We’ve all heard the saying “a picture is worth 1,000 words,” and that’s certainly true on the internet. New bloggers always want to know where to get free images and paid images for their site. Some of them just search Google Images and use those images on their blog. That’s understandable, but it’s risky – in most cases, that is probably illegal. Please keep in mind that you should use the resources at your own risk, read the license and restrictions, give credit if required and if you have any doubts about the image, do not use it. That said, it is very important to add images to all of your blog posts to improve your search engine traffic, add some personality to your blog, drive home the main point of your blog post, and so on. So you do want to be using images, just check carefully for the specific usage rights before using any particular one.
To help you get started, you can find a variety of resources for free photographs listed below. They are free to use, but may have copyright and usage restrictions. Some of them may call for registration, use only on non-commercial sites, a link back to the source, or similar restrictions. Royalty-free images are also purchased images; you do not have to pay a royalty for every single time you use them, but they have strict rules about usage and cannot be used in products that you plan to make available for resale.
Stock.xchng has a large collection of neatly categorized and tagged images. It is easy to find an image by browsing or searching. Most of the images are high in quality, suitable for use in website as well as in presentations. Be aware that many people use resources like these, so tailor your search to be specific. If you search for “business”, for example, lots of images would show up like you see on other websites, but if you look for a niche-specific search term, you will get more precise images that are not in wide use.
Flickr is a major resource for images, but many of these have restricted use. Not every image on Flickr or the web is free to use. Check thoroughly for usage rights, and if in doubt, get permission or don’t use the image. Check out Flickr’s Public Domain Photos’ Photostream for images specifically marked as public domain.
Creative Commons search offers an easy way to search across multiple websites for images. But you should understand their licenses. In most of the cases, acknowledgement is required in the manner specified by the copyright owner. A link back to the source material generally satisfies the attribution requirement. As a result, you will get access to more sources, and you can use unique images to look great with your content.
One of the best, kept up-to-date lists for images and graphics in the public domain for free use is Wikipedia:Public domain image resources. This is a great place to start your search, as their list includes government collections and resources, special subject-based collections, and more.
5. Photo Pin
Photo Pin uses the Flickr API to search for Creative Commons licensed photographs. Most of the photographs require attribution like Creative Commons. Visually, Photo Pin’s search is appealing and easier to use. At first in your search, you will get sponsored photographs, so you need to scroll down to see the actual results. The sponsored results will direct you to a third party stock photography website to purchase the license for the image. But the actual results will display a larger view of the image in a light box, with links to download that image in different sizes. It will also provide a link that you can insert into your post to attribute the image.
WikiMedia Commons, a project of Wikimedia Foundation, is a large library of images, photographs, drawings, illustrations, audio, and video files that can be used freely. The images can be browsed based on license. A large number of images are free to use without any attribution. Some images have Creative Commons license requiring attribution; you can see which requirements are in place below each image.
StockPhotosforFree, a free stock photo website, boasts a pleasant interface and an organized library with a good collection of images. Most of those images are still shots which have been taken from HD quality videos. Registration is required before downloading any images, however.
Open Clip Art library is the best place to look for free clipart, icons, and vector image. All are free to use, modify, and build upon those images. A lot of them are in SVG vector graphic format and in PNG format. The library is organized in tags, categories and collections.
The internet is a big place so there is plenty more where that came from. Take a look at some of these other sites if you need to look further:
- Aarin Free Photo
- Getty Images – Royalty Free Images
- Image Base
- Free Stock Photos
- A Digital Dreamer
- Barry’s Free Photos
- Big Foto
- Design Packs Photos
- Fontplay Free Photos
- Free Digital Photos Net
- Free Foto
- Free Images UK
- Free Photographs Net
- Image After
- Morgue File
- NWYH Stock Images
- Open Photo
- Picture Station
- Pixel Perfect Digital
- PD Photo
- Picdrome Public Domain Copyright-Free Pictures
- Stock Vault
After getting the image you are looking for, you can crop and edit it by using your favorite image editing program. You can also add additional image sizes in WordPress, which automatically generates the right size upon uploading the image. You can also tag images in WordPress, to organize your media library efficiently; once uploaded, you can refer back to previously used images and add them to later posts without having to upload them again.