Design suggestions when you lack images

I’m looking at a potential job and am curious to get some input into design suggestions when there’s a lack of good quality images.

The job would be for a recreational camping site so I’d be hesitant to use stock photography - I think potential customers would want to see the actual campsite. It’s not really feasible for me to go out and create images myself (partly because of proximity and partly my own inability to do a worthwhile job) and I don’t know that they’ve got the budget/appetite to hire a photographer (their original ask was just around making their current site mobile-friendly).

So I’m curious if anyone has any examples of sites (they don’t have to be your own) that look nice visually but don’t rely on images, knowing that it is a recreational / tourist / vacation sort of website.

(To be clear, there are plenty of images but none that would suit hero headers or nice background images, which tends to be a big part of my designs lately)

why don’t you go to unsplash-com, the best photography, the best photographers and the best yet: totally free for the asking, just give the photographers credit!
i use it all the time, it’s simply great! cheers,


I agree. Chose some Unsplash photos and request that they either takes some or get professional photos done when the weather is good which you can swap for the Unsplash images. They very likely won’t get any photos and will live with the Unsplash ones.

I have seen some great drone photos used for camp sites and they can make an otherwise dull looking campsite look interesting and dramatic.

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I may get a few carefully selected stock photos for the ‘splashier’ images, and then just use what they currently have in more selective places where the size is ok to be restricted. There seemed to be a few from Pexels which could plausibly pass as their general area of the world. I’ll check Unsplash too.

I’ll encourage them to get proper photos/videos done. It’s set near a lake and mountains so it may be that their membership has access to some good imagery that they aren’t aware of.

A great way to get good photos is for the client to run a photo competition for guests to send in photos of the stay. I did this with a yacht club and the resulting photos were perfect.


For a touristy / recreational / camping website, I would definitely consider exploring options for hand drawn illustrations, maps, sketches etc.

Some nice inspiration here:

Consider a design a bit like a treasure map:

Then you can reserve the few small or poorer quality images you have to place these within the written content.

You do not have to make it really ‘middle earth’ cartoonish. But hand drawn illustrations are something almost anybody can do with limited budget and make for quite an eye-catching / distinctive page design.


Here’s a site with pretty limited photography that does the job via illustrations.


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Do they have an Instagram account or hashtag that people upload to?

Here is a great campsite at one of my favourite beaches -

BTW that first view of the beach is exactly what you can see from the front of the campsite which is a flat field at the top of a ridge.

Not every campsite has a great view but I do think good images are really important in selling a campsite. This site is a perfect example of when you see that first image you are instantly sold and want to click book.

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