When you’re creating spec ads, whether on your own or with a design partner (recommended!), whether it’s for a job interview or to build your portfolio, you’ll need to find images to use. And, since it’s bad karma to steal other people’s pictures, you’ll need good places to find them.
Now, obviously, you can do an images search on Google and get tons and tons of results in return. The problem is that using many of these images in your projects equates to stealing other people’s work for your own purposes.
Now, practically and pragmatically, there’s probably very little chance of you getting caught. Probably. By why worry about it? It’s often just as easy to find the kinds of images you need on sites that will allow you to use them legally.
Here are four resources (most are free) to get you started on your hunt for fair-use images.
If you’ve just been “borrowing” other people’s pictures up until now, you’ve probably already filched a few from Flickr, but there’s also a way to do it that’s both fair and legal. Head over to their “creative commons” section to find images that the photographers are more than happy to let you use. You can also try out the service for free for a limited time.
The name says it all. You don’t even need an account to download the images on FreeImages. Easy!
Owned by stock giant Shutterstock, MorgueFile has more than 400,000 photos available royalty-free that you can use for commercial use. They also have video, vector, and template files, too.
iStock is, as the name implies, a true stock photo site: It sells professional-quality photos. I mention it, however, because the basic plan is only $29 month for 10 downloads, which is plenty to build up your spec library.
Want To Learn More About Spec Ads? We Have All the Answers!
- What Copywriters Should Look for in a Spec Ad Designer
- What Does It Mean for Copywriters to Write on Spec? And Should You?
- Break Into New Copywriting Industries Using Spec Ads
If you’re new to copywriting, creating spec ads allows you to show your skill as a copywriter. Even seasoned copywriters may create a spec ad to fill a gap in their portfolios, creating a piece in a specific medium or industry that’s missing from their work.
However, one of the biggest mistakes that copywriters make is designing these spec pieces themselves. In this episode of the Build Your Copywriting Business podcast, Nicki and Kate dig into why it’s so critical to work with a designer on these pieces and the negative impression it can send to potential clients if you have crummy pieces in your portfolio.
What other resources have you or your design partners found? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on November 27, 2023