If you’re scrambling to find free images for your blog or social media content, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve spent the time to compile the most comprehensive list of high-quality photography and graphics for your business.
If you’re an online entrepreneur, I’m sure you value content marketing and know it’s a fantastic way to build that “know, like, and trust” factor for your business. Obviously the blog posts or social media posts have to be high quality, though, right? After all – we’re committed to excellence and we don’t do stuff half-assed. But you might find yourself wondering where to find free stock images?!
Before I talk about some of my favorite resources for finding free images, I want to make sure you are aware WHY it’s important that you use stock images or royalty-free images.
No, you can’t just search for an image on Google search and use that.
Ever heard of copyright? You don’t want to get in trouble for publishing someone’s photo on your blog (even if you credit them!) if they haven’t given you permission to do so. What if they find out you did that? Well, the best that can happen (on the bad spectrum) is they ask you to take it down. The worst? They sue you.
There are a ton of articles about people getting sued but thankfully there are also plenty of articles about blogger beware, educating fellow bloggers and business owners from using other people’s imagery in their content.
Here are a few great articles to check out about the topic:
- Blogger Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Photos You Don’t Own on Your Blog by Roni Loren
- How using Google Images can cost you $8,000 by Kari DePhillips
- How to NOT Break the Law While Marketing by Adria Saracino
So where CAN you find free images to use for your blog? Don’t worry, I’ve got you!
Here are some fantastic sources for getting great imagery for your blog and some social media content, in no particular order.
1. Take your own photos
Surely, the best way to never get in trouble is to simply take your own photos. This takes out all the stress and confusion about copyrights and everything else. For my wellness website, Sensual Appeal, I always tried to include only original photography (since I’m a photographer and all) however as I introduced contributing writers to the website, I had to forgo using this option for each post. I still try to include as much original photography as I can but it’s just simply not realistic all the time.
If you enjoy photography or are good with design, I definitely recommend you go this route for your imagery. It will not only make you stand out from the crowd but also ensure you don’t get sued for stealing other people’s imagery.
That picture up there is from my nightlife & event photography days. If you’re a solopreneur, chances are – you are busy busy BUSY! I can definitely relate. And taking your own photography may not align with where you’re at right now and that’s totally understandable.
Thankfully, there are other ways to get awesome imagery for your blog and social media. Check out the rest of the resources below.
2. Flickr – Creative Commons
One of my favorite websites back in my photography days was Flickr. Not only was it a great way to connect with other photographers and get inspired to continue creating but also to get my work found by publishers. I remember the first time I had one of my photos featured on some website – I was SO excited. Granted, my work was NOT creative commons licensed but I was so thrilled that I didn’t even care.
That is NOT to say it’s okay to use people’s photography that is copyrighted. If you use imagery from Flickr make sure you only consider the images that have a “creative commons” license and you can check the specifications of each.
Make sure to check for the license type and follow the rules.
PicJumbo is definitely my favorite website to find beautiful free images. They have some of the awesomest photography around and their website was one of the first I came across that was doing the whole “anti-typical stock photo” service. And it’s FREE!
Typically you have to pay for stock photography (like iStockphoto and Shutterstock) and the images usually look very… stock-y. Like, you can tell they are “stock” (for commercial use) photos. PicJumbo was one of the first websites I came across (not sure if they were actually first or not) that went against the ugly stock photos and made their beautiful photography accessible to anyone.
PicJumbo was created by Viktor Hanacek – designer who understands the importance of high quality images in a designer’s life. New photos are uploaded daily. There are a ton of gorgeous photography available for free, even for commercial use, with no restrictions. There is a paid membership for $6/month if you want even more from Viktor.
Gratisography is another one of my favorites – their free images are just gorgeous, super high quality as well and are sure to make your blog content stand out from the crowd. The only thing is that you can’t search for it or browse through categories so if you’re looking for anything specific, it might take you a while.
Gratisography is a personal project created by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design. Their beautiful high-resolution images are added weekly, completely free of copyright and have no restrictions.
We’re getting more into the uncategorized goodness – Unsplash has some gorgeous imagery, mostly of landscapes and they are dramatic and intense and oh, so beautiful. I haven’t seen too many pictures of people but I feel like it’s perfect for blog posts about society, relaxation, or crazy dramatic things that happen the world.
Unsplash was created by Crew, which is a matchmaking website for web developers. They post 10 new photos every 10 days, there are no restrictions so you can use them however you want, and they are free of copyright. And if you’re a photographer, you can submit your own work to be featured as well.
6. Little Visuals
Little Visuals is another website that delivers beautiful high quality photography, mostly landscapes and environmental shots – quite moody but more uplifting than Unsplash (at least what I’ve seen). They have a search bar but it doesn’t seem to be working well as each time nothing seems to be found.
The site itself is very minimal with a single column that delivers beautiful free images just like Unsplash. It also features an email subscription which will deliver 7 new images (as opposed to Unsplash’s 10) every seven days. So they’re basically doing the same exact thing as Unsplash, just more frequently. There are also no restrictions on the photography so you can use it however you want without copyright.
7. New Old Stock
If you like the vintage style images, you will enjoy New Old Stock. They provide free vintage imagery that you can use on your blog or social media – that’s definitely something that will help you stand out from the crowd as you don’t see vintage in content marketing very often.
This is a Tumblr site so you can subscribe to it through that. Each of the images is free of known copyrights so you should be fine using it for your own purposes.
8. Death to Stock Photo
Here’s a cool name – Death to Stock Photo is more of an exclusive membership where you can sign up to their list and then you get an email with a zip file of the free stock images you can use. They’re all about putting an end to the ugly typical stock photos and encouraging bloggers and publishers to use higher quality, gorgeous imagery instead. The reason why a membership is cool is that not everyone will be using these images on the internet. Once they’re out for the month, they are out and you can’t get them anywhere else. This makes it easier for you if you’re afraid that you’ll be using images that everyone else has the potential of using.
Their mission is to “make the internet more beautiful”. Death to Stock Photo is an email subscription that sends you free curated photo packs every month, each of the photos come without restrictions so you can use it however you wish.
9. Table19 Stock
Another site that’s similar to Death to Stock Photo is Table19 Stock which is a membership site that delivers handpicked photography delivered straight to your inbox every month. I’ve only been subscribed for 2 months so far (and I think they are fairly new in the free stock images world) but I’ve been pleased with the quality so far.
The website is definitely one of the prettier ones out there (I’m obviously super highly visual and I like gorgeous sleek design more than minimalism). If you’re too impatient to wait a month and want to see the entire gallery of images they have released so far, you can sign up for their paid membership at $10 per month.
Pixabay is yet another website where you can find fabulous photos that have no restrictions. Lots of goodness here.
When you navigate to any of the photos you find, they will tell you how you are able to use the photo (if it’s free for commercial use, etc) and another cool thing (well, if you’re a a photographer) is that they tell you what settings the image was shot with. So it’s a nice little extra bit of knowledge for us photo nerds.
Another gorgeously designed website (oh yes, I like the colors) is SpliShire which provides free images to use in your content similarly as PicJumbo except they don’t seem to be updating it quite as often.
SplitShire is a free stock photography website created by Italian photographer, Daniel Manescu, and all of the photos are his own. He’s quite the good artist there, I definitely enjoy his work. All of the images on the site are free to use without any restrictions so go wild!
12. Life of Pix
Life of Pix is network of photographers added on a weekly basis that contribute to the site’s free stock photography gallery. The images are gorgeous and high-quality and I’m sure you can find something you’d need there. It’s similar to New Old Stock and Little Visuals in that there is no search option.
If you’re a photographer, you can contribute your own work to the gallery as well. All of the photos are free of restrictions so you can use them however you want.
13. Free Good Photos
The website for Free Good Photos isn’t super fancy in terms of design but it’s very helpful if you’re looking for travel photography (as well as some animal and plant photography) to use in your content. The cool thing about this website is that the images are categorized by location – so if you’re looking for images of different countries or states, you can get that here easily.
The photography is all taken by the same person (couldn’t find his name for some reason) and you can use them freely but he does ask that you give him proper attribution by linking to his website.
14. IM Free
IM Free is a free design resource and it has their galleries categorized by genre. If you want people pictures, you can get that; if you want food, you can get that. What makes it different from the other websites out there is that it is geared for designers and also has design templates as well.
IM Free is a part of IMcreator, a free website builder. I’m not very familiar with it so I will leave it at that.
For more high quality images, check out morgueFile. They have free stock images for use in your projects, whether they are commercial-use or personal-use. It’s designed kind of like a social networking site in a way too, where people can favorite and like different photos as well. Adds that social component.
Plus, it tells you how many times an image has been viewed – so if you’re afraid of using the same images as everyone else, this could be a good indicator of whether it’s a popularly used image or not.
Do you know of any other places to find free images online?
These are some of the best high-quality good images you could use but I’m sure there are a TON of other websites out there as well. I have come across many others but I felt there were many repetitive or just not as high of a quality as I’d like so I didn’t bother mentioning them here.
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