Sure, searching through some of the best free stock images websites is the best option if you don’t have the time, and of course, money to hire a professional designer or photographer for your website/blog/or marketing needs. That being said, we totally agree that royalty free images free of charge can either be cheesy or totally charming. That means it all depends on how you use them!

You choose the wrong stock image, you’re doomed. So how do you choose the ‘right’ image that translates your end-goal? Know the necessary Do’s and Don’ts – some have to do with the visual interest, some have to do with the ROI – but all are important.

Read on before you sit and surf free stock images websites!

The Do’s

Take enough time – Don’t just go and download the very first image in the free stock image website. Take time to explore many pages, look through all categories, use related keywords or different keyword combinations.

Consider branding style – Choose images that are capable of reinforcing brand value. For instance, are you an online store who prides themselves on all things handmade? Look for images that convey your story.

See what others are downloading – Most of the free stock images websites have a MOST DOWNLOADED’ section. Just explore it. It might lead you to some amazing images – you never know!

 Create your own images – Think you can digitally recreate what you have in your mind? Do it! With many image creating tools, you can bring out a better version. You don’t have to completely ditch the stock images – download and give them a personal touch just in case your mission ‘I’m gonna create my own image’ fails.

The DONT’s

Don’t fall for cliché – No ‘Men in Black’ carrying suitcases or pointing to imaginary things, please. It not only looks unnatural but doesn’t help you connect or engage with your target audiences. Don’t download and use such images unless you want your business or brand to look alienated.

3Ds are thing of the past – We’ve all come across that 3D stick-figure men at a business meeting and many other rotating 3D icons. But the fact is that we’re living in the era of flat design, parallax scrolling, and ‘less is more’ themes. Just don’t get stick in the 2000s.

Literal concepts aren’t always good – Yes, you don’t have to be literal every time you think about a new marketing idea. Sometimes, an abstract concept can communicate the themes more effectively. Not to mention, its impact on the brand.

Say ‘No’ to low-resolution images – Pixelated and blurry images won’t do any good. Instead, they will increase the bounce rate of your website and blogs. It is always good to go with crisp and sharp high-resolution images which you can snip or resize as needed.

Avoid unrelatable images – So, you come across a great picture while venturing around free stock images websites. But it is in no way relating to the point – time to close that tab and search for another image. Your website visitors or email marketing audience will thank you!

To sum it up, there are no hard and fast rules in choosing free stock images from websites. Because design and photography are subjective. But generally speaking, one can avoid design disasters by following the ‘DO’s and ‘DONT’s mentioned above.