Browse by...
Home Resources GUIDES

Table of Contents


Not everyone has the time or budget to shoot their own high-quality images for their email campaigns. We get it. That takes a lot of time and money that many organizations don’t have or want to spend—especially in times like these where the future of a volatile market is even more unknown than usual.

That’s why 40% of our customers source their images from stock websites. But sometimes it feels like you have to search for hours to find just one decent stock image you can use.

And everyone knows that images are an integral part of your company’s branding. They evoke emotion and connect with your audience on a personal level. In fact images are the most popular content type that our customers add into their email designs. The right image means click-throughs and conversions, while the wrong image can create such dissonance with your audience that they unsubscribe.

Email marketers told us they were frustrated with the time they were wasting just to find mediocre images. That’s why we’re introducing the new Free Image Gallery for our customers.

Now you can access beautiful, high-resolution images from Unsplash directly in our drag-and-drop email builder, saving you time and stress. We love their library so much, we’ve pulled every image in this guide from their collection!


Chapter 1

Why free images from Unsplash

No need to spend time trawling through stock image sites or uploading images manually. Instead, you’ll now have quick access to free Unsplash images directly in the drag-and-drop email builder.

You can search by topic for a free image that suits your message and design, then drop it straight into the email. You’ll be able to create and send with confidence, knowing the right image for every message is at your fingertips.

Razzle dazzle that converts

Draw from millions of hand-picked, high-resolution photos guaranteed to impress subscribers and get results.

Drag-and-drop convenience

Search by topic for the right image in moments and insert it directly into your email. No fuss, no time wasted sifting through low-quality images.

Premium quality, on the house

Save budget from shooting or sourcing your own photography. All Unsplash images in the Free Image Gallery are exactly that – free!

Sign-up for free and start amazing your subscribers with imagery that motivates, excites, and amazes.

Already a customer? Sign in.

A free stock photo you can find in the Free Images Gallery

About Unsplash

You don’t have to be an email design expert to curate branded photos for your emails, but even the most diligent designers will be impressed with Unsplash’s collection of photos by more than 200,000 photographers. Founded as a blog with ten photos in 2013, Unsplash has since grown into the most used image asset platform in the world. 

With more than 2 million images to choose from, you’ll always be able to find free stock images that represent your brand, your mission, and your values. Plus, you can send with confidence knowing you’ve got the correct permissions for your email designs. 

Chapter 2

How to use the Free Image Gallery

The best thing about the Free Image Gallery is that it’s just as quick and easy to use as any other Campaign Monitor feature. Simply type the topic you’re looking for into the search bar and select an image to drop into your design.

We’ve saved our customers over 300 hours of image search and upload time since we launched this feature.

See Free Image Gallery in action:



Give it a try. Sign in.

Chapter 3

How we stack up against the competition

While some other ESPs have free stock images, very few have such a seamless integration within an intuitive drag-and-drop email builder. Our Free Image Gallery allows you to search through over two million free images for the perfect option, and then drag it straight into your design, all without leaving the email builder. 

That’s something you’ll find almost nowhere else.

Chapter 4

Best email design practices

There are a few key tips to remember when designing with images in your email.

1. Don’t ignore your brand guidelines.

It’s easy to just throw in whatever image strikes you, but that’s not necessarily the best design choice. Yes, you want visually striking images, but there are a lot of good-looking images you’ll find on Unsplash in a variety of styles. 

Consistency is key. If one email looks drastically different from the next, your message won’t have any continuity and your subscribers won’t feel familiar with your brand. You don’t want the content of your emails to be a surprise. 

That doesn’t mean that if you send an image with a certain person, that person should always be in your photos; sending the exact same images every time will be boring to your readers. Instead, you’ll want to find images that have a similar tone and feel to them, that share visual similarities, like the images we’ve used in this post and a few we’ve gathered here.

Free stock images you can find in the Free Images Gallery

Just like your brand copy sounds a bit different based on platform—a whitepaper won’t have the same tone as a tweet—so too can you use a variety of images, as long as that tone remains consistent and familiar throughout.

The most important thing is to make sure you’re choosing images that resonate with your brand elements and strengthening the connection people have with you as a business. 

2. Do choose thoughtful images.

Remember that inclusive marketing means more than just making sure you have a variety of people in your photos. You’ll also want to consider how those people are being presented and how the connection with your email’s message could affect those people. For instance, you don’t want to fall into the trap of reiterating stereotypes or sending negative messages about the people featured in your stock photos. 

A free stock photo you can find in the Free Images Gallery

You’ll also want to consider the clothing the people are wearing and the copy surrounding the stock image. You’re telling a story, so you want to make sure your email and the images all send the message you mean to send.

3. Don’t forget to test your free stock images.

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a stock image for your email. Should you include more humans in your stock photos? Do images of technology resonate with your audience and support your branding? Maybe you want to try images with a dark aesthetics vs. those with a lighter feel. 

The great news is that you can easily A/B test these images to see which ones elicit the desired response from your audience. You’ll be able to say with confidence which email is the right one to send.

Create one email and then take the two images you want to test and send them to a small portion of your most-engaged subscribers. You’ll be able to see which image receives the most engagement and then send that out to the rest of your list. That way, you’ll be able to say for certain that you’re sending the email that will get the best results.

You don’t have to decide right away what images you’ll feature in your emails. And just because you choose an image today doesn’t mean you are stuck only using similar images forever. The important thing to remember is to keep your overall branding and message consistent and test, test, test!

4. Don’t forget alt text.

Alt text can be the difference between an inclusive experience and an unsubscribe. Alternative text is the backup text that provides a description of your image, and it’s what screen readers use to get a description of an image. Alt text is also what will display if your images get blocked.

Alt text is hugely important for accessibility reasons. Screen readers pick up alt text and read that to the user. Without that alt text being read, your email will likely not make a ton of sense. Imagine alienating a portion of your audience with every single email you send. When you don’t include alt text formulated for screen readers, you leave out a huge number of your subscribers. 

Marketing should be inclusive and that means being sure your emails are accessible to everyone. Click here to read more about using alt text in your emails.


A free stock image you can find in the Free Images Gallery

Chapter 5

Wrap up

Sign up today and you can send your first email on day one. At Campaign Monitor, we are constantly improving and adding features that make our customers’ jobs easier and more enjoyable. The Free Image Gallery is one more way that we plan to reduce our customers’ frustrations and help them send with confidence every time.

The right images transform your email. Vibrant pictures from Unsplash can make it seem like you have an enterprise-sized marketing department behind you, whether you’re a team of one or a team of one hundred. And now you can find those images in less time, without ever leaving Campaign Monitor.

Straight to your inbox

Get the best email and digital marketing content delivered.

Join 250,000 in-the-know marketers and get the latest marketing tips, tactics, and news right in your inbox.


Get started with Campaign Monitor today.

With our powerful yet easy-to-use tools, it's never been easier to make an impact with email marketing.

Try it for free
Contact Sales