Graphic Design Tools

Photo Resources for Design

Photo choices can make or break your design.  The right photo can convey your message perfectly.  The wrong photo can distract or confuse the person looking at your image.  It can be tempting to just Google an image and pick something from the search results, but there are photographers that use the sale of stock photography to make a living.  It’s not only unethical to use photography that’s meant be sold, but it can land you in a copyright infringement situation with that photographer or their representatives. Plain and simple: Don’t do it!

Thankfully, there are a few economical and a few free photography sites to make sure you’re getting the best quality image you need and doing it properly, both legally and in respect to the photographer.  Here are a few great options that I’ve used myself. (Please be sure to read each resource’s terms of use policy.  They vary from site to site and I’m not able to articulate all of each’s details here.)

Paid Stock Photography:

Screenshot 2015-10-21 23.52.24This library has 28 million photos, videos and vector images.  I have ‘almost’ always can find what I’m looking for or get the inspiration I’m looking for.  The only time I can’t find what I’m looking for out of 28 million pieces is when I have something REALLY specific in mind, and often then I can find 2 or 3 images that I need and can compile what I’m looking for. offers free photos from their library every once in a while, and are currently offering a 70 image / 14-day trial.  Click here to try them out and get some free photos for 14 days. (plus we get a nice ‘thank you’ from Big Stock if you try them out for free.)

Free Photos: is free, do whatever you’d like with the photography.  In their own words:

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.

Photo by:  Stefanus Martanto Setyo HusodoI would recommend you subscribe to their email newsletter and get 10 new images every 10 days, or search on their website for the images you’re looking for.  Unsplash contributors have some common threads like landscapes and workspace images that give a hipster feel.

Whether the image is intended to be featured or intended as a background image for everything from conference posters to website backgrounds, is my go-to.


Have a Stock Photography resource that you love? Share it in the comments below!

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By Adam McLaughlin

Adam loves helping churches and businesses discover marketing ideas that are consistent with their values, loves coke slurpees from 7-11 and would love to speak at your conference or event!

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