Working with Stock Photos for Instagram is an art form as well as a well-thought strategy. First, you need to find the best source for stock photos. Then, you need to browse by keywords among dozens of pictures to find your favourite – with just the right angles and the spot-on vibe. Next, you need to infuse it with your brand’s secret sauce – that is to say with your visual identity. Only after you’ve performed all these steps, you can upload it to Instagram. Or schedule it with Preppr.
But to do all that, you need to give the proper amount of attention to step 1: finding the best source for stock photos for Instagram. Now here is where it gets tricky. Maybe you have a plump budget and you don’t mind spending a few dimes (or big bucks) on royalties. But perhaps your budget is on the skinnier side, and you’d instead go with free stock photos, but hey, you’re not willing to compromise on quality. No matter the case, we’ve got you! We’ve snooped around as usual and discovered the most stunning, versatile and high-quality stock photos for Instagram.
Why use Stock Photos for Instagram
We know your schedule is crazy and, although you want to always have “I shot it myself” photos, sometimes the situation doesn’t allow it. Thus, stock photos provide an always-ready availability for you to post at any time. That comes with greater flexibility and the ability to post more often.
Also, stock photos allow you to be as creative as you want. You can work your magic by editing them or combining different elements from different pictures (Photoshop, baby!) to create new, intriguing images. So don’t make the mistake of crossing out stock photos from your strategy. Instead, sprinkle them across your calendar to help you build a cohesive plan (and a successful one).
Stunning Free Stock Photos Sites
Unsplash: Curated Beautiful Photography
The Stock Photos on Unsplash are more than photos and definitely stir away from the definition of “stock”. The website gathers plenty of beautiful photography taken by skilled photographers from all over the world. We won’t lie, they are among our favourites and go to stock photos for our Instagram as well.
Finding photos on Unsplash is easy with the “search” tool and also with the “collection” feature, which clusters photos by themes. Selecting your favourite one won’t be easy, simply because all the photos are gorgeous. But you’ll get there, for sure.
Another simple way to find photos on Unsplash is by using Preppr. Thanks to the integration with Unsplash, Preppr users can create and schedule posts with photos from the Unsplash. It’s mighty simple. Start to create a new post, as usual. Click on “Add media” and then select “Unsplash” to perform a keyword search and find the photo that suits you best.
Oh, not to forget. Using Unsplash photos comes with no strings attached. Still, it’s always nice to mention the photographer who went through all the trouble of taking it.
Gratisography: Unconventional photos for eccentric feeds
Welcome to a world of quirky, fun and unusual photos. On Gratisography, you might find stock photos, but there’s nothing “stock” about these images. The artist behind Gratisography is photographer and designer Ryan McGuire who nurtures a creative community of artists that created a variety of categories and collections. As you can imagine, the photos aren’t countless, but when they are so out-of-this-world who’s counting?
If you’re running an Instagram account that is not afraid of being loud and bold, then Gratisography is the place for you. No smiling, happy people working together in an office setting, but wildly creative and unusual people in outlandish situations. Sure, you’ll also find some more laidback photos here, don’t worry, but the “quirky” steal the show.
In our opinion, the best way to look for content on Gratisography is by searching the “Collections” and “Categories”. Since the photos are in limited numbers, looking for too specific keywords with the “search” tool might end up in frustration, and it would definitely be a shame.
As for commercial rights, you can do with the pictures anything you can think of, except, you know, sell them to other stock photos sites.
Pikwizard: Your next-door neighbour in terms of stock photos
If you’ve ever lived next to an incredibly charming neighbour who was also extremely natural and approachable, then you’ll get what we’re saying. Pikwizard is indeed a wizard-website, managing to offer stock photos that are genuine, natural and high-quality.
This is the website to go if you’re looking to create a natural Instagram feed aesthetics, with natural-looking people. Pikwizard also excels at photos from urban scenery and day-to-day situations, no matter how common or uncommon. The best part about Pikwizard is that it is continuously updated with photos that follow current trends.
To quickly find the photo you’re looking for, you can use the “search” tool. Another option is to browse the categories’ tabs meant to narrow down the hundreds of photos to a single theme.
You are free to use Pikwizard photos for commercial use, under two types of license. However, to fully understand the exceptions, we suggest you read their entire Standard User License Agreement.
LibreShot: A one-man show for coherent aesthetics
Unlike other free stock photos websites out there, LibreShot is the result of the work of a single superhero photographer: Martin Vorel. His colour palette definitely stands out as a great reason to give his stock photos site a try. From mystical natural sceneries to wildlife, architecture, travel and common-day happenings, LibreShot covers an impressive range of subjects.
What makes LibraShot stand out is the realistic light in photos which gives you the feeling of “no filter”. This website can work wonders for certain types of aesthetics and, under the wand of a little bit of editing be transformed into more personal styles.
If you’re wondering how come the artist is giving away his photos for free, without any watermark and any claim at attribution, is because he earns through displaying ads. However, this shouldn’t be a nuisance for you, in any way.
Surprising Stock Photos Sources with Royalties
Death to Stock: A beautiful manifesto
Now this stock photos website is entirely something else. As the name “Death to Stock” suggests, it proposes a counter-current that puts a spin on how stock photos are perceived. You’ll get a feel about how edgy Death to Stock is immediately when land on their home page. With a clean-cut layout, bold colours, minimalist design and creative copy, the website clearly makes a statement.
Death to Stock describes itself as an “Artist Owned Co-op”, with the mission of making the internet beautiful. With this goal in mind, they’re eager to offer creative stock photos and videos to businesses who’re not afraid to stand out. In return, they only ask for $15 per month for unlimited downloads. All the money goes to support the artists in the co-op to enhance and expand their creativity. Oh, and another cool thing is that premium subscribers get to vote on what artistic visuals will be included in the library.
If you’re looking to create an authentic brand story with stock photos for Instagram, Death to Stock backs you up with curated visuals that do speak a thousand words.
Stocksy: The world of photography unleashed
Artsy, funky, witty, disruptive, classical, romantic and any stock photos themes you can think of, without any filters, that’s what you should expect on Stocksy. Excuse our use of the word “stock”, because Stocksy might have it in its name, but not in its creative output. In fact, they even present themselves as “art forward”. Yep, they are.
What’s more, the site itself is a pleasure to navigate, with well-thought categories and an extremely helpful search bar. Photo licenses vary in price depending on the size you need, and the duration you plan to use it for. To use Stocksy at the whole of its ability, you’ll need to sign up with an account. Usually, small photos, which should be high-quality enough for Instagram, are around $15. Even though the price might be a bit high, the images are definitely worth every penny.
Not to forget, Stocksy also has video content to mix things up on Instagram feed and, why not, on your Stories channel as well.
Start using Stock Photos for Instagram
We hope we’ve shattered any prejudices you might have had about stock photos. No, stock photos don’t have to be dull and cheesy and cookie-cutter. Instead, the stock photos sites we’ve shared with you are all fresh, bold and ready to enter your Instagram feed with a splash. Get started by trying Unsplash directly from your Preppr account. And, in case you don’t have a Preppr account, lucky for you, we have a free-trial introductory offer. Now, unleash your creativity.