Stock Photo Alternatives Stock Photo Alternatives

September 29, 2014   |   Design Vs Dev
Agile League

Today we discuss stock photos and how and why to use (or avoid) them in your web designs. Drew plays the part of the knowledgeable designer, and Micah plays the part of the frustrated and impatient developer. You want to enhance your designs (or big walls of text) with some imagery, and we try to brainstorm some ways to get those images without heading down the stock photography road.

Discussion Points

  • When should I use (or avoid) stock photography?
  • Can I take my own photos?
  • If I want to find a photo on Flickr instead of a stock site, how can I search for it?
  • How do I go from an article or text idea to finding the perfect image to complement it?
  • How can I avoid being overwhelmed by image libraries that have thousands (or millions) of images in them?
  • How I do use sites that post new images every day?

Custom Photo Shoot Examples

Here are a few of the examples that Drew mentions for the custom photo shoot:

Obsidian Portal Portfolio Item


3rdHome Portfolio Item


Danger Ahead! Challenge

Micah challenged Drew to find a better “Danger Ahead” road sign without using a paid stock photo site. For example, if you’re writing a blog post about “Dangers with AJAX”, you might use an image like this:

iStockPhoto Results


Flickr Creative Commons Results


And the winner is…

There are a lot of very nice images on Flickr, but they don’t fit nearly as close to the original goal as the iStockphoto results. You’ll have to be much more flexible in your interpretation. If you want exactly a “Danger Ahead” road sign, you’ll need to use stock photos. If you’re willing to expand your definition of what it means to express “danger” then perhaps Flickr is acceptable. For example, with a little searching and tweaking I found the following Creative Commons licensed image taken by Elliot Brown:


Large Image Repositories

Swipe File Resources (check them periodically)

Next Time

Stay tuned for our next podcast on Flexbox! It will be hitting the airwaves on October 13.