This post is going to be in the first part about how to find images and in the second how to properly optimise them for your website.  Feel free to skip to the section you need!

Finding Images
Image Optimisation
Licensing

Finding Images


Finding great looking (and not over-used) images for your website can be a real challenge.  We all see the same images used time and time again so how can you make sure you’re using the right images for your site?

The first option is to commission a photographer to come and take some pictures of you at work and any items that might be relevant for your business.  You can see some examples here:

https://saritajairath.com/

Or here:

https://thestrengthscoach.com/

That might not be practical when you’re just starting out so the next option is to source some images from online stock image companies.  There are many free resources but as with anything that’s free you won’t have the same amount of choice and you might not find anything suitable that you haven’t seen on 101 other websites.  There also seems to be a bit of a bias towards imagery from mainland Europe which can look a little out of place.

Free image resources include:

Pixabay.com

Pexels.com

unsplash.com

Picjumbo.com

Libreshot.com

Isorepublic.com

picnoi.com

rawpixel.com

splitshire.com

foodiesfeed.com

gratisography.com

kaboompics.com

fancycrave.com

stockphotos.io

lifeofpix.com

stockvault.net

jaymantri.com

travelcoffeebook.com

picography.co

goodfreephotos.com

4freephotos.com

bajstock.com

bigfoto.com

freeimages.co.uk

deathtothestockphoto.com

freenaturestock.com

pikwizard.com

focusfitness.net/stock-photos

burst

 

You will find that a lot of these sites have the same images as photographers want to share their work in as many places as possible.  Always make sure you check the licensing small print (more of that later).

If you’re happy to splash out a little bit there are image resources where you can pay either per picture or for a batch in one go.  These include:

Shutterstock.com

Fotolia.com

Dreamstime.com

Gettyimages.com

iStockPhoto.com

Stocksys.com

Crestock.com

https://123rf.com

depositphotos.com

Do not assume these sites include a license for unlimited use (or even digital use).  Make sure you check the small print on every image you want to use. Companies can and do sue small businesses and individuals for incorrect image use.

To use images freely they must have a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means:

  •          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.

In the past we’ve come across an AppSumo offer for Deposit Photos which gave us 100 images for £36.  It’s well worth keeping an eye out for similar offers.

Image Optimisation


When you’ve chosen your image(s), you’ll have the option to download it in various sizes.  If you are going to be using your images for print as well as digital marketing, you will need to download a version that is at least 300dpi.  This is only for print.  A digital copy should be around 72-dpi and no more than 1920px wide.

You will hear a lot of talk about the “size” of an image.  This can mean two things: the physical dimensions or the file size.  To further confuse matters an image can have the same physical dimensions but multiple file sizes depending on the format (jpeg, png etc.).

The absolute maximum physical dimensions of a web image should be 1920px wide and, ideally, a file size of no more than 150kb.  Many people have been caught up thinking bigger is better but a web page consisting of multiple images all more than 1mb is a disaster for loading speed.

Unfortunately, the incredible cameras we all now have at our fingertips create stunning, but huge, images.  If you plan to use pictures you have taken on your website, they will have to be re-sized.

There are lots of websites that will resize images for you, or you can use something like Photoshop or Canva.  If you do not need a transparent background on the image, it is better to save it as a jpeg than a png and this is a more compressed format.

Resizing and properly naming images before they are uploaded to your website will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run.

The following image gives rough sizes for a full desktop screen resolution layout:

Licensing


You will see the words ‘Royalty free’ when looking at the spec of an image.  This simply means that you are free to use your download however you like and as many times as you like (almost).

The rules around usage can seem quite complex, but the main thing to remember is that you can’t use it for re-sale.  To expand on this point without writing out the bible of the licensing agreement – resale meaning you’ve bought the image and then stick it on something you plan to sell.  So, you can’t print it on a t-shirt you sell or use it in a digital design template you sell or share. You can use it for promotion and marketing purposes but not on anything where money changes hands.

The best thing to do is choose your image / video / illustration first and think how you want use it.

There is still a ‘but’. You may need to buy a licence if you want to share or sell your download.  Once you know how you plan to use your chosen item you can purchase the correct licence for it. For extra confusion these are described differently on the various website – extended license, rights managed, editorial etc. The type of license you purchase will give you different rights uses varying from allowing you to use it on a physical product that you plan to sell, to printing it hundreds of thousands of times. And again, these usage rights and licenses vary for each website and pricing structure.