5 Great Sites to Get Free Stock Photos

These days there are endless image sites to get amazing free stock photos.

There are so many sites offering royalty-free images there is no longer any reason to take any old image from the Internet and use it on your website.

5 Great Sites to Get Free Stock Photos

Hey, do you love this stock photo in my blog header image? It’s available exclusively from Sage Media & Marketing and free for your personal or commercial use.

What are royalty-free images?

There’s a difference between stock photos and royalty-free stock photos, although they can be one and the same.

At times.

A free stock image means you can use it free-of-charge. Royalty-free means you can use the image however you want but you may have to purchase it.

When you’re on a stock photo website, take a moment to review the terms and conditions. Sometimes you can download a free stock image but there are restrictions in how you can use it or you must credit the source and/or photographer.

Some sites allow you to use an image once for free and require you to purchase a license to use it again or in another way. Some free stock image photo sites are also royalty-free and allow you to use the images for commercial use.

There are some great commercial use, royalty-free free stock photo websites out there. And that’s important to us because we’re writers, not photographers.

We need the help!

While I do purchase stock images and take my own photos from time to time, I mix in a good amount of free stock photos on my website and social media.

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Image sites to get free stock photos

Sage Media & Marketing

These images are a customized mix of flat lays and lifestyle, perfect for bloggers and small business owners alike. There are 10 free stock photos available from Sage Media & Marketing with more promised in the future.

The best part about these stock images is they aren’t available on any other stock photo website so there’s a good chance you haven’t seen them around.

100 Stock Photos from Sage Media & Marketing

If you want to up your game, Sage Media & Marketing also sells packs of 100 high quality stock photos, perfect for bloggers!

desygner

Desygner is a design solution for just about everyone. In addition to offering royalty-free images for commercial use, it is also a powerful design tool for content creation, where you can use these images on your designs or thousands of pre-designed templates that you can get for free. Honestly? It’s Canva on steroids.

Pixabay

I’ve talked about Pixabay before and I still recommend it. It’s a great place to go for general images. The free stock photography site offers more than a million images and videos including illustrations and vector graphics. It’s worth checking out.

Unsplash

Unsplash is the hipster mecca of free stock photos. These beautiful, free photos are gifted by the world’s most generous community of photographers, according to the website.

All photos are licensed under Creative Commons Zero, meaning you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.

Gratisography

These quirky, creative, always free photos are toted as the world’s quirkiest collection of free high-resolution pictures. According to the website, these free stock photos are comprised of the world’s best, most creative images and are free of copyright restrictions.

New Old Stock (this is such a cool free stock photo site)

This site curates old photos for personal and non-commercial use, at minimum. Links to the original image location are provided for users to check the licensing details for themselves.

Most or all of the images available on this site are in the public domain, which means no permission is required to use these free stock photos at all.

These are a few of my go-to image sites for free stock images and I hope you find great images from them.

5 Great Sites to Get Free Stock Photos

But if we’re taking free stock photos, how do photographers get paid?

I wanted to address this objection because this freelance lifestyle isn’t easy. And, if you’re like me, you’re friends with professional photographers and you want to support them whenever possible.

And you may be wondering if taking free stock photos is a bit hypocritical since many photographers are freelance and we work so hard to not work for free.

When you use free stock photos you’re not stealing from the photographer. Many of them are trying to make a name for themselves and are gifting their images to the community as part of their long-term strategy.

Once they gain a larger following they’re able to make money from their photography through bookings, selling images to their follows and fans, and many other income streams. They’ve decided by offering some things for free it will help them reach their career goals.

Hmm…free stock photos are much like offering free advice on blogs….

Here’s the bottom line: if you don’t feel comfortable using free stock photos then don’t. Take your own or purchase them.

There are upsides to not using free stock photos. Not only will your conscience be clear, you’re images will be unique and customized if you take them yourself. If you purchase stock photos your images will likely higher quality and less “all over the Internet.”

So there are there’s that.

Once you have great photos, here’s how to make them even better.

These days there are endless sites to get amazing free stock photos. There are so many sites there's no excuse not to have great images on your website.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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These days there are endless sites to get amazing free stock photos. There are so many sites there's no excuse not to have great images on your website.

3 Tips for Branding Your Freelance Services Online

Are you wondering how to best represent your freelance services on social media? Whether you’re new to freelancing, staring a side hustle or going full-time with your writing business, branding your freelance services online can be challenging!

3 Tips for Branding Your Freelance Services Online

Freelancing has always been a popular option for folks wanting to start a side hustle or launch a business, but since the pandemic even more people are giving online business a try.

This is for a couple of reasons.

First, the chaos and uncertainty of the pandemic opened many people’s eyes to the imbalance of their current lifestyle and work habits. Freelancing allows for a (more) flexible schedule—you get to say when and how you’ll work.

Second, with rising inflation and the cost of living, it’s almost necessary to bring in extra cash. Or at least have a level set up that you can pull when needed.

If you’re freelancing or thinking about trying freelancing, then you’re already in the thick of it. Here are a couple suggestions for branding your freelance services online.

By the way, optimizing your social media profiles is important! You want to ensure potential clients know who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you.

Download your free ebook from my resource library! All you have to do is pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the social media section and download the ebook called “Social Media Optimization.”

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Use social media as a portfolio

If you’re used to using social media for your personal life, then switching things over may feel like a chore. But it’s so worth it!

Talking about the projects you’re doing and the clients you love working with helps potential clients see what you can do, what you’re interested in working on and a little insight into your personality.

There may be some aspects of your work you can’t share, or that don’t show up well online (sitting behind a computer writing all day? You can only show that photo so many times before it becomes boring!).

And, by the way, if consistency is your challenge, you may want to consider services like White Label Social Media or stock photos.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Align yourself with fellow freelancers

On the surface, networking on social media may not seem like a branding exercise, but hear me out.

When you find a supportive community, join in. Participate in the conversation, like or share good advice and give shout outs whenever possible.

Your other friends and followers will see this activity and it helps cement that you’re a freelancer in their minds. It’s subtle, but it works.

Also, networking is good for business. As you build authentic relationships with other freelancers, you just never know where that will go. Maybe they end up looking for a subcontractor and you’re top of mind. Or perhaps they post a job that is right up your alley. You can’t anticipate when or how these opportunities will come up, but they will eventually. Trust me, social media is a great tool for networking!

Social media makes it easy for people to contact you

Yes, you have a preferred way leads connect with you, but we live in a multi-channel, extra-connected, instant DM society and sometimes you just have to accept it!

Being available to connect with on social media, whether it’s in direct messages or comments, can help you nurture leads who aren’t quite ready to reach out to you formally.

This omnipresence can be a bit stressful because there are so many places people can message you, but you can limit the overwhelm by limiting your social activity to the places where you can sustain an active presence.

Need a strategy? This simple five-step social media strategy for writers should help.

I hope this helps you to make the most of social media as a freelancer!

Are you wondering how to best represent your freelance services on social media? Whether you're new to freelancing, staring a side hustle or going full-time with your writing business, branding your freelance services online can be challenging!

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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How to Become a Social Media Influencer

Even if your dream isn’t to be a social media influencer you may wish your online following was stronger.

How to Become a Social Media Influencer

But does stronger mean bigger? Not always.

If you have the right followers numbers aren’t as important.

Influencer vs influence

Last summer I had a string of clients who hired me to launch and maintain their Instagram profiles.

These small businesses wanted to add social media marketing but didn’t know much about it. Since I love both social media and marketing this is pretty much a dream project. I worked hard to create a strategy that reflected the brand and would attract their ideal customer. I chose or created images, wrote captions, and scheduled posts based on best practices.

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And then we launched

After two or three months of social media posts my clients complained that they weren’t happy with the amount of followers they had, wasn’t that the point of the work I was doing?

The first time this came up I was surprised. We had talked about the long game, how gaining authentic followers doesn’t happen overnight. I thought we were on the same page. So why were we so far off base?

Expectations

  • These clients were new to social media
  • Their businesses were also new
  • They had little to no online presence and had heard from a few people that if they went on social media they’d find success

So imagine their disappointment when they realized building an authentic brand on social media doesn’t happen overnight and also is a lot of work.

It was a tough lesson for both of us. I learned I needed to be a lot more blunt about how much time and energy needs to be devoted to building a legitimate social media presence.

Now when I begin working with a client I put in writing what is within my control (posting frequency, content) and what is not (sales, growing followers).

And I believe these clients also learned that becoming and influencer on social media isn’t something you can automate and expect return from.

It involves relationship-building, listening, and connecting with your ideal customer.

How to build an instagram strategy ebook

Wondering how to put together a solid Instagram strategy? Download my free ebook!

This 18-page ebook is part of my resource library, but you’ll need the password to acces it. Pop your email into the form below and I’ll send it to you.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the social media section and look for “How to Create an Instagram Strategy Ebook.”

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What you can and can’t buy

The influencer role is somewhat new so it makes sense that people don’t quite understand what an influencer is.

In general, an influencer is someone who has an engaged following of people who pay close attention to their thoughts and opinions.

A true influencer can post about a great new product they’ve discovered and they have built so much trust with their audience that they rush out to also purchase the same product.

I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t love this kind of influence. I mean, duh! It’s amazing!

But where people get confused is they see an influencer and they equate the number of followers they have with influence.

But numbers don’t equal influence. You can purchase social media followers and engagement. You cannot purchase influence.

How to become an influencer on social media

There is no silver bullet when it comes to becoming an influencer.

If you can build a community of people who want to hear what you have to say and trust your judgment then you’re an influencer.

And your message is amplified the more followers you have.

If you Google “how to become an influencer” you’ll see many, many articles dedicated to giving you the answer.

But no matter what you won’t find a secret tip to getting away from putting the time and work into building your platform, branding yourself, and showing up with authenticity and something to say.

If you want to be a social media influencer and work with brands then you do need at least some sort of a following.

To improve, choose one platform to focus on and become an expert at it. Learn the rules and how people engage. Figure out how you fit into the picture and then create a strategy based on finding your ideal followers and connecting with them.

It will take time and energy. It will not happen overnight.

But if you can make authentic connections and continue offering value to your followers, you will become an influencer.

5 Tips for Optimizing Your Social Media Profiles ebook

By the way, optimizing your social media profiles is important! You want to ensure potential clients know who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you.

Download your free ebook from my resource library! All you have to do is pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the social media section and download the ebook called “Social Media Optimization.”

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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For more, here are the three things brands look for when hiring influencers from the Spark Society.

Even if your dream isn't to be a social media influencer you may wish your online following was stronger. But does stronger mean bigger? Not always. If you have the right followers numbers aren't as important.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
Even if your dream isn't to be a social media influencer you may wish your online following was stronger. But does stronger mean bigger? Not always. If you have the right followers numbers aren't as important.
Even if your dream isn't to be a social media influencer you may wish your online following was stronger. But does stronger mean bigger? Not always. If you have the right followers numbers aren't as important.

5 Simple Tips for Building Your Brand as a Freelancer

Building your brand as a freelancer is key in order to both keep clients coming back and bring in new clients.

Building Your Brand as a Freelancer

For my freelance business, branding has both brought in more paying work and the kind of writing I love to do.

Do you want the worksheet that goes with this training?

I’ve created a worksheet to complement this training, available for download. This is a free resource but it’s part of my resource library and you’ll need a password. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the blogging section and look for the worksheet called “Brand Elements.”

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Building your brand as a freelancer

Here are a few ways you can start building your brand as a freelancer right now.

Establish Yourself As An Expert

Positioning yourself as an expert isn’t as intimidating or difficult as it first sounds. You do this by sharing helpful information with your audience.

Figure out the questions they’re asking and the problems they’re trying to solve and then provide the answers/solutions.

This is a fabulous opportunity to help people take the next step on their journey as well as share your unique knowledge and expertise.

Don’t worry too much about sharing free information. You build trust with your audience by helping people and establishing yourself as an expert doesn’t hurt either. People hire people they trust.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Focus On Your Digital Footprint

Whether you’re building a website or setting up your social media profiles for business, make sure your digital presence is easy to discover and communicates clearly.

Here’s what a solid digital footprint includes: strong branding, unique personality and clear services. This is also a good time to invest in professional headshots (and don’t feel like you have to stick to stuff corporate—consider lifestyle photos!) and graphics.

Think of your various bios and about pages as an opportunity to let your ideal client know how you can help them and why you’re the right choice. Don’t underestimate the power of a great about page!

Create an On-Brand Marketing Strategy

I don’t care if you’re too busy or you just plain hate it, building your brand includes marketing. Unless you love the feast-and-famine cycle of freelancing, that is.

Solid content marketing strategies can keep your prospect funnel full all year long. When creating your marketing strategy make sure to build something sustainable otherwise you’ll quit before you start.

Make sure to grab the worksheet that goes with this training

I’ve created a worksheet to complement this training, available for download. This is a free resource but it’s part of my resource library and you’ll need a password. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the blogging section and look for the worksheet called “Brand Elements.”

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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Show Off Your Personality

A big part about building your brand is growing your platform. Figure out what makes you stand out in your market and find ways to weave it into your business.

Your personality is part of your brand, so be sure to highlight it. The first step is to find your unique voice and which aspects of your personality and experiences are best to convey.

Focus on the positive, exciting and engaging aspects of your brand personality.

Building Your Brand? Invest in Relationships

Referrals are a gold mine, which is why networking with other freelancers is so important. Word of mouth is also extremely powerful, so make a point to invest in your relationships. You never know which clients might suggest you to a new anchor client or introduce you an amazing career opportunity.

Take time to go the extra mile, giving excellent service and ensuring both your colleagues and clients are taken care of.


If you want to read my personal branding story check out Branding Yourself: Choosing a Niche.

From this experience I’ve learned a lot about how branding yourself on your website or blog is good for search engine optimization as well as for attracting your ideal clients. But more than that, branding yourself is important for growing your business in the direction you want it to go.

Branding Yourself: Choosing a Niche
Building your brand as a freelancer is key in order to both keep clients coming back and bring in new clients. Branding has revolutionized my business.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

The worksheet that complements this training is available for download as part of my resource library. You can get free access by popping your email address into the form below. Then once you’re in the library look for the worksheet called “Brand Elements.”

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
Building your brand as a freelancer is key in order to both keep clients coming back and bring in new clients. Branding has revolutionized my business.
Building your brand as a freelancer is key in order to both keep clients coming back and bring in new clients. For my freelance business, branding has both brought in more paying work and the kind of writing I love to do.

Simple Marketing Tips to Take the Pain Out of Branding

There are a lot of options when it comes to marketing your small business but these four simple marketing tips are ones you can implement today.

Simple marketing tips for small businesses

I know I sound like a broken record, but you have to keep your marketing machine running. Even though you’re too busy and you hate marketing.

Let’s agree to choose one thing from this list and implement it today. Deal?

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Simple marketing tips for small businesses

To make the most out of digital marketing and branding opportunities, you don’t need to crack the social media algorithm.

Here are some simple marketing tips that require far less effort and deliver better results.

Do I have your attention? Read on.

Submit directory registrations

Registering your business on various directories is an easy way to improve your search results and be discovered. Google and Facebook reviews help too!

If your business is home-based you may also want to get a business mailing address to avoid putting your home address online.

Discover target keywords

Once you’re clear on who you serve and how you can help them, finding the best keywords to use online will bring more qualified traffic to your website.

Start out with SEO tools you can download for free and go from there. Understanding the terms and phrases people use in search helps you better connect with your target audience.

Automate your social media

No one has extra hours to spend on social media. You can and you should automate your social.

I’ve outlined my top six social media scheduling tools that I use every day. Trust me, you can still engage authentically even if you don’t live-post every single image on Instagram.

5 Tips for Optimizing Your Social Media Profiles Ebook

By the way, optimizing your social media profiles is important! You want to ensure potential clients know who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you.

Download your free ebook from my resource library! All you have to do is pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the social media section and download the ebook called “Social Media Optimization.”

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

Distribute press releases

I think media releases are amazing and I think they can work to create a real buzz about your brand.

However, for this marketing tactic to work you do need to be doing something worth talking about.

Brainstorm an angle that would be considered newsworthy and pitch your story to local media outlets. Just keep in mind a business profile isn’t news, it’s advertising.

Craft a story where you’re someone doing something interesting for a compelling reason.

Marketing your brand doesn’t have to be complicated.

Get your small business online and set yourself up to be discovered on search and social.

Then do cool stuff that makes people want to talk about you and make sure they know about it. And if you want some extra help, that’s what I’m here for.

There are a lot of options when it comes to marketing your small business but these four simple marketing tips are ones you can implement today. I know I sound like a broken record, but you have to keep your marketing machine running. Even though you're too busy and you hate marketing.
Let's agree to choose one thing from this list and implement it today. Deal?

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
There are a lot of options when it comes to marketing your small business but these four simple marketing tips are ones you can implement today. I know I sound like a broken record, but you have to keep your marketing machine running. Even though you're too busy and you hate marketing.
Let's agree to choose one thing from this list and implement it today. Deal?
There are a lot of options when it comes to marketing your small business but these four simple marketing tips are ones you can implement today. I know I sound like a broken record, but you have to keep your marketing machine running, even though you're too busy and you hate marketing. Let's agree to choose one thing from this list and implement it today. Deal?