Finding the right images for your projects on Alamy

girl swimming in the sea lying on water
Anna Antonova / Alamy Stock Photo

Get your head around image licenses and releases and speed up your image search with this handy how-to guide!

We’re here to make it as easy as possible for you to search for, find and secure the imagery you need for your projects. Choosing the right license can save you time and money and give you the certainty that you’ve got all the right permissions to use an image in the way you want.

To kick things off, here’s a simple overview of the license type and release info for five of the key project types our customers work on:

images for your projects
Project usages and search tips

How to find the images you need on Alamy

Use the guide below to get our top tips on using Alamy to get all the incredible images you need for the project type you’re working on.

Social Media

Social media channels are driven by impressive, eye-catching visuals that have the power to stop users mid-scroll. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, using images in your social posts can result in higher engagement rates for your posts. For example on Twitter, tweets with images achieve 35% more retweets than tweets with no visuals.

What image content works?

Lifestyle imagery

In my experience, people respond better to images that they can relate to, so my advice would be to include natural, un-staged imagery in your posts. Whether you opt for an image of one person, a group of friends or even a family, there is loads of content to choose from on Alamy.

Images with the ‘wow’ factor

What better to grab your audience’s attention than something with the ‘wow’ factor – a jaw-dropping landscape or a vibrant cultural display.

So, we know what works, but how the heck do you go about finding the images?

Top tip: Use images that are relevant to your audience and if possible, relatable. Pair them with a catchy caption for extra impact!

How to find it on Alamy:

Recommended search strings

lifestyle (friends or family) (“mobile photography” or stockimo or fashion or trend)

travel (“high production” or wow or amazing or stunning or “breath taking” or breathtaking)

food (“high production” or “mobile photography” or authentic or “flat lay” or flatlay or studio)

Where to look on Alamy: 

  • Stockimo – our mobile photography collection
  • Lifestyle category – a curated collection of the very best lifestyle imagery on Alamy
  • Latest Imagery – a selection of the freshest image collections to be added to Alamy
  • Featured Photographers – our pick of the most stand-out image collections
  • Image Trends 2018 report – the most on-trend image themes for the year based on real data from the images our customers have bought

Top tip: make sure you use the recommended image size for each channel – here’s a quick size guide for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:

Social media image sizes
Social media image sizes

Need help picking the right social site for your business, check out our blog series for insight into the pros and cons of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest >

Want more insight on using images to improve engagement? Check out our blog >


Longsheng Rice Terrace, China
maurizio damonte / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo


Images can be used in loads of different ways on a website and this will differ depending on the brand. You might need images to support an article you’ve posted, a cool hero image for your latest blog, or an image to welcome visitors to the homepage of your website. No matter what you’re looking for, there are some key guidelines any website should follow when it comes to images:

  1. Always use high resolution imagery

This means no watermarked images and no blurry, pixelated images. Nothing gives off an unprofessional signal more than poor quality imagery (and bad spelling!), so be sure to use a high-resolution image that is free from watermarks.

  1. Make sure you have permission to use the images on your site

This is where a stock photography agency like Alamy comes in. Buying your images through Alamy will give you the peace of mind that you’re fully licensed to use images in the way you want to. Using an image without the right license could result in legal action being taken.

  1. Optimise your images for website use

As with most forms of image display, websites have an optimum resolution where your images will look their very best. When using an image online, the recommendation is a resolution of 72ppi. Find out how to tell if an image file size is big enough >

Remember: if you want to use images for any type of advert or post boost on your site, a website license won’t cover you for this. You’ll need to explore our advertising licenses.

So, where do you need to go to find website imagery?

How to find it on Alamy:

Recommended search strings

business (“large enterprise” or corporate or corporation) (smart or formal or suit)

business (sme or smb or small or “start up” or startup or “home business”)

Where to look on Alamy:

The exact imagery you’re looking for will depend on your brand, but here are some common themes from

Top tip: if you want to incorporate your brand colours in the imagery you choose, use the colour wheel filter to search for images that perfectly suit your brand


Young people in the office
Goran Bogicevic / Alamy Stock Photo


Whatever type of advert you’re creating, you’ll find plenty of images that are perfect for advertising use. From images that encapsulate diversity to photos of ordinary people sitting in their living rooms, here are our top tips on finding the most engaging and effective imagery for your adverts.

What makes an engaging image for an ad?

  • Authentic, un-staged imagery – one of the biggest trends in advertising right now is the use of emotional appeal through using real people in advertisements. It is easier for someone to relate to an ordinary person than it is to a celebrity, likewise if they see a familiar setting rather than something unachievable to them. The surge in authentic content in advertising is dominating the advertising world. Find out more in our blog An emotional approach to advertising
  • Images with copy space – an advertising staple. An image with copy space will never go out of style – it’s the perfect blend of eye-catching and informative. What’s more, it’s bang on trend right now as minimalist, simple designs are back in fashion
  • Relevant images – keep your image choices relevant to a) what your audience are interested in or b) your brand or product. This will help to make sure your advert will appeal to your audience and also help them to identify that your brand is behind the ad campaign

How to find the images you need on Alamy:

Recommended search strings

Copy Space – General: (copyspace or “copy space”) not cutout not “cut out” not “white background” not “on white” not isolated

Copy Space – Specific: A more specific result can be generated by adding a key search term like ‘landscapes’ to the start of the search string, e.g.:

landscapes (copyspace or “copy space”) not cutout not “cut out” not “white background” not “on white” not isolated

Authentic, un-staged imagery

Broad search for breadth of collection: lifestyle (authentic or “real life”)

Specific search: lifestyle (authentic or “real life”) (family or friends) (city or urban)

Where to look on Alamy:


Girl standing in shallow water, making ripples
RooM the Agency / Alamy Stock Photo


The subject matter of the images you use in your presentations will depend largely on the topic you’re presenting on. We have an image license available that is tailored for use in presentation for tools like Powerpoint, so you can rest assured you’re fully covered to use the images you find.

What makes a good image for a presentation?

  1. High-resolution imagery

As with any project, you need to make sure you’re giving off the right impression. One of the best ways to make your presentation look professional is to include high-resolution images within the slides.

  1. Illustrations and graphics

When you’re giving a presentation, graphics and illustrations can be a brilliant way of demonstrating a point whilst making the presentation a little more engaging. Whether you’re presenting financial growth or proposing a new initiative for sustainability, illustrate your message with useful visual aids.

Top tip: for maximum impact, try to use a full slide to display an image. This will give the audience time to take in the contents of the image, as well as making sure they’re paying full attention to you for the context behind the slide as there won’t be any words on the screen.

How to find them on Alamy:

Recommended search strings

graph (arrow or trend or upturn or downturn or “pie chart” or “bar graph”)

concept (money or profit or loss or business or corporate)

Where to look on Alamy:


Increasing graph and sales word on blackboard background
Jason Winter / Alamy Stock Vector


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