It seems like there are new free stock image sites popping up every day, each with their very own claim of being either the most comprehensive, most unique, or most trendy. Others will take their chances at sticking strictly to niche content, while some insist on operating with only one image contributor.
With all the options that are on the table, choosing a stock image provider is no where near as easy at it was even a decade ago, when we could count the viable stock providers on one hand. These days there is no such convenience, but what there is instead is an incredible selection of free stock images that gets even more comprehensive by the day.
Gratisography is one free stock photo site that has figured out how to cut through the chatter. By focusing on unique, individualistic, and arresting photography, Gratisography is quickly developing a reputation for being one of the most creative image collections around. For anyone looking to make a real impact in todays traffic-jammed digital landscape, having a stock image source like Gratisography is essential.
In this guide, we are going to go over some of the key points and features that make Gratisography the valuable resource that it is, as well as examine how it stacks up to some of its closest competitors in the stock content game.
The Case for Free Stock Photography
Without a doubt, it has never been easier to enter the digital marketplace, whether someone is looking to become an Instagram sensation or start their very own e-commerce operation. But while entering the marketplace might be simpler than it has ever been, being effective in that marketplace is a different battle altogether, one that not that many organizations have figured out how to win.
Grabbing someone’s digital attention for a meaningful amount of time requires visual content that is so striking and unique that it can stop a user in their tracks, at least long enough that you can make your “pitch”, whatever that may be.
While there is nothing new about paying for stock images to incorporate into a marketing or social media campaign, the rapid rise of free stock photo collections is quite new indeed, and it is a trend that doesn’t seem like it will be slowing down anytime soon. Having access to no-charge content that licensed for commercial use is essential for startups that are operating on a limited budget, or even established brands that are simply tired of paying bloated prices for boring or dated visual content. Gratisography is one of the few free stock image sites that has successfully differentiated themselves from the pack.
Let’s take a look at how…
The Rundown: Gratisography’s Free Stock Image Collection
- Carefully curated collection with an emphasis on personality, perspective, & story
- A browsable library that can be explored by Category or by Collection
- A free photo license that allows users to use the images for logos, company images, advertising campaigns, personal projects, and even on for-profit merchandise
- Weekly New Picture Alert function that notifies users of new image contributions
- No paid options; all Gratisography images are 100% free
- Images with a real sense of character
- Simplistic web layout makes for a frustration-free browsing experience
- Designed & operated by passionate artist Ryan McGuire
- Images are privately sourced, which makes licensing very easy to understand and the same for every image
- Content is unlikely to ever be subject to privacy or trademark rights
Gratisography: A No-Frills (& No-Hassle) Source for Free Stock Images
There is certainly no hiding the fact that the image library at Gratisography is not nearly as large as some of the more well-established content providers … but this should come of a surprise to no one. Because Gratisography is not a crowd-sourced stock image site, there aren’t thousands of random pictures pouring in like with the “other guys.”
Instead, there is a small and highly curated collection of effective images that get right to the point. You aren’t going to find any chaff in this collection; it is nothing but tightly framed, aesthetically intriguing pictures that all share the same high-level quality.
What Kind of Stock Content Can You Find at Gratisography?
Gratisography is all about quality over quantity, meaning that their image library is not going to be nearly expansive as one of the major image aggregators out there. Instead, they provide a smaller, more highly-curated library of images that all share a certain exciting quality.
Founder & operator Ryan McGuire calls it the “world’s quirkiest collection” of stock images, and he could certainly be right.
When people are browsing social media, they aren’t going to stop scrolling to look at your content unless there is something about it that grabs them by the lapel and says, “hey, stop, this is interesting.” The image collections at Gratisography are interesting in a way that we have not seen before, offering compositions, subject matters, and emotional cores that are, well, quirky.
Pictures with Character
While getting a user to engage with your content is perhaps the biggest part of the battle, getting them to actually remember it is something else entirely. People don’t want to look at the same old stock photos anymore, whether it is an overly-staged image of office workers or the exaggerated, almost creepy smiles of stock image models that feel anything but natural. Adding character to your content is a good way to keep people coming back to your brand, if for no other reason than they have not been able to get the one awesome image out of their head.
The Abstract and the Familiar at Once
The images that make the struct cut to become part of the Gratisography collection seem to all offer the same blend of familiarity and strangeness. These are pictures of everyday items taken in a non-everyday way, or alternatively, strange designs and situations captured in such a way that makes them appeal to the audience’s imagination.
What Is Gratisography Best For?
When you compare Gratisography’s free stock image collection with the super-massive collections of other, larger image companies, it can seem quaint to say the least. Boutique collections like the one offered by Gratisography are not expansive enough to power an entire marketing campaign for very long, but because the images themselves are so unique and charming, finding even a single one that fits with your vision can be a real boon to your project.
For this reason, we recommend Gratisography to any business owner, marketing director, or visual artist who has been scouring the web for the perfect stock image but have not found it yet, perhaps because they don’t know what they’re even looking for.
The more compact size of Gratisography has another advantage as well: browsing its entire catalog is fast and comfortable, and unlike some other free content sites, you aren’t bombarded by banner advertisements all over the page. In fact, their simplistic site design is one of our very favorite features.
Gratisography Payment Options (or Lack Thereof)
Most of the sites offering free stock images are not actually concerned with providing anything for free; they are simply trying to get you to pay for one of their subscription services. Gratisography is focused on providing 100% free stock images and photography for all purposes, meaning you don’t have to worry about any of their content having any kind of hidden charge to it.
Similarly, there are no subscriptions or membership terms to worry about, and since all the images are the work of a single contributor, there is literally zero hassle in the licensing department.
When you consider that not only is every image in the Gratisography library free for personal and commercial use, but can also be used for merchandising and other potentially lucrative endeavors, the value becomes even more apparent.
The Free Photo License at Gratisography
There are a lot of reasons that people go looking for free stock photography, but one of the biggest ones is the desire for easy-access visual content that can be integrated into a marketing strategy in a legal way. This means that you know precisely what you can and cannot use a specific image for. Using an image without permission can lead to legal consequences that aren’t going to look very good at the next quarterly meeting, so staying ahead of the game in terms of licensing is an absolute necessity.
The Case Against Crowd-Sourced Stock Photography
Avoiding legal snafus is easier with Gratisography because all the images fall under a single license, but this is not the case with some crowdsourced stock image websites. As a stock photo site grows its collection of both photos and contributors, the licensing can become a bit more complicated and in many cases can vary from picture to picture. This means that two pictures displayed side by side on a stock photo site might not be able to be used for the same purpose. In these cases, the best way for someone to protect themselves is research.
A site like Gratisography makes it much, much easier.
What Can I Use Gratisography’s Free Stock Images For?
To put it simply: just about anything that you want. This is a stock photo site that operates off of a Free Photo License, which essentially means that no purchase is required for personal or commercial use. This means that you can use them in your next social media campaign, weekly blog post, or even as the landing page for your website.
Unlike some free stock photo providers, the Gratisography Free Photo License also makes it possible to use any images in their collection for merchandising purposes. This is pretty rare in the stock photo game, where usually additional royalties have to be paid if you’re making money off of a stock image. This license type also gives users permission to edit, modify, or adapt the original image as need dictates. This could be adding your company logo or a block of text, or changing the image entirely with filters and applications.
What CAN’T I Use Gratisography’s Free Stock Images For?
The one major restriction with a free photo license like the one that Gratisography has is that their images must not be redistributed in any way, specifically on other stock sites or to other individuals. Users are also prohibited from claiming any of the content as their own, as well as using the images in anyway that can be considered criminal, hateful, or unlawful.
As is always the case with stock images, free or paid, there are a number of considerations that need to be paid attention to if you are using the image for commercial purposes. Pictures of people, for instance, might be subject to privacy laws, as would the presence of any corporate logo or trademark. It is always a good idea to dive a little deeper into the source of the original image if you intend to use it commercially … it can save you a lot of time and hassle down the line.
Gratisography – Free Stock Photos with Real Character
The search for the perfect stock image is not something that can be completed in a single day, because marketing and design are ongoing battles that require new, fresh content on a regular basis. For this reason, it sometimes doesn’t matter if a stock provider has a thousand images or five hundred thousand. These efforts require character, quirk, and personality … three things that Gratisography has to spare.
The Bottom Line?
Gratisography’s free stock image library might be smaller than many others, but the content is reliably dynamic and always interesting. The catalog is presented alongside a refreshingly simplistic site design, and a single free photo license that applies to every image in the collection.