Whether you’re designing your ecommerce website, putting together some killer marketing materials, or getting your social media game on, a picture says a thousand words.
Good quality photography is vital for creating a professional look. Fortunately, there are several free stock image libraries and image editing software you can use to get impressive results. Here are six of our favourites…
Free high-resolution images
Pixabay is an excellent free image library with a searchable database of high-quality photography. Images are submitted by Pixabay’s community of creatives, and all images are copyright free. That means you can use them for commercial purposes without asking for permission or crediting the artist. Photos are generally offered for direct download in four different resolution levels, and free vector graphics, illustrations and videos are also available.
Pexels is another free image library that offers free professional-standard stock photography and videos. Like Pixabay, Pexels’ creator community submits copyright-free images you can download and use for free. You also don’t have to credit the photographer — although attribution is appreciated — and you are free to edit and modify the photos to your heart’s content. However, you can’t sell Pexels images as poster or T-shirt prints, or as any other commercial product.
Unsplash works in much the same way as Pixabay and Pexels. Stunning high resolution images are free to download for commercial use — such as on your website, in your marketing materials and on social media. Again, crediting photographers isn’t required but it is appreciated. Photos are sorted into a range of helpful collections, or you can search the database for exactly what you need. Images are professional standard and tend to be available in high-resolution only.
Free image editing software
Pixlr is a completely free image editing software that is hosted online — which means there are no dodgy downloads required. You need Flash player to run it, and the software is also available as a mobile app if you need to edit images on the run. You can apply a huge range of filters to your images; adjust brightness, contrast, hue and saturation; crop the image to your desired proportions; and apply gradients to images.
Fotor is not just a free image editing tool, you can also make photo collages and even create a design based on several free templates. For example, you can make a Facebook or Twitter cover art work, an image-based social media post to the correct dimensions, and a range of poster and flyer formats. You can save your work in the cloud and come back to it any time, and Fotor supports JPG, PNG and PDF file formats. The Design Gallery also provides an enormous range of inspiration.
InPixio is a free downloadable photo editor that is stored on your harddrive, which means you can use it offline. Use a range of textured overlays to create rich effects, and there is a wide range of filters to play with. Batch mode is also extremely helpful for automatically applying the same effects to several photos. It’s also easy to add text to images, and you can apply more than 100 frames to your photos for that final polish.