Why and Where to Source Images for Your Website

Website Design | |

We’ve recently seen an increase in clients receiving copyright infringement notice emails, informing them that they must prove that they have sourced images correctly, or risk being fined. Luckily, our clients are able to trace back the citing of their images, however, it’s important to understand how best to source media for your website, to avoid being caught out.

Image Sourcing – Why It’s Important

You cannot simply find an image online and use it on your website. This is due to copyright infringement – a creator of original work has exclusive rights to the use, sale, distribution and reproduction. Therefore, you have to get the necessary permission to legally use it, which is where stock image providers come into play. These websites have a range of images that you can download and use.

Image Attributions

Depending on the site that you source your images from, you may also need to attribute or credit the creator. For example, FreePik free plan allows you to download images for free, but you must credit the creator by including a linked caption or respective code. Additionally, some images can only be used for certain purposes, for example editorial images may not be used on marketing material. It is your responsibility to check if an image that you use needs attribution.

Where To Source Images

Below is a comparison of stock image sites that you can source images from.

Free Plan AvailablePaid PlansFree trial?
UnsplashYesFrom £6 per monthN/A
PixabayYesNo, all images freeN/A
FreePikYes – attribution neededFrom £4.65 per monthN/A
Adobe StockNoFrom £19.99 per monthYes
Shutter StockNoFrom £19 per monthNo
iStockNoFrom £19 per monthYes, 1 month

Why Use Stock Images?

With all of this, you may be wondering why use stock images at all, and whether it’s better to use text only. Our brains process images 60,000 images faster than text, meaning having images on your website is an effective way to communicate with your customers and website users. Additionally, high-quality images help to enhance your content, increase brand reputation, and encourage users to engage with your website.

Stock Image Tips

We’ve created a checklist of best practices for using stock images:

  • Use high-quality images
  • Select images that are relevant to your content or brand
  • Use images that relate to your target audience
  • Avoid using overly generic stock images
  • Resize and optimise images before adding them to your website – image formats guide
  • Use AI stock images with caution – ensure they look real and aren’t overly fake

Help With Content

When Ballyhoo designs your website, we support you in content migration and information architecture – we will structure the content for you to make it easy to analyse and determine which content is valuable to your customers. Within this, we can source a number of images for your websites, securely and using best practices. If you’re interested in a new website, or redesign of your existing website, contact us now to discuss your requirements.

Headshot of Rebecca young new team member


Rebecca helps to keep the team organised and supports all of our clients with day to day activities and content. She also runs all of Ballyhoo's internal marketing.