LearnHack #5: 7 secret resources for images in e-learning courses

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Published on 13/09/2017

The Internet is full of stock photos, and it’s never been easier finding a good-looking image that goes well with the topic of your learning content.

However, there’s a huge leap from good to great. Content deserves great images. If you’re a bit picky (and here’s why you should be), searching for a perfect image can easily take you more time than writing the content itself (read about writing e-learning content in our LearnHack #3). On top of that, the best images are usually copyrighted or at the very least come with a price tag.

Fortunately, there are some websites that are packed with high-quality creative photos that can be used free of charge.

Before you rush to the list below, don’t forget to bookmark this page; sooner or later it will prove to have been a great—not just good—idea.


Burst is a part of the e-commerce platform Shopify, which provides free stock materials to shop owners. Most images are themed around popular business niches, but more general photos are available too. Burst also includes a decent search capability.


If you’re looking for a massive library of high-quality free photos, look no further.
This is probably the best one on the freebies market. Images are sorted by category or available through search.

New Old Stock.io

New Old Stock
This vintage collection is packed with photos of a world it once was.

These photos can often give a brand-old-new meaning to your content and elevate it to a higher level.


This contains a list of random shots created by professional photographers.

It’s super handy when you’re looking for hi-quality evocative photos.

Startup Stock Photos

Startup Stock Photos
This is a great resource for photos of people using their laptops, tablets, and phones in all kinds of poses and environments. If you need to show how your systems and apps are used in a ‘real-word’ environment, SSP is your best buddy. You’ll need some Photoshop skills to get that mock-up just right.

I’m free

I’m free
Not only are the photos on this page handily sorted in categories, ‘I’m free’ also features an ‘Education’ category, which is full of images of people doing a great job pretending to be learning. Any e-learning professional will find one of their resources essential. Eventually.


This is your backup plan if all of the above didn’t work out the way you hoped. Pixabay is a search engine that crawls many stock libraries. The availability of so many photos comes with a different price tag. Stock photo quality is a bit below that in the resources previously mentioned, but you won’t really mind when you’re on desperation mode.

I’m sure you will find the resources mentioned above very useful. Please make sure to check each website’s licensing page for specific details before you use any of the provided resources. Licence details are generally pretty easy to find. There are two licence types you’re likely to find on these sites:

  • Creative Commons Zero: This means that you can use the photos in any way you’d like, even without asking permission from the author(s).
  • Creative Commons with Attribution: This means that you can use the image in any way you want, as long as you credit the author(s). Attribution is simple: usually it’s enough to include the author’s name and a link to his or her website.

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