Getting the right images to accompany your blog post is crucial. It’s a key part in how your readers perceive the post while they’re on the page.
Just as importantly, the influence continues well after they leave. A good quality, highly shareable image affects your ability to draw more readers to your post. It can limit or extend the reach of your promotion and therefore your traffic.
Ideally we’d all have access to a stockpile of stunning images we’d taken ourselves. But it will never be possible to capture all the subjects we need for the purpose of our blog.
So what’s the alternative?
Today I’m going to introduce you to some sites I know of. Each of the sites offer royalty free, cost free images which are able to be used on blogs. However when it comes to images you must always, always:
ALWAYS check the licences of individual photos and follow the terms appropriately
Be bloggy cool bloggy peeps.
The sites are a mix of subscription, registration and do nothing to download. Make your way through the list and bookmark the ones you like.
Bigfoto is a travel image library. The photos are contributed by amateur photographers and all you need to do is provide a link to the site. As with all the contribution-based sites, the images vary in quality.
Canva is primarily a photo-editing site but it includes an image library which allows you to insert them into your own designs. A number of these are free.
Creative Commons is a great search tool. It’s not a search engine itself but uses the search services of a number of sites including Flickr, Youtube and ccMixter and several more to locate royalty free images.
Death to the Stock Photo is a subscription service offering high-quality, uber cool images.
Foter has almost 200 million free Creative Commons images from multiple online sources. You’ll no doubt find what you need from this massive collection.
Free Images (dot co uk) is definitely one of the stockier of stock photo sites. But it’s got thousands of photos and some good categories to aid your searches.
Free Images (dot com) is similarly stock photoly but with hundreds of thousands of images you’ll usually find something you like.
FreePhotoBank is another free stock photo site. The photos here are relatively good ones.
Freerange is a bit of a mix of amateur photos and better stock photos. The better ones are reason enough to check it out but for the life of me apart from the search function I can’t find any categories to make the browsing an easier task.
Free Stock Photos have more free stock photos!
Function is actually a design blog but has a few collections of photos taken by the blogger, Liam Mckay. The photos are styley and are released under “The Do What The Fuck You Want To Public Licence”. Seriously.
Gratisography is an online collection of quirky, high-res photos that are free to download. If you’re looking for gorgeous and witty images, you’ll find them here.
Imagebase is a collection of photos mostly taken by David Niblack. The images are provided for use ‘as if they were in the public domain’. Cool. They’re ok quality but worth checking out.
IM Free is a collection of free resources available for commercial use. It’s well-curated and the photos are all decent.
Little Visuals is another subscription service. After you sign up you’ll get 7 high res photos in your inbox every 7 days. They’re lovely and great quality.
Love from Ginger is a design, crafts and diy blog which includes a section of free photos. If you’re after cute, pretty or crafty this’ll be your scene.
Morguefile is a library of images which are a mix of the traditional stock photos as well as some lower end photos. Photographers can upload their own images and some are more amateur than others. Having said that it’s got a good sized range to choose from.
New Old Stock offers vintage photographs from public archives free from any known copyright. There are some beautiful images available here.
Open Photo is a photo sharing platform where photographers offer their images free of charge under terms of Creative Commons licensing. As with all the sites it’s best to check the individual photos for any specific or varied terms. They’re pretty good quality.
Photober has a small collection of images but they’re nice ones. You may luck out and find just the subject matter you need here.
Photo Everywhere is a cool site with good quality travel stock images. I like how you can search using keywords or the interactive map.
Photogen interestingly enough started off life as a commercial stock photo site but switched to a freebie one in 2006. Subsequently they’ve grown a huge repository of stock photos.
Photopin isn’t a stand alone library but it offers a way to search Flickr for Creative Commons photos. It makes Flickr more accessible for us blogger types.
Photos Public Domain offer good quality images with both category browse or keyword search ability. You don’t need a credit or link back but of course one’s always appreciated.
Picjumbo is the site of Viktor Hanacek who offers his own photos for free and for any purpose apart from installing them on your own photoshare site. Fair nuff. His terms include “One thing I would really appreciate is an attribution. It’s up to you, it is not necessary but greatly appreciated!” You can’t say no to that. And his photos are good.
Picmonkey is a photo editor which offers a couple of images anyone can use. They’re good to practice their editing tools on.
Pixabay is another self upload site. The library is similar to Morguefile’s in size and content although I find Pixabay leans more towards stock photos and there are a few photographers that offer consistently good fare. You can always follow the ones you like.
Pixel Perfect offer decent quality images, backgrounds and other design elements for free.
Public Domain Archive contains hundreds of high res public domain images. Some of them are pretty big so may make loading time a bit slower but they’re awesome pics. Not surprising since they come from Unsplash. They’re just organised in an accessible way for you. It may be that the images will eventually be sourced from a variety of other sites.
Public Domain Photos offer OMG I’m running out of relevant adjectives. I’m sure you can guess what they have.
Public Domain Pictures have yes, you guessed it – public domain pictures.
RGBStock is a bit more bog standard stock photo ish. But it’s got a huge library so might just have what you’re after.
Splitshire is graphic designer and photographer Daniel Nanescu’s site from which he shares his own photos for free. The terms include this line (sic) “The only thing I am aksing to you is to spread the word around, it will be greatly appreciated.” You gotta love that. And the photos are gorgeous.
Stock Free Images has over a million photos. It’s run by Dreamstime but offers images donated by Dreamstime contributors. The small, web images are free for registered users (a free process) and high res large images cost. Like many of the more traditional style of stock photo site, there’s some cheesiness to get past to find the images you want.
Stockpholio is another search aggregate site. It’s got this cool little feature where it suggests random search terms. I’ve found some awesome photos this way!
Superfamous Studios is the site of designer Folkert Gorter. The image subjects are mostly of the natural world. They’re really good photos and you just need to provide credit.
I adore Unsplash. After subscribing, you get sent 10 stunning photos every 10 days. Check out the archives (which are downloadable) for a taste of the mucho yummy visuals on offer here.
Wikimedia Commons has a huge range of images where the copyright has lapsed, bringing them into the public domain.
Whew and thanks!
I hope you found this list helpful. It’d be super awesome if you wanted to share it with anyone else you think might find it useful.
I’ll update this post every now and then so do let me know if there are any other good image repositories you think would be good to add.
I have been using a number of these for a while but I did want to thank a couple of bloggers who introduced me to a few new sites. They are:
Rachel of Rachel is Elsewhere – a smart lifestyle blog. Rachel is also the creator of the fabulous #NZ Bloggers.
Marianne of Design Your Own Blog – a resource laden site focussed on enabling bloggers to create and enhance their own blogs.