Colour illustration of a prawn

When I got involved in producing a book project recently (see my blog’s about this here and here) I thoroughly enjoyed creating some collage illustrations. During the process I revisited some favourite stock libraries for images and even discovered a new one!

There are heaps of stock libraries, but I like the following ones for their ease of use, great images and user-friendly licensing conditions. Always, always, always check out the licensing info before using – you don’t want to inadvertently find yourself in hot water!

My top picks for free sites are:

  • Rawpixel This is my new discovery and includes some “fantastic public domain and vintage design resources with a CCO Licence”
    CCO = Creative Commons licence (see explanation below!)

  • Unsplash for some beautiful images “powered by creators everywhere”

  • Pixabay

  • Pexels


website page showing a stock photograph of a Marae roof in front of a blue sky

And great paid sites include:

Painting of older woman's face with black background.

Detail of Mme. François Buloz (Christine Blaze) (1879) by John Singer Sargent from Raw Pixel.

Don’t get caught out

As mentioned, different sites have different licensing requirements always check the license to make sure your intended use of the image is covered.

  • Many sites like unsplash encourage the use of photo credits to the contributors.
  • The Creative Commons licence: “enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright- or database-protected content to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain”.
  • You don’t get exclusive use of stock photography so some popular images can get used extensively. Stock images are great but if you need unique images for your business hiring a professional photographer can be a great investment.

I hope these tips help.

google search page

A popular images from unsplash that crops o=up in lots of places.