As a savvy online entrepreneur (oh yes, you are!), you know that one of the trickiest parts of running your business is navigating the ins and outs of social media.

Let’s say you’ve got a rockin’ post all written up and ready to publish, but what about an equally powerful image to accompany it?

We’re naturally visual beings and one of the most natural ways to “speak your people’s language” is to connect with them through imagery. For this reason, photography has always been an integral part of the design process.

Unfortunately, we’ve become complacent that cheesy, repetitive stock images are the norm. Not only do a lot of these photos not say much more than ‘meh’, but they could be costing you clients and sales!

SOLUTION? Find – and use better images. Ones that actually say something, evoke emotion, and most importantly, help you tell your “stories”, further connecting you with your target audience.

You can use stock photography for a lot of your more common business needs. For example – use them on your website (and your blog) to break up text and fill in whitespace in order to create a nicer aesthetic and to further complement the visual “storytelling” aspect.

Having access to reliable stock image sources are a great way to keep on-brand visual elements in your back pocket — without the often steep price of a custom photo shoot, which can literally cost you thousands *cough, sputter, choke*

Thankfully, there’s a growing number of websites with really amazing stock photography popping up all over the web, and best of all, many of them are completely FREE!!

The reasons you should use stock photos…instead of finding them randomly online

→ Avoid a lawsuit. Yep, you can find yourself in seriously hot water by using someone else’s photo without permission! (more on that later in the post)

→ Not having to create your own images = less stress. Most health pros simply don’t have the time (or mad flatlay skills) to grow a rabbit-hole-worthy feed. With beautiful stock images, there’s no pressure to suddenly become a photographer if that’s simply not in your wheelhouse.

→ Using just the right “on brand” images interspersed in your content lends to simplifying your website by lessening bulky text (say more with less) and helps to illustrate your writing = visual storytelling. This can also lead to more social sharing of your content.

According to BuzzSumo, in an analysis of over 1 million articles, they found that articles with an image once every 75-100 words received double the social media shares as articles with fewer images.

→ Boost the overall quality and vibe of your socials (eye candy!), connect with your audience and uplevel your brand image or visual identity.

Hubspot reported that, “When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.”

And why? Because vision upstages all other senses.

OUR TOP 8 FREE STOCK PHOTO SITES

These free image sites are faves because they have an abundance of health & wellness -themed images and are ones we either tap into regularly for our various content projects or they’ve been recommended through the Take Your Health Practice Online Facebook Group.

PLEASE NOTE: some photos may require attribution so make sure to double-check the licence of any photo you intend to use for any purpose – business or otherwise.

However, many of them are free from copyright restrictions or licensed under the dedicated Creative Commons Zero (CC0) public domain – which we’ve noted. This means you can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission or giving attribution.

On the other hand, even if the licence doesn’t require you to attribute the original photographer, it’s still always a nice and fair thing to do. Karma baby!

  1. STYLED STOCK – offers feminine stock photography for female entrepreneurs. The collection is totally free for your business & personal projects.

From their site: “You are allowed to use our images for any commercial or non-commercial purposes. However, the image copyright is still the property of its author. You are free to adapt and use them for commercial purposes without attributing the original author or source. Although not required, a link back to Styledstock.co is appreciated.”

  1. PEXELS – provides high quality and completely free stock photos licensed under the CC0 license. All photos are nicely tagged, searchable and also easy to discover through their discover pages.
  1. PIXABAY – offers a large collection of free stock photos, vectors and art illustrations. All photos are released under CC0.
  1. UNSPLASH – offers a large collection of free high-resolution photos and has become one of the most popular sources for quality stock images.

All photos are released (for free) under the Unsplash license. This is very similar to the CC0 where you can use them for free for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash.

  1. STOKPIC – launched only a few years ago because founder Ed Gregory says, “not everyone has hundreds of dollars for stock photos, so I am giving every photo on this site away for free in full hi resolution. Simple. Enjoy.”

Check out their ‘Latest 100’ listing – there’s some truly beautiful work there! Some images on this site are under the CC0 licence but most are under their own StokPic Licence.

  1. BURST – a resource from e-commerce giant Shopify that provides free stock photos for entrepreneurs, and was launched with the intention of helping entrepreneurs make better websites & products, and more effective marketing campaigns.

“Download free photos to fuel your next project.” ~ Burst

Be aware that while some photos are licensed under CC0 others fall under Shopify’s own photo license.

7. STOCKSNAP.IO – has a large selection of beautiful free high resolution stock photos, adding hundreds of images on a daily basis. All photos are released under CC0.

  1. FOODIES FEED – offers thousands of high resolution realistic (and free!) food pictures. It’s the perfect stock photo site for food and nutrition bloggers!

These are NOT under a CC0 licence but they can be used for both personal and commercial use, and can also be modified. Attribution is not required.

4 FREE PHOTO EDITING & DIY GRAPHIC DESIGN APPS

So, now you know where to get some high quality on-brand images when you go to create content for your business – which is pretty much all the time, amiright?

(and what is content anyway? Content = value.)

But what if you want to modify, resize, add text and other branding elements to your images?

“Good design is good business.” – Thomas Watson, Jr.

Here are some tools that will make it incredibly easy to master DIY graphic design – plus, they’re free!

CANVA – the bonus about Canva (as if you needed more features) is that they also have a huge library of stock photos that you can purchase for $1 each
PICMONKEY – no longer free version, only a free 7-day trial.
PIXLR – a robust browser image editor for all of your editing needs.
SNAPPA – whip up graphics for social media, ads, blogs, and more without needing Photoshop or an expensive graphic designer.

We talk about 50 other FREE TOOLS for your online health business in THIS POST.


Here are some creative uses for stock photos

Now that you’ve got the goods on where to source great images and DIY design tools, here are the type of graphics we’ve put together – and you could too.

1. Create “shareable” photo quotes with text overlays 

A great way to grab your tribe’s attention, and inspire them while growing your brand at the same time – is to create photo quotes (#memelove).

The cool thing about photo quotes is that your followers are often inclined to share them, which helps to propagate your brand awareness.

Here’s a fun one we did and posted on our Instagram feed:

2. Nurture thy Instagram!

As you’ve probably noticed, Instagram is a really visual platform. Plus, this may be the first interaction a person (maybe a potential client) has with you and your business. How do you want them to feel?

Taking into consideration the overall layout of your feed, every single image you post needs to be cohesive and reflective of your brand’s identity.

There’s often confusion around posting photos to Instagram that aren’t yours. You totally can! Just be sure to choose ones that have a relatable feel and are still cohesive with your brand.

If you choose to use stock photos for IG, it’s good to interchange them with your own photos to enhance your feed while maintaining a personal feel with sneak peeks into your business – and your life.

(You get A LOT of these from me — just look at our Instagram feed)

Another great thing about IG is that you can modify your images right in the platform with different filters, stickers and options to add text!

3. Pin-worthy images

Here are some examples of how we’ve used stock photographs to create shareable images for Pinterest.

4. Design a Facebook cover…that shows some personality and what you’re all about (unlike that tired image of a bowl of green apples…)

If you’re not already taking full advantage of the most coveted space on your Facebook page, seize the opportunity!

Consider that your Facebook cover is actually an amazing FREE TOOL that can get new visitors clicking back to your site, sales page or your freebie lead magnet.

Lori Kennedy Inc. business page – notice the creative use of a stock photo used as the background for all kinds of fun stuff!

5. Promo yo’ freebies

Check out what my biz friend Kathleen LeGrys has done with stock photos – in this amazing collage of images to advertise her equally as amazing 6-Month Coach With Confidence customizable health coaching program, which we love by the way!

No need to rely on cheesy stock photos anymore as there’s a growing number of fantastic (and often free!) resources for stock photography.

These sites, plus all the great photo editing & design tools, have given designers, marketers, bloggers and health entrepreneurs such an edge in an increasingly competitive online business space.

Do you know of other free stock photo or editing sites we should know about? Comment below and let us know!

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