Searching for Mockup Photos

Looking for good mockup photos can feel like searching for buried treasure. Free stock websites like and have great photos but it can be so hard to find them within the website.


Here are a few strategies to help your search:


Search Terms. It might seem counter-intuitive, but “mockup” isn’t a great search term for finding mockup photos, because the results are usually just photos of computer screens, packaging, cell phones or picture frames — all with cut-out white areas to place your art. They generally look flat, sterile and/or unrealistic:

Another search term I rarely use is “white” because you don’t need to limit yourself to white objects. If you find the perfect tote bag photo but the bag is pink, don’t worry — you can easily remove the color in Photoshop (as long as it isn’t a super dark color). Mockup Academy classes 1 & 3 show you how.


Follow the bread crumbs. If your search results aren’t quite what you’re looking for, click on the photo that’s the best of the bunch. Most sites will then show you similar photo options that might be a better fit. But if they aren’t, then repeat the process, clicking on the best similar photo and seeing what that leads to.


Study the tags. When you find a photo that’s close to what you want, look for the list of tags assigned to the image. They’re usually beneath the photo or at the end of the page. These tags will give you other ideas for search terms to try. For example, I was looking for photos of dishes. I searched “table setting” which brought me to a photo tagged with “cookery” and “crockery.” These aren’t common terms in the U.S., so I never would have thought of them as search terms — but “crockery” lead me to a perfect dish photo!


Search for moods and environments as well as objects. If you are looking for a mug photo, by all means search for “mug” but also try searching for terms like “cozy” or “coffee shop” that might result in interesting mug photos too. Or, if you need a dress photo, instead of searching for “white dress”, try “casual wear” or “beach fashion” or even “summer day.”

Bonus words. Here are some terms you can try adding to your searches:

  • Adding “flat lay” or “high angle” to your search usually results in photos taken from above, which is good for dishes, journals, etc.
  • “Object” usually results in photos without a background. For example, searching “Dress Object” might give you photos of a dress on a hanger or laying flat on a white background, as opposed to a person wearing a dress.

Build a library. If you’re searching for a dress photo, and happen to see a beach towel photo that would make a good mockup, download it — even if you don’t need a beach towel mockup right now! Put it in a folder on your computer labelled Mockup Library and continue to add photos as you find them. That way, next time you need an image you might already have it in your library!


Kris Ruff


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