Need a photo for a blog post? How about for the background of a great quote you just came across? Maybe you’re creating a proposal and a photo will help explain an idea better than words. There are lots of reasons we use photos. The challenge is finding good photos, and a bigger challenge is finding good FREE photos.
Unless you’re a photographer, you probably don’t carry a camera around with you to take random photos you might need for a future blog post. And you better not be Googling images and downloading them randomly. If you are, you could be violating copyright laws protecting the photos. Back to the challenge of finding photos…
There are lots resources online for purchasing photos, and in some cases, this is the best solution. For instance, you need high resolution, high quality photos to put in your printed marketing brochure, or on product packaging. Or you need photos for your commercial website to use as backgrounds for your sales page, or in the header. In these examples, it’s best to purchase photos you need and adhere to the copyright and licensing agreement of the photo owner.
Now, if you need a cool photo for a blog article, social media post, or a presentation, here is a list of resources I’ve been collecting. Some ask you to provide attribution or create a free account, some don’t.
FREE Photos with Attribution
- http://www.rgbstock.com/ RGB Stock free photos are also copyrighted, and can be used in many non-commercial ways. They retain the rights to edited photos, also. Read the terms carefully.
- http://www.stockfreeimages.com/ StockFreeImages provides free photos, in exchange for image attribution and/or a link back to their website. There are over 1 million searchable images.
- http://foter.com/ Foter actually has a WordPress plugin to help you search over 2 million free photos for use in your blog. The embed code provides all required attribution, no manual entry!
- http://photopin.com/ PhotoPin uses the Flickr API and searches creative commons for free photos to use on your blog with appropriate credit. PhotoPin provides clear instructions for downloading and credits under their FAQ section.
Completely FREE Photos
- http://www.morguefile.com/ Funny name, and kind of creepy, right? Not really, “morgue file” is a newspaper industry term for past production or inactive files. This site is full of completely free photos for you to download and use. There are over 33,000 files you can search through.
- http://freerangestock.com/ Free Range Stock provides quality stock, free photos for commercial and non-commercial use. The site is supported by advertising, so help pay the photographers and click on an ad or two.
- http://deathtothestockphoto.com/ Death To The Stock Photo has a free photo pack they send monthly to mail list subscribers, plus a premium subscription option. In plain English, they state “Use the photos how you please, but don’t redistribute them.” Read the complete terms before using their photos.
- http://www.unprofound.com/ Started by one photographer, this site has grown and there are many contributors of free photos. Everything is free to download for any purpose, no sign up required.
- http://pixabay.com/ Pixabay is a site photographers join and upload their free photos to share. There is no fee to download photos, and all contributors have waived their copyrights to these images. Be nice, and link back to pixabay if you use a free photo!
PLEASE!!! Read all licenses, terms and conditions before using any free photos. It’s important that you don’t violate any copyright laws, because photographers do search and find people who use their photos without proper permission, and there are hefty fines. Want to learn more? Check out http://www.stockphotorights.com/.
Bookmark this page so you can come back whenever you need a free photo. Be generous – share with your friends and colleagues. If you have a favorite source for free photos, let me know in the comments below, and I’ll add it to my list!
‘till next time,