A picture is worth a thousand words. Many times the right image will draw someone into reading your blog article when a headline may not give the heaviest punch all alone. Pictures help to set the mood and even assist you in explaining the point you want to get across. Photos leave a lasting impression.
It’s great when you can take your own photographs, but sometimes either the subject or lighting or your equipment (or skill) doesn’t allow you to get the right shot. This is where free images online can be an incredible service. You just need to know where to find them. Here is a list of sites I use to find free images (don’t forget to offer the right attribution when necessary).
Even some of the sharpest content marketers have no idea that Google Advanced Search exists. You’ll be asked to specify “usage rights.” Here’s a quick guide to what you need to know on this front:
- free to use or share
These images are for using and sharing on non-commercial websites, like personal blogs.
- free to use or share, even commercially
These images can be used or shared on all websites—including commercial ones.
- free to use, share, or modify
These images can be freely used, shared or modified for non-commercial websites, in ways specified in the license.
- free to use, share, or modify, even commercially
These images are free for use, sharing, or modification—even commercially, in ways specified in the license. (source: prdaily.com)
Stock.Xchng is a photographic library with over 40,000 images from very talented photographers. It will be incredibly important for you to check the Usage Rights on the images before you download and post anything.
Loads of public domain images, videos and audio files for you to use.
CompFight is a super-fast, easy-to-use alternative to Flickr Search. Be sure to narrow your search results by either Creative Commons or Commercial-Use search results, as the default settings may return options that aren’t free for business use. (source: prdaily.com)
This is a wonderful resource library of photographs taken by professionals and hobbyists alike. With 1TB of free usage to each uploader the possibilities are almost endless. Just make sure to search for the Creative Commons license that best suits your usage.
The Open Clip Art library is the largest Webresource for free, small cartoonish images, religious icons, and calligraphy letters. It’s the perfect place to find website icons, or small images to add a minimalistic bent to your blog posts.
Virtually all search results will be licensed for free use (and if they aren’t, it’s going to be clearly specified). It might not be the best option if you’re in a pinch, because its built-in search engine doesn’t always return the right results for highly specific queries. (source: prdaily.com)
The images on Morgue File are free for you to use AFTER you’ve remixed them in some way. As long as you don’t plan to sell the final product then the sky is the limit.
Do you hate searching through awkward or low-quality stock images before finding just the right photo to use on your website? Every Stock Photo is more than just a search engine for free photos; it’s got a focus on high quality.
Users are able to both rate and tag the comment, enabling you to retrieve only the best and most-relevant options when you search. Because it pulls from multiple websites, citation requirements can vary. Be sure to read the specifications on each photo carefully. (source: prdaily.com)
Large library of royalty free images. There are also paid options from Getty Images and other places online.
This is my favorite service to use to find photos from Flickr. It handles the massive database really well and you can search by keyword. PLUS, it offers you simple HTML which includes the attribution necessary when posting on WordPress or another CMS. What I like to do just in case a photo is later removed from Flickr is to follow the link to the image I want and then I download the size I want. Then I upload it to my site and use the HTML attribution code as the caption of my image.
This is my favorite site by far to find good quality images. No attribution is needed and only high quality photos are included in the database. There is even a Pixabay plugin for WordPress which allows you to search and upload images directly from their site to yours.
Now, here is how to give credit properly:
When attributing the image, you want to cite the author with the link going back to the work. The very basic way is to just write: “image source” and link it directly to the image. If you want more details on best practices for citing images, here is a good post that gives examples of the best ways to do it.
Keep in mind; many sources for royalty-free images have their own specifications on how to properly cite images. It’s crucial to completely read and understand a site’s policies before taking their photos for commercial use. (source: prdaily.com)