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Tech Talk

Every site needs...


Updated for 2020

One of the most important aspects of your website is visual appeal. If your site is mostly text, your visitors won’t likely stay around long enough for you to get your message across. Remember the old Sears Wish Book, and how you felt when it showed up. That feeling is what your visitors should experience when they visit your site.  If you’ve never heard of the Sears Wish Book, you should Google it.

how? where?

Sourcing it

You could always hire a photographer, but maybe you’re on a budget, and can’t afford that. You could take your own photographs if you feel you’ve got that talent. Or you could use stock photography. In this post we’ll explore that last option. There are many sites out there that provide photography to suit even the most modest budget. It’s worth your time to look into these, as they have the potential to really improve your site.

First up...

I have to say that this is one of my favourite resources. The quality of the photography is really top shelf. And you can’t beat the price – it’s free. You don’t have to credit the photographer but it is appreciated when you do. Unsplash organizes their photography into categories if you just want to browse around and see what’s there. They also have a Search feature which can speed things up.


Burst is another free service brought to you by the folks at Shopify. Photos are again organized by category and collections, with a search interface.  This service was designed to help Shopify store owners, so if your site’s main focus is selling online, this will be an invaluable resource.

More photos...

Pexels is yet another service offering free stock photos for both commercial and non-commercial use. The first thing that caught my eye on this site was video. Have you considered having a background video playing on your homepage? You can do that fairly easily, and now you can even source video to use. Pexels covers their costs by including “sponsored images” which will link to paid services such as Adobe Stock, so be aware of what you are clicking on.

don't forget...

I must confess that I wasn’t aware of Pikwizard until just recently. They contacted me to let me know about their service, and I’m glad they did. The quality of the imagery available is outstanding. In browsing through some of the categories and images, I am inspired to make some changes to this site. Along with the many free images, Pikwizard also features premium images which are easily identified by a tag in the upper left corner. If you click on a premium image you will be redirected to the source for that image which will have a cost associated with it. Pikwizard is well worth a look.

By this point you may be starting to see a recurring trend. All of these services have been free. Cost doesn’t need to be a factor when you are trying to improve your site with photography. I will say this though, browsing through all of the available offerings does take some time. The search features on these sites will help you speed up the task of finding appropriate images. In a future post, I’ll talk more about working with the photos you find, including image editing tools, and some techniques you can use, so stay tuned…


Coverr has been around for a while and is a fabulous resource when you want to add video backgrounds to your site. I’ve used these in a few projects, including this site, and the quality is great. Once again… free.

Still no luck?

Paid services

Even with all of the resources noted here, you may not be able to find what you’re looking for. Don’t give up just yet. There’s an ocean full of paid services for photography that you can use as well. I’ve listed just a few sources here. Go ahead and click any of the logos to be brought to their site. These services will usually involve either buying a number of credits up front which can be spent on images, or a subscription to the service. Depending on your situation, you will need to choose what’s best. You need to be aware that one credit doesn’t necessarily mean one photo. Based on the size of the image  you want to use on your site (in pixels) you may be paying a premium. Also be aware of the licensing associated with each image when you are using paid services. It can vary from image to image.

If all that sounds like way too much to deal with, you can always contact (insert shameless self-promo here) your trusty web developer and let them deal with it. This is after all, what they do. And they tend to be a bit stubborn and finicky, so just like Goldilocks they won’t be happy until it’s “just right”.

That’s all for this post. More to come.