels but with a bit more limited library; however, it is a perfect resource for images with consistent style. Nearly any image you download from Unsplash will have the same look and feel in terms of how the image was shot and edited. You'll also find more images of people on Unsplash.

Unsplash's content has a distinct feel, yet offers vivid imagery and a wide range of subjects: lifestyle, fashion, food, offices, tech and outdoors are just a few of the most popular categories.

Like Pexels, an account isn't required to download photos, but by signing up, you'll receive 10 high-quality photos direct to your inbox each week.

Here's a look at Unsplash's licensing policy:

All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.

 

 

CREATIVE MARKET

 

While Creative Market isn't a free photo website, per se, they offer weekly freebies, which often include a pack of 20+ images with a different theme each week. And a major bonus: The weekly free goods from Creative Market include fonts, graphics, pre-made logos, Photoshop files and more!

Licensing policies depend on the week and artist, but most of the time they're 100% free for commercial or personal use. And don't forget to check out Creative Market's full library of images for more flexibility starting at as little at $2.

A fun little bonus from this site is the fact that you can sync the files directly to your Dropbox, which makes it easy to either backup your files, share them with clients or even save space on your laptop or computer!

 

BARN IMAGES

Yes, it's called Barn Images. No, they don't have only images of barns. They have a good selection of free images, which you can search directly for a subject or browse the 16+ categories. Barn Images also has a blog with great resources, which also comes up in search terms.

One thing to keep in mind, you'll find more ads on this site than the others, but they're not too intrusive and often closely related to blogging and photography.

Barn Images also has Premium Photo Packs, which gives you access to a library of a dozen or more themed downloads with up to 110+ photos in each pack for a great price. If you're looking for a ton of styled photography images and have a small budget for photography, the photo packs might be for you!

Check out their licensing policy:

You are allowed to use all of the images published in Barn Images collections (both Free Images and Premium Packs) for commercial and non-commercial purposes. You can remix, tweak, and build upon your work, without asking for permission or attributing the photos. However, we would appreciate if you could place a link to our website, or spread the word in social media.

 

835 CREATIVE

Wait, whaaaat? Yes, that's right. 835 Creative is in the process of creating a free stock photo library just for you! Each month, we're creating a photo pack of stock images perfect to promote your blog, Etsy shop or use on social media. We're talking about 10-20 images each month with a specific theme and photo style. You'll find flat-lay images, moody images, holiday images and more with room to pop into InDesign, Photoshop or Canva and add text, your logo and more... at no cost!

If you're signed up for the Resource Library, you'll get instant access each month, plus access to previous months' photo packs. Want December's free holiday-themed photo pack? Click here! And don't forget to visit the Resource Library to sign up for access to free templates, checklists and photos for your blog and website.


Looking for more recommendations for products and resources for your blog or website? Check out my top picks for online tools here!

 

Free Holiday Stock Photos for Your Blog or Online Shop!

 
 
 

It's December and officially the season of giving, which means I've got a special giveaway on the blog stock: free holiday stock photos for bloggers, small business owners, Etsy shops... you name it!

This pack is filled with 15+ photos perfect for your blog, Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram! Use the photos on their own with a fun caption promoting your latest sale or product or pop these pretty little things into InDesign or Canva, overlay some text and have the perfect image to promote your latest offering through the holiday season.

 
 

Here's a preview of what's inside:

Free stock photos for Christmas, Holidays, December for Solopreneurs, Etsy shops, Bloggers
Free stock photo for Christmas, holiday, December for small business owners, solopreneurs, etsy shop owners
Free stock photos for Christmas, Holidays, December for Solopreneurs, Etsy shops, Bloggers
Free stock photos for Christmas, Holidays, December for Solopreneurs, Etsy shops, Bloggers
Free stock photos for Christmas, Holidays, December for Solopreneurs, Etsy shops, Bloggers

As a special early holiday gift, these photos are 100% for your use, however you'd like. No need to credit, but if you're feeling extra giving, feel free to tag 835 Creative in your images and on social media!

With the launch of the Resource Library, we'll be back at the beginning of each month with a new (and free!) themed photo pack. Not a member of the Library yet? Join in now!

Ready to download the free stock photo pack? Click here! And don't forget to follow 835 Creative on Instagram!

 
 
 

Why You Need a Brand Style Guide ASAP

 
Why You Need A Brand Style Guide for Your Blog, Business or Organization.

As part of my design services, I create one piece of collateral for my clients that's oh-so-important: A brand style guide. Different from a mood board, which often features images pulled from Pinterest, a color scheme and typography (font) ideas, the brand style guide is the be-all, end-all of your brand. The real deal.

While my style guides for clients vary from a one-sheet to a comprehensive ten-page style guide, it's important as a blogger, small business or organization to have a piece of material that sums up your brand at a quick glance both for a variety of reasons.

 

Who does a brand style guide benefit?

You! The business owner, head honcho, founder, creative director.

Whoever you are at the top of your business or organization, this is what sums up the face of your brand identity. If you're not design-savvy, your brand style guide is a quick and easy way to access your colors, your logos and fonts, whether you're creating a Facebook cover photo in InDesign or a blog post graphic in Canva.

Your employees.

If you're working with contractors for your social media or design projects or bringing on full-time employees, it's important to have a style guide to bring your brand style into the forefront of your employees' minds. Plus, it makes it a cinch for your employees to know your exact colors and other elements that help market and promote your blog or business. Because "light blue" just isn't going to cut it as a color description when you're dealing with designers or printing companies. Bonus: Have Pantone colors on your style guide.

The outside world.

I say outside world since it depends on your niche. At some point, you're going to be working with someone outside of your business or blog.

A brand style guide lets advertisers, sponsors, collaborators, fellow bloggers and the media know which logos are appropriate to use in print, on television or online, plus it will give them a quick idea of your style - both visually and your voice. You'll be surprised at how often even larger organizations can stretch your logo, recolor your logo or even call you by the wrong name! Providing a brand style guide nips it in the bud and makes it easier to approach any oops! that may come up when promoting your blog or business.

Style guide for MaggieGentry from 835 Creative

What should I include in a brand style guide?

As I mentioned earlier, a brand style guide can be as simple as a one sheet or be ten, twenty or even fifty pages long and go into specifics of your brand's voice, imagery and more; however, let's be real: the only ones with fifty-page style guides are massive corporations with many entities (Think: FedEx, Mars, Coca-Cola, etc.)

Here are a few ideas of what to include in your brand style guide:

  • Primary logo
  • Alternative logo(s)
  • One-color logo(s)
  • Brandmarks or icons
  • Colors - RGB, HEX, CMYK, Pantone
  • Patterns
  • Textures
  • Typefaces (fonts)
  • Tagline
  • Logo restrictions
  • Mission statement
  • Vision statement
  • Collateral examples
  • Catchphrases
  • Images & image style
  • Hashtags
  • Website URL & details
  • About/Biography/History
  • Partners or members

Are you just starting out and want to create your own brand style guide? Download the free template in the Resource Library!

Template includes InDesign files for Creative Cloud and .idml for
older versions of InDesign, plus a Quickstart Guide.

 

Cheatsheet: Adobe InDesign Keyboard Shortcuts & Commands

 
Work quickly and efficiently with the InDesign Keyboard Shortcut Cheatsheet with Commands on text, pages and more. Click to download the PDF cheatsheet!

When I taught graphic design to college students for the first time, I had been an avid user of Adobe Creative Cloud - then known as Creative Suite - for at least a solid decade. One thing I learned with my first students was that those commands I could do in my sleep by waving my fingers across a keyboard... Well, they didn't come naturally to anyone. Period.

That was a huge shock (ha!) when I went through my first tutorial in lab and within the first few minutes was greeted with, "Whoa! Slow down! How did you do that?" On the screen, it probably looked magical. The mouse wasn't moving to the toolbar on the left side of the screen, yet tools would appear, actions would happen and boom, tutorial complete.

That, my friends, is the magic of keyboard shortcuts and commands.

 
 

If you're relatively new - or haven't used it for a while! - InDesign keyboard shortcuts just aren't second nature. You've probably watched video tutorials online where they move so incredibly fast as they name off the steps, you have to watch it ten times.

These shortcuts will save you time when working on your blog graphics, business marketing materials and more. After all, saved seconds add up to minutes, minutes to hours and that's money saved in the long run, right?

 
 

tips on indesign shortcuts

Don't get overwhelmed. Jump to the bottom of this post and download the PDFs. Print them out or even half your screen as you work on projects in InDesign so you can reference your shortcuts. You'll be surprised how quickly they get burned into your brain!

  • The cheatsheets focus on Mac users, but Windows users, don't fear! Anytime you see the command symbol (),  press Control instead.
  • "Tools" shortcuts only use one letter or symbol on the keyboard. This makes the chosen tool active. You'll click as needed to use it, just as you would if you manually selected it from the toolbar.
  • "Command" shortcuts require you to press all designated keys at the same time. Don't get discouraged if you can't quite get the hang of the more complicated, three-plus key shortcuts.

Do you use shortcuts to expedite work in InDesign?
What is your favorite shortcut to use? Comment below!

 

Download the InDesign Keyboard Shortcut Cheat Sheet through the Resource Library!

 
 
 

Font Roundup: The Best Free Script Fonts

It's time for a font roundup! And what are the best kinds of fonts for creatives and bloggers on a budget? Free ones! Check out my current favorites below that go beyond the script fonts you see every day. You'll find some grunge fonts, some girly fonts, some proper fonts and even some great fonts for branding your next project - or your own business!

Font Roundup_Free Script Fonts - 835 Creative.jpg
 

Want more tips, tricks and freebies like this delivered right to your inbox?

Pop in your email below to join the 835 Creative party!

 

Improve your iPhone photography plus free workbook!

Not sure why every single photo you take with your iPhone is blurry? Are you ready to kick dark, grainy images to the curb?

Here you'll find my favorite tricks to using your iPhone to produce professional-quality images for your blog and social media. Plus, snag the free four-page iPhone Photography Workbook for Bloggers and Creatives at the bottom of this post for even more tips!

 
The best tips to improve your iPhone photography for your website, blog or social media!
 

great lighting

A great source of natural light is the single best way to create sharp images with soft shadows. How do you find natural light? Indoors, find a room that’s well lit, but without direct sunlight (bright, but not harsh). Whether you’re shooting from above, from the side or eye-level, be sure not to stand between your light source (the window) and your object.

focus!

This is one of the biggest questions I'm asked: Why are all of my iPhone photos blurry? It's a bit of a hidden feature with your phone: tap to focus. That's it! Tap the subject on your screen and wah-la! You're in focus. If your images are still blurry, try giving your iPhone's lens a little wipe down with a soft cloth. Even with a case on, the lens can get a bit dirty, causing your images to be blurry and grainy.

burst mode

At a sporting event or trying to capture your cat sprinting around the house full-speed? Try the iPhone's burst mode, which takes photos in quick succession. Instead of tapping the shutter button to take a photo, press and hold. From there, numbers will appear (and continue counting!) until you let go of the button. The same works if you use the volume button to take photos, too. This is a great feature to capture high-speed motion at its peak.

try a new angle

Some angles work, some angles don't. Until you've nailed your brand style when it comes to your photos, experiment! Jump on a stool and shoot from far above. Lay down in the grass to find a new perspective. Get up close on your subject and try the same shot with the whole room. As you work on your photography, try each image in a variety of angles (and shoot lots!), which will help you figure out your own style.

use filters sparingly

Filters are popular! In fact, they're so popular that Instagram's filter names are showing up on top baby names lists in 2015. Unfortunately, slapping a filter on your photos won't make your image much better. Some of the top pros on Instagram won't even touch filters (shocking, isn't it?), instead opting for mild adjustments in VSCO and Instagram such as brightness, contrast and sharpen. With the right lighting, you'll never have to rely on Valencia again!

want more tips and tricks?

 
 

Don't forget to pick up your free four-page iPhone Photography Workbook for Bloggers and Creatives with even more detailed tips and tricks! Pop your info below and you'll receive an instant link to download. I can't wait to see what you come up with, so tag me in your new and improved photos on Instagram with @brendagdalton!

Download the Improve Your iPhone Photography Workbook through the Resource Library! 

 
 

Thanksgiving sanity-saving printable + holiday freebie

Thanksgiving sanity-saving printable + holiday freebie

Anyone who knows me know that I am a bit of a planner. In fact, half of the fun of vacations and trips is planning where we'll go, what I'll pack and of course, what we'll eat. That theory slides ride into holidays, which is why I dreamed up the ideal Thanksgiving planner for scatterbrained folks like me.

Not too detailed so as not to get overwhelmed, but not so simple that I have to do all of the thinking. Without a shopping list, you can find me in the baking aisle with glazed-over eyes trying to find salad dressing.