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Backpack Executive

I'm Jason. I've spent most of my career developing marketing strategies for student housing communities. Now, I own Pixel Riot - We help your website send the right signals to land the right visitors. Need Google Ad management? I'm your guy. I have 14 years of experience in digital advertising for Multifamily.

Where to find free stock photography that feels authentic

I have a confession. I am a total photography snob. I cringe ever so slightly anytime I see that generic college kid that seems way to happy to be holding 5 textbooks and a Jansport backpack. Whether its developing a website or creating a flyer, if you don't have imagery that conveys authenticity, you'll be looked over. The best option, of course, is to use custom imagery; photos that were taken by professionals with your brand and project in mind. In the real world, custom imagery takes time, money and coordination, three things that are often hard to come by. 


In a pinch, stock photography can be useful. The trick is to find photos that feel authentic. Photos that feel unique. Photos that you won't see on your competitor's billboard. Oh, and free would be nice too (stock photography can get expensive after all). Our design team at Pixel Riot is always on the lookout for unique imagery that we can use for our Multifamily clients that cannot, for whatever reason, use custom imagery. We wanted to share some of our favorite sites.

Here are 5 commercial-use stock photography websites that we think are pretty bad-ass. Each site provides free high-resolution photos, often with more added weekly.



Pexels has a great collection of free, high resolution photos that really feel authentic. This site has no shortage of pictures portraying the 18 to 24 year old demographic doing everything from swimming to texting and more. This is easily one of our favorite sites. 



This site is dead simple to use and has a decent selection of young adults in a start-up business environment. Need a picture of someone typing away on a the latest MacBook Pro? This is the site for you.


Stokpic takes a proactive approach to stock photography. Sign up for their free newsletter and they'll send you 10 free stock photos every 2 weeks. How awesome is that?


Stocksnap allows you to search for hundreds of high-resolution photos added weekly. All free.


This is another site that really has that authentic feel you want in a hero image for your website project. 

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great post, Jason! Admittedly, I break down and buy images at times because it can be so much easier. But, freeimages.com and freepik.com are also pretty good free sources.

  Kristi Bender
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks a lot Jason. Just what I needed

  Akshat Jiwan Sharma

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