How to Find High-Quality Stock Images in the UK (and How to Use Them Properly)

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1116332: Kensington Canine Society Show at Crystal Palace.

If you’re looking for stock images in the UK, there’s no need to look any further. You’re in the right place to find just what you need.

Stock images are a fantastic way to give your designs pop. They can also help you build trust with your visitors. If you publish digital content, however, it’s vital that you understand the rules of image licensing.

In this blog post, we’ll go over how to find high-quality stock images in the UK and how to use them properly on your site. Keep reading to learn how to find high-quality stock images in the UK.

It’s a Visual World

No doubt about it, publications perform better with images. Most people are visual learners.

In other words, they respond better to visual cues. In fact, there’s a whole science behind how colours affect consumers.

Nothing will turn off readers faster than a massive chunk of unbroken text. Many online publishers use images to break up text for this reason.

Breaks in the text make it easier to read. They also make content more engaging.

Understanding Copyright Rules

As a digital publisher, you must understand image copyright rules. You may operate a blog. Alternatively, you may need to create a presentation.

Otherwise, you might write some other form of publication or even need to make a poster. In all these instances, you most likely need images to support the content.

It’s important to understand that just because images are free to view doesn’t mean that they’re free to use. Even online photos without credits often have some form of copyright protection. Also, even if you own a small business, you must still comply with image copyright laws.

UK Copyright Laws

According to United Kingdom copyright law, you can quote peoples’ images. However, those images must have relevance to your critique or discussion.

In other words, you can’t use images just for decoration. Also, you can’t use more images than what’s needed for your use.

You must also comply with the “fair dealing” rule. This rule means that your use of the image must not impact the market for the original. For instance, you might use a cropped version of the image or a lower resolution one.

You must also acknowledge the rights of the person who created the image. Furthermore, you must publish an image caption that states the license terms or copyright statement for the image.

Tricky Photo Situations

Copyright laws do not distinguish whether you’ve infringed on an artist’s rights accidentally. In some cases, even pictures that you take yourself may cause copyright problems. For instance, you might take a picture of an old painting or panorama, which could land you in trouble in certain situations.

Eventually, artist copyrights expire. They come to an end 70 years after the passing of the artist.

However, if you take a picture of their painting in a gallery, you may still run into trouble. The gallery may not even make exceptions for educational use.

Alternatively, you could run into trouble if you take pictures in certain regions. For instance, France, Italy, and Greece all have restrictions on the reproduction of copyrighted material.

Business-Related Images

Trademarked logos can also prove problematic. Companies spend a lot of money protecting images that represent their brand.

In some cases, you can use company logos for educational purposes. However, these kinds of images aren’t allowed to leave classroom settings. In other words, you most likely can’t use a company logo online.

You could get around this circumstance if you contacted the company and received permission to use their logo. They might allow you to do so for educational material, but it’s highly unlikely that you can use a business logo for any type of commercial purpose.

For these reasons and others, many online publishers turn to stock photography.

What Is Stock Photography?

Online marketers bypass these kinds of issues by sourcing images directly from companies that specialise in providing images for blog posts and other similar uses. Today, stock photography is a mainstay in digital marketing. It’s become particularly popular over the last 10 years.

The internet has changed the way that businesses access audiences. As a result, there’s been a marked increased demand for high-quality images for online publication.

How Stock Photography Works

In short, stock photography is an industry that creates and sells images. These images may include pictures, illustrations or video content. You can purchase these images with different licensing models.

With stock photography, you’d typically pay a fee for the rights to legally use stock photos. You can download the images instantly. You can then incorporate those images into your marketing or personal projects.

Once you’ve paid for a stock image, the company will split the fee with the artist who captured or created the image. In this way, stock image companies protect the interests of the artists and photographers.

Best Places to Find Stock Images in the UK

You can find thousands of great stock images online for your projects and websites. A few sites, however, offer more than others.

The following sites have stunning stock images for commercial use or personal publication. Still, they may have some restrictions. You’ll need to visit each site to find out exactly how you can use them.

In general, stock photography sites don’t allow you to use images of identifiable people. They also don’t allow you to use trademarked products or privately owned property for your projects. Remember, our panoramic picture from earlier, in some instances, these limitations also include famous landmarks.

The following are a few great sites for finding stock images for your websites or projects in the UK.

1. Adobe

Adobe is well known for its massive library of premium stock photography. The company offers photos that have a consistently high standard of quality. The company also has a reputation for fairly paying its contributors.

There are many filters available on the Adobe website that you can use to find the right photo. You can even upload a photo to find similar images. Most images on the Adobe website fall under the company’s standard licensing terms.

2. Unsplash

Unsplash offers a massive collection of beautiful photos taken by skilled photographers. Publishers have used Unsplash to create remarkable online works.

Still, Unsplash has fewer images compared to other sources. Yet, the site still offers high-quality images.

You might find just the right image with the site’s fast search feature. You can also find a great image by browsing through Unsplash collections.

You can even make your own collections after creating a free online account. As an aside, an Unsplash account is a useful tool for helping you to manage projects.

3. Pixabay

You can find millions of stock photos on Pixabay. The site also stocks illustrations and graphics. You can even find a few good videos on the site.

Pixabay has a considerably strong selection of landscape photography. You can also browse the Editor’s Choice selections if you’re not sure of what you need.

You must complete a Captcha to download each image on Pixabay. However, you can bypass this security feature by registering for a free account.

The quality of Pixabay images isn’t as high as that of Unsplash and Adobe. However, Pixabay is a good fallback resource if you can’t find what you’re looking for on other stock photography sites. Sometimes, you may get lucky and find just what you need.

4. Gratisography

Gratisography is a great source if you’re looking for unusual stock photography. The site is stocked by photographer Ryan Maguire. If you’re looking for quirky and interesting, you’ll find it at Gratisography.

The website offers plenty of edgy and brilliant images. You won’t find pictures that look like they belong in the weekend circular here. Its photos are ideal if you want to get away from cookie-cutter images.

The site doesn’t have as many images as the other stock photography providers on our list. However, the creativity of the images on Gratisography makes up for its lack of volume.

5. Pexels

Anyone can upload photos to Pexels. Site curators will then pick out the best shots. They’ll add those pics to a searchable collection of public domain images.

You can use Pexels to search for images by specific terms. Alternatively, you can browse themes. These themes might include emotions, pastimes or locations.

Many app and web designers turn to Pexels for images. The website’s images are ideal for creating interface mockups.

6. TopFoto

Sometimes, web publishers need to go down the road less travelled. TopFoto is your source for that rare, fabulous and hard to find historical stock image.

You can set up a direct download account on our website. We also offer a full in-house search service for extremely rare imagery.

At TopFoto, you can access digital imagery generated from millions of original negatives and hardcopy prints. We specialise in images created in the early 1800s all the way up to the 2000s. Also, we update our digital archive regularly.

TopFoto works with Global Partners. Collectively, we can give you access to the finest and rarest photography selections in the world.

Making the Most of Images

Your images will have a massive impact on your content marketing or social media campaigns. They can help you to grow traffic and increase clicks and conversions.

With images, you’ll grab the attention of your audience faster. Content accompanied with images is much more effective than text alone.

It receives more likes, shares, and engagement. Furthermore, images help your audience to better understand the content that you publish.

People only need a tenth of a second to understand an image. However, it takes us about 60 seconds to read 200 to 250 words.

Images help people remember your content much better. In short, images are a terrific way to make a lasting impression on your online audience.

Think of Your Audience

It’s true that stock photos work well for some uses. However, many stock photos can appear impersonal and artificial.

You must use impressive photos and images if you want to stand out from your competition. High-quality, unique photos add value to your content. Furthermore, they simplify the message that you want to convey.

Images and SEO

All too often, the process of adding an image to a website goes as follows. A webmaster will download an image from a stock photography site. They’ll then upload it to their digital image manager, which will insert the picture into their page.

The end.

Unfortunately, these well-meaning webmasters overlooked something—image SEO. Uploading unoptimised images to your website is like weighing it down with a weight.

It will slow down your page and take away from the user experience. Also, your picture adds no search value to your website without alt text.

Fine-Tuning Your Images

Image optimisation will provide you with many advantages. Your images will load faster, and it will improve the user experience.

In a progressively competitive online environment, image SEO is becoming increasingly important. Many online publishers, however, ignore image SEO, giving you an excellent opportunity to outdo your competition.

Before you upload those images, make sure that you use a tool like Photoshop to compress them, which will help your web pages load faster. Also, remember to add SEO-friendly alt text to your images. Finally, remember to use high quality, unique images to leave a lasting positive impression on your audience.

When Free Stock Images Don’t Make the Cut

Hopefully, our primer on how to find stock images in the UK has set you on the right path. If you’re looking for unique imagery for your project that you can’t find anywhere else, we’ve got you covered.

TopFoto is your source for the highest quality and rarest imagery on the planet. Please feel free to explore our vast selection of top-notch photography.


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