As an online content creator and/or publisher, you know the value of including images in your content. Images add an aesthetic, visual component to your posts that helps better illustrate your message and attract reader attention. A picture speaks a thousand words. It can tell a story and capture a feeling in ways that words alone can’t. Simply using the right image can transform your post from drab to fab very quickly.
However, many of us are not photographers and we find we have to use someone else’s photos to illustrate our posts. When a picture is owned by someone else, it is protected by copyright. That means the owner decides how their image is available for use by other people. In this case, the general rule is you can’t use a copyrighted work unless you get express authorization from the owner.
So, where do web content writers, publishers and other freelancers find free images to use online when they can’t afford to pay for premium stock photos? There are many places to find free images to use online. Here are some of the best places for hi-resolution free stock photos online.
Flickr is arguably the best online photo management and sharing site where you can find free images for your website. Several billion images have been uploaded to the site since the site was established in 2004. It is difficult not to find the image you need here. Many images have all rights reserved by the owner, but a large percentage of the images are available under the Creative Commons Attribution license, meaning the image can be used on your website as long as you give the original photographer credit.
Wikimedia Commons is another favorite place to find free images online. The site is owned by Wikimedia Foundation and hosts over twenty million images and media files. The images are generally high quality and free to use.
This site offers royalty free, premium stock photos and illustrations that are perfect for both online and offline projects, including images for advertising materials, newspapers, magazines, e-books and book covers. All the small sized images are available for free.
Pixabay is a directory of free public domain images, drawings and vectors. Images are uploaded under the Creative Commons Public Domain license, which means no attribution link is required to use the photos.
MorgueFile is a searchable database of free images with great filtering options. You are free to adapt the images and use them for commercial purposes without attributing the original author.
ImageBase is another searchable database of free images. Images are free to use anyhow you want, including for non-profit, commercial, business, print and web projects. You are not required to credit the original author or the site. Basically, you can treat the images as if they were in the public domain.
FreeImages is an archive of stock photos you can use under an attribution license. Just download and use the images free of charge for both personal and commercial projects in websites, products and even printed materials.
OpenPhoto provides images with different copyright requirements, which are clearly and concisely defined. Many images are available under the Creative Commons licenses and typically require an attribution link.
Unsplash is a site built on Tumblr that releases ten new high-resolution images every ten days that you can use however you want. Subscribe via e-mail and the images will be delivered strait to your inbox.
NewOldStock is another Tumblr powered site that provides vintage photos from public archives. You can find authentic, high resolution, vintage-looking images here. Images have no restriction and are free to use.
GettyImages made more than thirty five million stock photos freely available to anyone early in 2014. All you have to do is click on the embed icon and then paste the code of the image into your post or web page.
There you have it—best free stock image sites! Do you know of any other great sites that provide high quality images completely free? Leave a note in the comments and let us all know about them.
Image via Pixabay
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by Hugh MacLeod
Ever wonder what it really takes to make a living as a creative person in today's complicated world?
MacLeod presents some witty keys for creative success, including "ignore everybody. Why should you "ignore everybody"?
Because, he writes, nobody else can tell you whether your idea is worthwhile. People can give you advice, but at the end of the day, it's your decision. The more original an idea, the less helpful the advice is going to be.
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