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The role of photos in your online presence
Böde Kriszta

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about a webshop, a presentation page, a blog or a landing page, you need to have a qualified content in addition to the texts.


First of all, because photos and pictures help to process and annotate textual information and even to remember it. We live in a world where users spend much more time looking at pictures and videos than reading text. Therefore, visuality is of paramount importance.

The use of photos diversifies your online presence and evokes emotions from the visitor. The user experience changes in a positive direction because the human brain can process images much faster than text. That’s why it’s much more effective to get your message across when you see beautiful, high-quality images alongside the text!

Showing the product or service for sale, or the contractor himself in the pictures, clearly increases the confidence of the interested party. Would you prefer to shop on a site where there is no photo of the product? I am sure you would not. Or how much more pleasant it is to go to a business meeting with your new accountant or financial adviser without having seen photos of him on his website, isn’t it?

In this article, I look at:

  • Where can you find free photos online and what to look out for?
  • Why are your own photos better than stock photos?
  • What quality of photo material is needed for a website and why should you use the services of a professional photographer?
  • I recommend 10+1 sites where you can download photos!

Where can you find free photos online and what to look out for?

It’s very important to know that you can download almost any photo from the internet, but it may not be legal to use it on your own website. Copyright also applies to any content you find on the web, whether it is text, graphics or photos. This means that you can only use them with the author’s permission: you can give it for a fee or ask to be credited to the original source and the person who took the photo.

Of course, there are now countless sites where you can download photos legally. Some of these are subscription-based, so you can download a huge number of high-quality photos for a monthly fee. Others, however, are free. The latter include free stock photo sites, where most images are CC0 licensed. This means that you can use the image for commercial purposes without asking for permission.

As everyone is financially responsible for the images they publish on their website, advertisements or social media platforms, you should take great care with the photos you choose to use! Always, always, before you download a photo, make sure you know exactly what license it is under! You can avoid a lot of subsequent inconvenience and fines by taking this prudent step.

I recommend you consider the following questions when using free images:

  • What emotions does the photo evoke and what message does it convey?
  • Does it fit the brand you represent?
  • Does it fit with your business identity and website design?
  • Does the picture reflect reality, is it believable?

Why are your own photos better than stock photos?

Now that we know what to look out for when using stock photos, it’s time to look at the disadvantages of using them.

Particular or specific industry

If you offer a specialised service such as sheet metal working or machining, you will most certainly not find a picture that accurately shows the benefits of your service. In this case, there is no other option than to use photos taken on your own premises, with your own machines and employees.

Using doctored photos

On the free download pages, a single term is matched thousands of times. Frightened by the sheer volume of images, many people choose a photo from the first page to complete the task quickly. But this is not a good idea! You could easily find the same photo on a thousand other pages. Maybe even your competitor’s.

You don’t do this! Never choose a photo from the first pages!

Stock photo blindness

You’ve probably heard of advertising blindness. It’s the phenomenon where our brains are so used to advertisements and commercials that we automatically skip them. Stock photo blindness is exactly like that: we recognise the same clichéd images, the same settings we’ve seen many times before: the same hand-held photos, or the same employees in pressed shirts, suits, working hard, all in their 30s…

Why is it always better to use your own photo?

  • You do not have and will never have copyright problems.
  • It gives us confidence: our own photos show our human side, our fallibility, our imperfection. That’s how people know it’s real, not a gloss.
  • Your own photo is unique and unrepeatable

What quality of photo material is needed for a website and why hire a professional photographer?

According to various surveys, you have less than a second or two to convince your visitors to stay and browse your website. With this in mind, I think it’s obvious to you that using poor quality photos is not going to help them stay. Sure enough, they stay longer without thinking. Ergo, the visitor becomes neither interested nor a customer.

So use only high-quality photos for your online presence!

Don’t use images because you read everywhere that visuals are the most important thing these days. Have a purpose for the photos: to complement and explain the text. Help understanding and recall. If the images don’t match the text, the reader will get confused and leave your website.

Therefore, choose photos that always match the text.

Why work with a professional photographer?

The image of a company depends to a large extent on the material published about it. If your business appears on the web or on social media with poor quality, discredited, generic stock photos, its image will be just as bad and discredited.

So you’re doing your company’s best by having high quality and unique photos representing it in the online space.

You can guarantee uniqueness by having the images taken at your office, site or factory. Of the assets, employees and products that belong to your business.

The quality will be guaranteed by the photographer himself, because this is his profession, his vocation and he has many years of experience in photography.

Finally, I would like to share with you how I chose a photographer for my company project. For months I had been following a photographer girl whose specialization was family photography. I loved so much the mood of her photos, the spontaneity, the message that came out of her photos, that I definitely wanted to work with her. And I don’t regret it: it was a wonderful experience, great pictures, great photos!

A last tip, just for you

Let me tell you that size really does matter!

Always optimize the images you use for the size of the display, and use for an even smaller size.

10+1 sites to download photos from


My personal favourite, where you can find some very unique pictures! There are more than 3 million pictures up there, which you can download in different sizes. The photos are pre-themed, and the search function is very good.


There are lots of wonderful images on the portal, which are very well categorized. Interestingly, you can also find great videos here!


What makes it special is that you can download photos, illustrations and vector images, videos, music tracks and even sound effects from a single page.


A dynamically growing, highly themed photo collection, where you can edit images on the spot using Canva’s image editor. Fast and convenient! A good number of photos can be downloaded with the free account.


You’ll find everything you need here! Photos, vector files, psd source files, icons, illustrations and even fonts are waiting for you.

There is also a subscription part, which allows unlimited downloads.

I think the categorization is very good, and the search engine is excellent! You can filter a search by license, colour, layout, style. You can set whether you want to see images, vector graphics, psd source files or icons.


In case you need vector graphics, drawings, icons, I recommend this site. All items are free to use and modify.


All photos are CC0 licensed, which means that they can be used for commercial purposes without any special permission.


You can search through the photos in a beautiful, clean interface. The selection is particularly strong in images of nature, people, buildings and atmospheres. Most of the images are free of charge.


You can also find quite interesting pictures. Well themed, where clicking on the image below will display images with similar themes, moods and colours. This is a huge help!


The best place to find vintage images. In the top right corner of the free images you will see the „0” icon, a CC0 symbol. On the right side of the images you can find the size of the photo, the camera details and even the colour palette of the image!


All images here are licensed under CC0. The categorisation is really good, and I especially like the fact that the name of the creator is clearly indicated at the bottom of the images. If you click on an image, it displays some related images underneath: I found some quite interesting pairings.

Finally, two tips for finding free photos

You can also use google to search for free images, using the following option:

Tools – Rights of use – Commercial and other licences

Below the pictures you will always find the „Authorization data”, which I strongly recommend you to check thoroughly!

There is a really detailed blog post in Canva, which shows 73 stock photo sites, sorted alphabetically.


Dare to be different!

Kriszta from NovArt Stúdió

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Kriszta Böde

Creativity has always been part of my life. It's true, before I became a webdesigner took a roundabout way, I previously worked as a business manager for many years.

My strengths are my ability to think in a complete system, to identify problems quickly and deal with them effectively.

I believe that with due diligence and dedication we will find the best possible solution in every case!

Let's work together!