Creating high impact marketing materials for your real estate business – both for online and offline use – requires high quality photos. Unless you are a professional photographer as well, with plenty of time at hand, while running your real estate business, you’ll have to resort to using pictures acquired from stock photo websites. There are both free and pay options, but in either case, you have to make sure that the licensing allows royalty free, commercial usage, preferably with modification allowed as well.
There are benefits for buying stock photos for a fee vs. free photos, most notably that your marketing piece may look very much like someone else’s when using easily available, free photos but with the ever growing number of free stock photo sites and millions of pictures that can be downloaded and used for free, it is now possible to create unique marketing materials. Just make sure you don’t pick the most popular pictures from the top of the search results, when searching these sites. Spend an extra few minutes of browsing through the vast amount of photos available for free and you’ll sure find some that fits your needs while maintaining uniqueness. You can also get creative with you search terms: rather than searching for “real estate”, “house” and other trivial keywords, you may try “door”, “kids playing”, “window”, “kitchen” and other more remotely related terms.
The following list shows are top 5 favorite stock photo websites with millions of free photos and free videos:
Our number one go-to site when searching for free stock photos is Unsplash.com for sure. Both their site and also their images are very high quality and their inventory has grown significantly in the last year or so, making the search for unique images much easier.
Example search on Unsplash.com: Searching for the term “kitchen” results in over 2,700 high-quaility photos.
Pixabay.com is another one of our long time favorites with over 1.5 million royalty free stock photos and videos.
Example search on Pixabay.com: Searching for the term “kitchen” returns 7,623 free images.
Pexels.com searches multiple free stock photo site from one interface, acting as a meta search engine for free pictures. It provides access to free stock photos and free videos as well. We like how fast and responsive their website is – at least at the time of writing this article – which makes searching for the perfect free picture very convenient.
Example search on Pexels.com: Searching for the term “kitchen” returns 205 free images.
Reshot.com has unique, non-stocky images which is great to make your real estate marketing designs stand out. Just make sure you are not picking from their “Trending” section 🙂
Morguefile.com is another, less known (hence more unquie) source for free photos. They also cross link to for-fee stock photo and stock footage sites, should you look for videos and vector illustrations, so please note that only their photo section has free items, the videos and vector illustration link to 3rd party sites.
Example search on Morguefile.com: The site don’t show the number of matching images for a search query but it looks like the term “kitchen” yields several hundreds.
A few important notes: Always make sure that the licensing allows commercial use and check whether you can modify the picture and if there is a requirement for giving credit to the photographer. You can learn more about licensing on the Creative Common website. It’s also important to note, that most of these free stock photo sites are usually cross-linking to other pay sites, like Shutterstock for additional and related photo inventory. Those photos should be clearly marked, but don’t get surprised if all of the sudden you see pricing associated with photos, while expecting free downloads. You just clicked through on one of the advertisings.