Time to ditch those boring stock photos!

Using photography to promote your virtual assistant business?

You can’t have failed to notice the rise in visual content marketing across all social media platforms, from photos and infographics to video. The value that visual marketing can bring is vast and by not using visual content you could be giving your competitors the advantage.

Still not convinced? Then how about an actual stat? We are becoming lazier. The average person gets distracted within 8 seconds so you only have a short window of opportunity to get your message across. Articles that contain images get 93% more views than articles that don’t.

The easiest place to start is by using photos. But you can’t just use any picture you see on the internet. Many pictures have usage guidelines and copyright protection which prevent you from using them. It’s also a myth to think you can use a picture and attach a credit to it. Sorry, but using that cute kitten picture you saw on Facebook yesterday in your personal or business blog could contravene Copyright.

The easiest way to avoid copyright issues is to use pictures that have a Creative Commons Zero licence. The law states that “CC0 enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright, or database-protected content, to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.” This means that photos found with a CCO licence can be used without any copyright issues.

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Below is a list of the free stock photo websites I have researched and use. There are of course others on the internet but I find the ones below are easy to use and have distinctive and stylish photos. You could of course take and share your own photos!

Splitshire – There are some really unusual and abstract pictures on this site as well as video and vectors. The site was started by a photographer, Daniel Nanescu, who wanted to share his work at a time when he felt good stock photos were non-existent. There is premium service where you can have photos downloaded straight to Dropbox.

 Gratisography – If you’re looking for something unusual and a bit quirky you will find it on this site. You won’t find desks and typewriters here, but you will find cats with ties…

Stocksnap – The picture of the macaroons came from Stocksnap. Lots of high-resolution pictures available. This site has a handy search feature which offers you the options of sorting by category, what’s trending, download numbers and favourites.

Life of Pix – The picture below of the desk is from Life of Pix.  This site is packed full of great pictures from Leeroy Advertising Agency.  The photos are in high resolution and they also offer a great selection of video to donwload.

Pexels-min

Pexels is a really great website that has a variety of good pictures that can be used for infographics, blogs, websites and social media. A great feature is that pictures can be downloaded in three standard sizes and a custom format is also available.

 Unsplash a collection of free high resolution photos. The standard of photography is excellent and their platform features a free automated e-shot where they will email 10 new photos every 10 days.

 Worth remembering is that some hi-res imagery will have large file sizes which might not be appropriate for your blog or website. If you need to resize your pictures there are numerous websites available that can do this for you if you don’t have access to Photoshop including Optimizilla and Resizeimage

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