Old stock photos

Sourcing Images 101: Bring the Rock to your Email Roll

The Snapshot

  • Check your internal resources for images
  • Use paid and free stock images
  • Be creative with the images you use in your emails
Old stock photos

How much thought do you put into images for your email mail marketing campaigns? If you just replied “eh…” the answer is not enough! Images may be the missing ingredient for your campaign that can help skyrocket your email open rate. Why? Highly visual images capture the imagination, provoke an emotional response and help engage subscribers. In this blog post we are going to give you a list of free and paid image stock photography sites and other ideas of sourcing images. Let’s go:

Internal Resources

Before you start thinking about buying stock photographs search through your own internal resources.

  • Your company may have images stored on your server
  • Graphic designers may have been previously hired for design work
  • Are there images you can use from your website?
  • You may have images that you can tailor with messaging using simple photo editing software

Paid Stock Photography

iStock Photo

iStock Image

iStock Photo is one of the largest stock photography sites on the web. Images of every size, shape and style are available to download at a cost. Prices range from €5 to €50 depending on the resolution of the image you want to download. You will only need the small to medium resolution images for your email campaign.



Shutterstock is another stock photography website that provides a variety of subscription option depending on your needs. No matter what product or service that your company provides you will be able to find a related image. Simply use the search facility to find a range of images related to your query.

Free Stock Photography



Freedigitalphotos.net provides small royalty free images at no cost. A fee is required though for the higher resolution images.  We have found the quality of the images to be inferior to both iStock and Shutterstock.

New Old Stock

Old Stock Photo

If you are looking for something a bit different we recommend having a look at New Old Stock. The website hosts vintage photos from the public archive that are free of known copyright restrictions. There are interesting photographs from periods long ago. If you want a vintage look for your email check this site out. The images can be tailored with text to jazz them up or be used if related to the text in the email marketing campaign.

Flickr Creative Commons

Via Flickr

The creative commons is a license that photographers give for the public to use their work for free as long as the image is credited to them.  If you are looking to source free images of good quality this is the place to go. Use Flickr similar to the other stock photograph websites. Begin with the theme or subject of your email marketing campaign and then search for the most relevant keyword. This should give you a full list of photographs to choose from.