Visuals are an important part of your health coaching website, but you can’t do a photoshoot every single time you need a photo for your blog post or social media, right?
This is where stock images come in! I’ve already talked about ways to source images when you can’t do photoshoots, but I wanted to delve more into free stock sites! Yes, sometimes you can get amazing things for free, but before I tell you my favourites, here are some things to watch out for…
3 Things to Watch Out for When Using Stock Images
Found a true hidden gem of a stock photo website that supposedly has new and refreshing content you can’t seem to find on other sites? This could either truly be a niche stock site, or a huge red flag!
Before you make an account or start downloading images, check the website for the following:
If the images seem highly professional, niche, and are offered for free, you might be dealing with a website that is stealing images. Reverse search their images to see whether they pop-up on other websites, and check licenses on those websites. If you find these are copyrighted, stay away from the site.
If there are trademarks in the images, they do warn that you might have to get consent from the owner of the trademark even though the image is not theirs if you want to use them commercially. This is something you must do no matter which website you get them from.
Some websites have certain types of content or information behind a barrier where you have to register to get access to full functionality. This isn’t bad in itself, but it depends on how it’s set up. There could be limitations or restrictions which can be limiting, particularly for a free website!
Depending on the type of license will depend on how you can use an image, and this is particularly important for your business. Legitimate free stock sites may still have images that can only be used with attribution or ‘unmodified’ this means they are perfectly acceptable for blog posts if you give the right credit, but not your website designs and branded social images.
Always check the licensing, and if in doubt, don’t use the image. It’s not worth it!
Now you’re armed with the knowledge you need to make the most of them, here are my favourite free stock sites that should help with photos for your health coaching business:
One of the most popular options out there, Pixabay, has a huge repository of free stock images that cover pretty much every industry and you’ll find lots of wellness, health, and sports-related images.
Their filters are among the best you’ll find, where you can choose between photos, graphics and illustrations which are particularly beneficial for sales pages, and infographics. Whether you want landscapes or portrait, or a particular colour palette that matches your branding, or a unique subject, Pixabay is pretty much a cut above the rest.
As an added bonus, they have the “safe search” option that will filter out images that are tagged as explicit. (I know, there’s explicit images everywhere!)
You can get all images without registering; there are no limitations, but you’ll need to check a captcha before you can proceed with downloading.
Pexels has a huge repository of photos that go well with health coaching businesses, and their licensing is simple and straightforward.
You don’t have to register, but you get some additional functionality if you do – like saving your download history so you can always check which images you used, add images to favourites, create your own collections, like images and use them later, and so on.
They have filters for orientation, size, and colour, as well as lots of suggested topics once you start searching which is great for inspiration!
Another plus for Pexels is that they have specific apps for iOS and Android, as well as a WordPress plugin to make adding images even faster to your website.
With over a million images, Unsplash has lots to offer for your health coaching business. You can browse photos, collections, even users, and filter photos by colour, orientation, and sort by either relevance or age.
Once you click on an image, you can scroll through related photos that appear below it. It has one of the best algorithms to find related images.
Their license is easy to understand and straightforward – you can use all photos for free, for commercial and non-commercial use, and you don’t need to ask permission or give credit, but they encourage you to mention the artist below the photo if possible!
One of the reasons I love unsplash is because the photos are generally taken and submitted by real aspiring photographers and you can get unique feels and aesthetics that are part of different sets. You can click on a specific user and see similar styles of photography which helps you stay consistent.
Started by a young photographer after his photos were rejected on other stock sites, Picjumbo has some of the highest quality images you can find, completely free. It’s not as well known so you are less likely to use the same images as another health coach!
Whenever you click on an image, you’ll see that it’s part of a collection of images centering around a specific topic.
There are premium subscription options that grant access to premium photos on the site, along with extra stock images that are sent each month to your email address, starting at $9.99 per month (or $4.92 if you take an annual subscription) but you can use the free version no problem.
Another one that’s not very heard of, but great for commercial use is a solo project by Martin Vorel, a photographer who offers all his images under the CC0 license, so you can use them however you like!
There are plenty of images in lots of categories, and you’ll find great shots of nature and locations (mostly from Europe and Asia). The only downside is that it’s more limited than other sites because there are fewer photographers on there.
All Skitterphoto images are licensed under CC0, meaning you can use, edit, and modify them any way you like! The photos are absolutely gorgeous, and you’ll find many gems that fit well into your health coach branding. The photos are from people’s own submissions so make sure to check if you’re concerned about the licensing of any by doing a reverse image search, but on the whole they are okay.
If you’re looking for new inspiration, browse their admin picks to see what’s popular with the staff, or see what you’ll find under the newest uploads. You can browse through various categories, sort by date, likes, views, downloads, and ranking too.
What to do when you can’t find free stock photos?
Sometimes, it seems that there is no right image at all and none of them really incorporate what your brand is about – the colours may be off or a detail that just isn’t you. In these cases, you need to source the images yourself! Whether it’s organising a photoshoot or taking photos at home, it can give a personal touch! You can even hire a photographer and do a bulk photo session in one go, so you cover all the specific images you need.
BUT, if you don’t have the time or working with a limited budget then you also have the choice of a few paid stock photo options, where you pay for the right to use and profit off of a photo.
Paid stock photos open access to millions of very high-quality photos for every possible occasion which are used a lot less so can make they are more unique.
The Top 3 Paid Stock Photo Sites:
iStock by Getty Images – Getty Images is known to be expensive, but their iStock gallery is full of high-quality images as well, and they come at a fraction of the price, with each image costing a specific amount of credits that you must purchase before you can get them. So it entirely depends on what you need the images for.
Adobe Stock – Since Adobe turned to monthly subscription, they instantly became a viable option for many entrepreneurs and small businesses. Now they have their own stock photo gallery where you can get 10 images for a competitive $29.99 per month.
Shutterstock – The most expensive among the three, the cheapest price starts at $49 per month (or $29 per month if you commit for a year), for which you’ll get 10 images per month, which is usually a good deal if you need an ongoing option for your blog or website.
Free stock sites have their pros and cons – you can get them for free, but many people use the same. Ultimately they have their place and are an awesome way to enhance your blog and social media posts without having to resort to expensive photoshoots each time!
If you need help with finding the right images that blend well with your brand, don’t hesitate to contact me! I’ll help you create a beautiful online presence for your brand that will be you – through and through.