We’ve all been there – writing an article, adding something to our website or just needing a background photo for social media. If you’re not yet at the stage where you need your own bespoke picture library, what’s a girl to do when she needs images?!

Well, the first thing to know is DON’T USE GOOGLE IMAGES!! So many people tell me they “just search Google and it’s great” – please don’t do this. Google is not a photo library, all those images are copyrighted and if you get caught using them, you will be in a tonne of trouble!

Here’s my guide to stock photography for small businesses, covering free, paid and completely bespoke options – hold tight!

Bespoke stock photography

The most ideal option is to book a brand photographer, like me, to capture you & your business. You’ll have loads of input into the planning process, you can request specific images and you get to choose locations, colours and so on, not to mention you and your actual clients and staff appearing in the people shots.

You’ll get a digital library of high resolution images tailored to your brand, with a full commercial licence so you can use them anywhere, for anything (except reselling, usually) and if you have one of these sessions regularly, you’ll never scrabble around for a suitable photo for your business again.

Drop me an email if this sounds like something you’d like to talk about – it could revolutionise your marketing.

Not quite ready for that? Read on…

Stock photography you can buy

You might have heard of the big stock photography sites – Getty, Shutterstock and so on – but I’m here to help you find more unusual ones than that.

First up, I’d suggest Etsy. It’s surprisingly full of amazing images at very reasonable prices, from some very talented photographers.

My own stock library Studio 19 Stock lives there (updates on their way soon), I love One Purl Row for bright, floral gorgeousness, and I also highly recommend Lila Loves and The White Space Co for mockups.

More general stock photos can be found on Creative Market.

And if you’re looking for sets of modern, edgy and specific photography, then I’d massively recommend Death to Stock.

Free stock photography sites

So you’re just starting out and you really need a free photo? Then here are my favourites – if you can credit the photographer, it’s a really nice touch. These are all (at time of writing) free for both personal and commercial use – please check the terms & conditions before using!




I’d finish by saying there’s nothing quite like having your very own stock library, customised to your business – but I hope these help you in the meantime! Let me know your thoughts in the comments or at hello@carlawatkins.com.