Working at Room 214 in the design and digital marketing industry, I’ve always found stock photography to be a necessary evil. For one reason or another, there never seems to be much of a budget for great photography, especially when it comes to community management.
Community managers are tasked with creating great content for their communities with little to no budget for any creative, including photography. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen major brands posting and using photos that have just been slurped up off the web with no credit given to the photographer or artist who made the image.
Being an artist, designer and amatuer photographer I feel as though I should be more upset about this. However, my stance has always been, if you’re going to put your art or photography on the web during the age of social media, expect people to steal it, use it, share it and even modify it to make it their own. Don’t get pissed, just be happy somebody, somewhere, liked something you created enough to use it to represent their personality.
All that being said, there are some great FREE resources out there that you can use to create your next content calendar without pissing off the art community, being sued for copyright infringement or the need to dodge cease and desist letters.
FREE Stock Photography Resources:
397,620 photos. Registration required.
Stock.XCHNG is by far one of my favorite FREE stock photography resources. Aside from the great collection of free stock photos, there is a thriving community, advanced search options, a ton of tutorials and the ability to create lightboxes for multiple projects.
76,539 Photos. Registration required.
RGBstock is a surprisingly nice and simple stock photography site. The ads are minimal and the selection is solid. The community seems to be growing and their random section provides a cool Pinterest-like experience.
Yes, the name sounds a bit macabre but the term “morgue file” is used to describe a place to keep post production materials for reference. morgueFile has a pretty solid collection of free stock photos. One of the things I like best about morgueFile is that the photographs feel a bit more natural, as if your friend who is into photography took them. Which can be great for community management as we’ve seen that users respond better to more natural looking photographs.
Freerange’s collection of photography isn’t bad but their website is completely bogged down with ads. Granted, that’s how they pay some of their photographers but it’s still annoying. Don’t be fooled by the top row of images after you search, they’ll kick you out to shutterstock.
If none of these websites are working for you then stay tuned, there will be more to come in Part 2 of Free Photos for Community Managers.