There are many benefits to using stock photos in your wellness business, but there is a right way and a wrong way to use stock photos. Let’s take a closer look at this.

How to use stock photos

Stock photos can make your life easier. If you have ever tried to take professional looking images of food, exercise or just lifestyle photos you will know how time consuming it is. And it is hard to have the best lighting, the best looking vegetables or the best yoga pose for every piece of content or social media post that you do.

You should choose wellness stock photos from sites that provide these. I list a few options below. The stock photos should match your brand as much as possible. That doesn’t mean the colours have to be perfect, but look for a look that seems to match. If you do bright and colourful, then a black and white photo will look out of place.

When using stock photo sites, don’t forget to check the usage rights. Most photos will say they can be used for commercial or non commercial use. They will also include if attribution (saying where you got the photo) is required. If it isn’t you are not obligated to but I think it is good karma to include it when you can.

Especially if you are using photos from free sites, try making the picture unique. Some ways you can make a stock photo look unique are:

  • crop just a part of it
  • flip it 
  • use a filter
  • Create a collage
  • Add an overlay 

Even if it is a stock photo you can still make it look different from the other uses. But make sure that the usage rights allow modifications.

Mix in your own photos whenever you can. I’ve found that even on platforms like Pinterest I seem to get more clicks when I’ve used my own images.

Using stock photos for your wellness business

What not to do

Make sure you are using stock photos from a site which allows this. Don’t just download an image off of the internet, photos you find on the internet are not public property, but have digital rights associated with them. 

Try to avoid using photos you have seen before, especially in more than one place. I usually try to scroll down the page a ways, especially if I’m looking at something generic like a scale.

Avoid fake looking photos. Photos that are obviously staged make it hard for your ideal client to relate to. A good example of this is the woman holding an apple photo.

Don’t use stock images in places where someone might confuse them as being you. A shot of a woman smiling in a kitchen shouldn’t be on the home page of your website, unless the smiling woman is you.

Sites for free stock photos

Especially when you are starting out you don’t need to pay for great photos. You may have to search longer to find the right photo, but it is possible to find free stock photos. Here are some of my favourite sites for free stock photos:


Pixabay has a ton of free photos. You can find lot’s of good stock images here and also lots of cheesy ones. They also have vector graphics and illustrations that can help to add some interest to handouts and webpages. You can also filter by colour, and orientation to find exactly what you are looking for.


Unsplash is another hugely popular free photo site. The thing I like most about Unsplash is the ability to create collections of photos. I do find that the search capabilities are not quite as good as Pixabay.


Pexels is another free stock photo site. If you are looking for photos in a particular colour, then Pexels is the place for you. You can search by colour hex code and photos will come that contain the colour you are looking for. Pexels also has the ability to create collections of photos.


Canva is one of the most popular web based graphic design platforms. It also has a library of free stock photos. This makes it super easy to create web page graphics and social media graphics by just dragging and dropping the photo you want to use.

I was surprised to discover that Canva actually owns Pexels and Pixabay. And many of their photos are included in Canva for free.

Sites for paid stock photos


Shutterstock is one of the most well known stock photo sites. It is also one of the most expensive. You can choose a monthly membership or pay for a choice of photos. 


iStockphoto is another popular paid stock photo site. They have some great search options which allow you to find exactly what you are looking for.


Canva also includes paid photos if you go with the paid plan. If you are creating a lot of social media content, especially for a platform like Pinterest, the paid plan has many uses.

Wellness Stock Shop

The Wellness Stock Shop has stock photos that are just for wellness businesses. You can get a free sample photo and you can get a starter pack to see if you like the looks of these photos. If you find enough that match your brand, you can get a monthly membership for unlimited photos.


Stock photos can help to simplify your wellness business. But use them with care so they attract your ideal client, not repel them. Poor use of stock photos is a common mistake that health coaches make with their websites. To discover other mistakes you might be making (and how to fix them), download this free guide.


About the Author

As a personal trainer, nutrition coach and virtual assistant I know what it takes to be successful in the wellness industry.

Check out the wellness business resources

Your first class is 100% free. Click the button below to get started!