The saying ‘you get what you pay for’ usually rings true for me in most aspects of life, as was the case with free stock photos. With marketing budgets usually stretched to the limit the last thing you want to do is shell out for images each time you send an email. So, how can you source good looking images without spending any cash on fees or royalties?

Those looking for ‘no strings attached’ free-image gratification usually hit up the ‘labelled for reuse’ filter in Google Images. While this is a fast way to scratch your free-image itch the results can leave a lot to be desired.

google images filter

If it’s decent, commercially free-to-use images that float your boat, you’ll want to strike up a relationship with some of the awesome free images sites below.

General Images

Looking for general photographic images? The resources below are an absolute treasure trove of beautiful shots. Like with any great bargain there’s a bit of digging involved on some of the sites, but all the images you’ll find there will make it well worth the effort. Some of the images may require attribution, something you can easily (and proudly!) pop into the footer of your email. – Strong, arty shots. Totally gratis! – Striking photography from assorted contributors – You love email. You love free images. How about this free images newsletter? Every bit as good as it sounds. – Creative commons licence search, good mixed bag. Beware of the sponsored images at the top of search results though. Great shots, with a newsletter to boot. – Like your images vintage? This is definitely your thing.

Data & Infographics

Infographics are a great way to turn dull data into an easily digestible visual feast. But if all you’ve got to hand is Microsoft ‘smart charts’ you can use these great infographic generators to stop your email becoming a PowerPoint presentation. – Free version available and free to non-profits – Free templates with premium options available – Free, simple, drag-and-drop, design software to create great infographics

Designer’s Toolbox

If you like getting your hands dirty and going belt ’n braces with Photoshop, there are a ton of image resource websites to help you realise your creative vision. – Great web and graphic design resources – Superb for repeating background patterns – Nice placeholder images while your looking for an attractive permanent solution – Good raw images for textures etc…