Until recently, stock photography has been treated like some kind of joke, and for good reason. The ham-fisted stock images that populated the early days of the internet relied on corny expressions, fake-looking models, and cheese-ball scenarios that came together to make it obvious, beyond a doubt, that what you were looking at was a stock photo.
Today, a number of photographer / designers are looking to buck the trend of corny stock photos but creating their very own libraries. By building free stock photo collections from a single creative source, these artists are able to get their work out into the word in a big way, while also lending a big helping hand to anyone who is looking for free stock photos.
In this review, we’re going to take a closer look at Kaboompics, the free stock photo website that offers a lot more than meets the eye. Founded by artist and photographer Karoline Grabowska, Kaboompics has become a reliable source of HD stock photography for both personal and commercial use.
Kaboompics Stock Photos: The Bullet Points
Before we dive deeper, let’s take a look at some of the most notable features of Kaboompics:
- Operated by a one-person photographer / entrepreneur
- Unique color-based stock photo filter
- Photoshoots function lets users view pictures from the same session
- Photo attribution is not required (though it is generally appreciated)
- Custom Kaboompics stock photo license covers both personal and commercial use
- Licensing terms are the same for the entire Kaboompics stock photo library
- 70,000 unique visitors every month
- Kaboompics blog offers pro advice on marketing and design
- Excellent advanced sorting options
- Featured categories follow current events
- Over 17,000 images and counting
- Nearly 1500 photoshoot collections available to browse
- Photographic details like ISO, original file size, lens, and aperture available for every image
- Multiple download sizes offered
- Complimentary colors palette shows other HEX numbers that would work with the image
Kaboompics: Passionate Stock Photography
One of the most unique things about Kaboompics is that the entire project is ran by one person … Karolina, photographer and techie who founded the site a couple years back as a way to bring her photography to the world.
Today, Kaboompics is the home of over 17,000 free stock images, most of which can be viewed and sorted by ‘Photoshoot’ or by individual tag. This is a pretty impressive number for such a simplistic site, but the simplicity is another drawing point that we really appreciate.
Aside from the advanced search options (we’ll get to that soon) the site itself is quite basic, and that makes it very easy to navigate. There aren’t a whole lot of bells, whistles, or flashing advertisements like there are on some competing stock photo pages. This makes both searching and downloading a snap.
The Kaboompics Blog is a valuable resource for designers and marketing teams alike. In fact, as a whole this blog is much better than it has any right to be considering its source. What we’re saying is, you wouldn’t expect a small blog like this to have that many posts, or to offer such valuable, actionable advice.
Overall, it is easy to tell that Kaboompics is about a lot more than just making a few bucks off od advertising dollars. While they are partnered with a few of the larger premium stock photo sites for support (iStock, primarily), the overall vibe is one of creative authenticity. This is the photo collection of someone who truly cares about their work and is willing to share it with the world for no charge at all.
What Kaboompics Has That the Other Guys Don’t
While it is true that Kaboompics is not as large or as popular as some of the premium stock photo sites, there is no questioning the fact that it has been growing in popularity over the last few years, being credited as a reliable content source for designers and artists all over the globe.
There are a few things about Kaboompics that can perhaps explain the rise in popularity. For one, this is the only free stock photo website that allows the user to filter the stock photo search results by color palette. Combined with other search options like orientation, size, and content tag, the Kaboompics house search engine offers a level of finesse that is truly unmatched for their size.
Another cool thing that is a direct result of the one-woman-show operational structure of Kaboompics is that each and every image has been created by the same talented photographer. While this might sound like a drawback to people who are looking for a diverse set of photos, most people will be surprised to find out just how diverse the Kaboompics library is.
All of the photographs are displayed along with their photographic details, something we have not seen anywhere else. For example, things like aperture, lens, exposure, ISO, and original size are displayed beneath the image, a nice touch for photo nerds like us.
Q: What Kind of Stock Photos are Available at Kaboompics?
Artist, photographer, and owner Karoline Grabowskais the sole contributor at Kaboompics. Her dedication to high-definition dynamic imagery is apparent in every single stock photo, and the content range is truly remarkable.
While there is no ‘niche’ to Kaboompics, one of the most unique things is the ability to view all the photos from a particular shoot. This is just one more way that designers can come closer to the type of content that they are looking for.
Kaboompics: The Photographer’s Stock Photo Resource
Between the Complimentary Colors Palette, the advanced search functions, and the included photographic details (ISO, lens, etc.) what you have is a new kind of free stock photo site … on that has the art of photography in its DNA.
This commitment to the art of photography is apparent in every one of Karoline’s photos, and the effect is likely to come through on your final product as well.
While some photographers have a hard time “branching out”, this is certainly not the case with Karoline’s work. The content, style, and approach of each photoshoot is different every time, which leads to image collections with high degrees of individuality.
If there is anything that links all of these stock photos together, it is a keen eye for making interesting images … images that capture the eye, that command visual sensation. In today’s digital world, breaking through the wall of advertising noise requires images that know how to do this.
From asparagus tips to sweeping seascapes, the stock photos that you can download at Kaboompics are pretty much guaranteed to elevate your content.
How Kaboompics Licenses Their Free Stock Photos
Kaboompics makes its entire library of high definition stock photos available for free download, for use in both personal and commercial applications. That means you can use these photos to make design templates, t-shirts, blog posts, Instagram advertisements … pretty much anything you can think of.
The Kaboompics license is custom-designed as it applies to all of the stock photos that are available here. This custom license works a lot like Creative Commons Zero, but because all of these photographs are the work of one person, the specific license is a bit more detailed.
All you really need to know is that the free stock photos at Kaboom pics are 100% free to use, whether you’re spiffing up the old blog or looking to gain a few new followers on your social media accounts.
What You Can’t Do with Stock Pictures from Kaboompics
Just like all stock content sites, there are always a few restrictions that you aren’t going to be able to get around, no matter where you like to go for stock photos.
The first restriction is that you cannot use pictures of human beings in a way that suggests any affiliations or endorsements that are not explicitly agreed upon. In fact, using an image of a real human being is dangerous in general, because it is easy to violate what is known as Likeness Rights.
While many stock photos feature paid models that have agreed to transfer their likeness rights, some of the smaller stock photo sites might offer photos without these agreements in place. This could potentially put you at risk of copyright infringement.
The second restriction is that you cannot redistribute the images as they are. An example of this would be downloading all the free stock photos from Kaboompics and then using them to start you own stock photo website. This is a general no-no for all stock photos, and it is widely considered to be a bit of a ‘jerk move’, to use an industry term.
The Kaboompics license, and indeed all stock photo licensing agreements, does not cover other copyrights that might be present within the image. For instance, if the stock photo you’re interested in happens to show a Coca Cola logo, then you will not be able to use it commercially without breaching copyright.
Kaboompics Membership Requirements
All of the stock photography available for download at Kaboompics (over 17,000 images!) are available with nothing more than a few clicks of the computer mouse. There is no need to sign up for any kind of subscription or user account in order to start downloading top-quality stock images right away.
How to Use Kaboompics to Search for Stock Photos
The Kaboompics search engine is perhaps its most valuable feature, as it allows users to search for high definition stock photos with more search parameters than even some of the larger stock photo companies.
The ability to search stock photos by size, shape, and color gives design teams an extra edge over the competition when it comes to finding that perfect pic for your project. Kaboompics also lets users view photos individually or by session with the “Photoshoot” feature, which is another innovative way to make the whole search process easier as it brings similar pictures to the forefront.
Of course, some search features are simply expected, and they are certainly not lacking here. Basic filters include newest, oldest, most & least downloaded, and featured.
Downloading Stock Photos from Kaboompics
The download process at Kaboompics is a breeze. After you have your image selected, downloading it as easy as making a few clicks of the mouse and then you’re good to go.
One of the first things that you will notice is that multiple download sizes are offered for these stock photos. This is a real selling point for Kaboompics, as it can save designers significant time on resizing and reshaping things.
Q: Does Kaboompics Accept Photo Contributions?
No, there is no way to upload your own photography to Kaboompics. The entire photo library is the result of one person’s work, which is in fact one of the most unique things about the site and a primary reason why it works so well.
There are a lot of stock photo sites out there that accept photo contributions. Be prepared with your photo portfolio, as most curators will want to review it before accepting anything. Also, be sure to bone up on stock photo licensing to make sure that you know what you are getting into.
Free Stock Photography from Kaboompics’ Kristina Grabowska
In conclusion, Kaboompics is an expansive and effective free stock photo site, offering advanced search options and artistically inclined extras that allow it to stand well apart from the competition. The website’s easy design makes it a pleasure to browse, and the lack of flashing advertisements is a welcome change from the status quo.
While it might seem like you can find free stock photos just about anywhere these days, finding a source that is as unique and reliable as Kaboompics is a rarity indeed.