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The ultimate guide to free images for blogs and websites

23 September, 2015

Courtesy of Google Images

Visual content is the Holy Grail when it comes to engagement on social media.

According to Social Media Examiner, photos are also the most engaging type of content on Facebook, with a whopping 87% interaction rate from fans! No other post type receive more than a 4% interaction rate. And adding a photo URL to your tweet can boost retweets by an impressive 35%.

A blog on your website is a great way to generate content to share through your social media sites – and social sharing gives your website’s search engine optimisation (SEO) a boost. Blogs with photos, images and infographics are much more likely to keep a reader’s attention.

But where do you find royalty-free images for blogs and websites?

Pete-Bott-Social-media-LawA quick search on Google images can get you into a lot of trouble. Pete Bott is a Solicitor in the Music, Media & Entertainment Department at Blacks Solicitors LLP in Leeds. As this interview with Pete Bott reveals, sharing images without expressed permission from the copyright owner is classed as a copyright infringement and can lead to the sharer being issued with an immediate fine.

Finding images for websites and blogs can be difficult, as it’s not always clear which images have copyright and which are royalty free.

Where to find images for blogs and websites?

This ultimate guide to free images for blogs and websites shares a comprehensive list of 51 sources of royalty-free images that you can use on your own website or blog. It also includes a list of nine websites that offer high quality images available as a paid-for option. That’s sixty legal places for you to source high-quality images!

Tip: It’s always worth checking the type of licence attributed to the images you use, some require you to credit the artist, with others it’s up to you.

Free images for blogs or websites

  1. http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons – One of the best-known creative commons libraries, Flickr also has a really handy guide to the different licence types and every image is clearly marked so there is no excuse for using the image incorrectly or not crediting the artist if required.
  2. https://unsplash.com/ – With Unsplash you can download images licensed under Creative Commons Zero, which means that you are free to use and modify them as you wish. You can also sign up to get 10 new photos sent to your inbox every 10 days for free.
  3. https://www.canva.com/ – Canva has a library of free-to-use images as well as the option to buy others individually. In Canva, you can use their templates to create infographics, social media images and headers and all manner of marketing media in which to use their images or upload your own into.
  4. http://deathtothestockphoto.com/ – Death to Stock Photo is a fairly new website where you can download directly and have images sent to your email inbox monthly but you can also pay for their premium package.
  5. https://www.pexels.com/ – Pexels uploads 10 new photos daily and you can search their fantastic library from the homepage to find what you’re after.
  6. http://www.lifeofpix.com/ – With new photographs added weekly, Life of Pix is run by Montreal creative agency Leeroy and uses work donated by its network of photographers.
  7. https://stocksnap.io/ – With loads of high-res images added every week, Stocksnap is a great free images resource and the photographers are all linked back to beneath their images so that you can credit them too if you wish.
  8. http://www.stockvault.net/ – Stockvault has a huge selection of photos, textures, 3D renders and graphics to use, covering all styles and themes. When you click to download, you can also choose to donate money to support the site.
  9. http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/ – With Free Digital Photos, you get a small version of various photographs and images for free as long as you credit the contributing artist. You can purchase larger sizes and use those without crediting the artist.
  10. http://www.google.com – You can search for free to use images using Google images by searching then clicking Search Tools > Usage Rights > Labeled For Reuse, however BE CAREFUL! Google only goes by the label attributed to the image and cannot guarantee the actual license.
  11. http://www.shutterstock.com – Whilst Shutterstock is predominantly a paid-for resource as described in the section above, you can sign up via their homepage to receive a free image straight to your inbox every week, which are downloadable for one week.
  12. http://www.raumrot.com – With some absolutely stunning images available to download, Raumrot is a really handy resource with everything you need available from the homepage. The images are actually stored on Flickr, so you are redirected there to download in your chosen resolution.
  13. http://www.frankenfotos.com – Like Raumrot, Franken Fotos is a German site and you will need to allow your browser to translate each page unless Sie sprechen Deutsch! The photographs are really beautiful and the collection is broken down into categories.
  14. http://www.pixabay.com – With over 450,000 free photos, vectors and illustrations, Pixabay is a fantastic option and the search function from the homepage is really effective, whilst you can also search by latest images, artist or leaderboard too.
  15. http://www.isorepublic.com – You can joining ISO Republic to get exclusive free stock photos direct to your inbox, or you can search straight through the website. Based in England, ISO Republic is fairly new on the scene but has some fantastic images.
  16. http://nos.twnsnd.co/ – New Old Stock is a collection of stunning vintage black and white photographs from public archives that will really have a huge visual impact.
  17. http://www.stokpic.com – Stokpic has grown a lot in the last year or so and you can sign up to receive 10 new photos every fortnight for commercial use. The photos cover a huge variety of subjects and are all simple yet beautifully composed shots.
  18. http://superfamous.com/ – The psychedelic homepage of Superfamous belies the incredible landscape, macro and nature photographs available to use. The images are featured under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license, meaning that you can use them as long as credit to the artist – Folkert Gorter – is given.
  19. http://www.splitshire.com – Free downloadable photos featuring many street and landscape shots. As mentioned in the previous section, you can also pay for a premium subscription, which gives you, downloads straight into Dropbox and a bonus photos.
  20. http://www.kaboompics.com – Kaboompics is run by Polish photographer Karolina and has over 1,000 photos available for commercial use, including a lot of good ‘people’ shots that don’t feature faces as well as nature-based photos from around Poland.
  21. http://www.realisticshots.com – Seven new photos a week are added to Realistic Shots, many of which are based on either technology or fitness but there are some gorgeous landscapes available too.
  22. http://www.gratisography.com – This is a really quirky website with some fantastic photos taken by Ryan McGuire which are free to use. The photographs are all a little whimsical and humorous, quite different to many others available.
  23. http://www.picjumbo.com – More technology and people-centred photos with the option to subscribe for photos by email. Premium membership is available as explained in the ‘Paid-For’ section of this article and there’s also a Photoshop plugin available to purchase for $11.99.
  24. http://www.magdeleine.co – This has a great search function in that you can search by the predominant colours of the photo, so you can find images to match the colour scheme of your project. It’s a really simple website, no frill but great photos.
  25. http://www.stockphotos.io – Loads of images available for free as long as credit is given to the photographer. These photos don’t generally seem quite as professional or high quality as many others, but they are still decent images and would be fine for most commercial use.
  26. http://www.photopin.com – PhotoPin is basically a search engine, so you type in the keyword of the image you want and it will search Flickr to find available options.
  27. http://www.imcreator.com – This has photographs, template, icons and all sorts of other web resources separated into easy-to-navigate categories. It does seem to run a little slower than many of the other free stock images websites and has quite a lot of adverts, which may put some people off. That said, there are some great resources on there.
  28. http://www.jaymantri – A travel-inspired photography catalogue that is no-frills but has a nice selection of photos to pick from.
  29. http://www.startupstockphotos.com – Startup Stock Photos is predominantly for start up companies and bloggers but can be used by anyone. Very design and tech orientated with lots of photos of design storyboards and laptops.
  30. http://www.openphoto.net – Open Photo is a sharing platform that has been operating since the late 1990 and offers a huge range of tags to search with some vibrant, eye-catching photos to use.
  31. http://www.beststockphotofree.com – This is a really basic website but the photographs are nice, often with a vintage or sepia feel to them. Most of the photos are taken by a photographer only identified as Carl.
  32. http://www.hiresstock.com – An Indonesian website, this is a little confusing because you get loads of pop-ups about subscribing and paying, but there is a selection of photographs which are free to download.
  33. http://www.mmt.li – This a lovely, simple website with some really nice nature photography available to download.
  34. http://www.freeepy.com – Photographs by Pavel Barysevich, mostly outdoors objects or office equipment. Some lovely different perspectives of everyday views and objects.
  35. http://www.duellingpixels.com – Duelling Pixels gives a beautiful new perspective on every day life and the photos are really wonderful. They would be suitable in a wide variety of uses.
  36. http://www.freefilehunt.com – From WordPress themes to stock photos, vectors and fonts, search through hundreds of design files, many of which are free.
  37. http://www.freeimagebank.com – These photographs are absolutely brilliant, so professional and would look great on any type of website or marketing publication. There is the option to pay $2 if you wish to help support the website.
  38. http://www.barnimages.com – Only launched in March 2015, Barn Images is a fantastic collection of high-resolution photos from two Latvian photographers. The photos are simple, eye-catching and there are lots of different categories to view.
  39. http://www.bara-art.com – This really simple WordPress website features some lovely images from a Czech photographer, with much of the content being from the photographer’s homeland.
  40. http://www.freejpg.com.ar – This Argentinian website has some stunning photographs which make you feel like you’re on holiday! You’ll have to allow your browser to translate the page if your Spanish is a bit rusty but the photos speak for themselves.
  41. http://www.photostockeditor.com – Really striking images, many of which use texture over colour to gain maximum effect.
  42. http://www.negativespace.co – Negative Space is a lovely, smooth website with 20 photos added weekly. You can sort by category, copy space position and colour which is a huge plus point.
  43. http://www.freefoodphotos.com – This website does what is says on the tin really! You can find foodie photos by browsing the different categories or typing a keyword into the search bar.
  44. http://www.foter.com – Hosting over 190 million free Creative Commons images from multiple online sources, you can also install Foter as a WordPress plugin as well as searching by keywords or categories.
  45. http://www.resplashed.com – re:splashed showcases some beautiful travel photography with some really simple but effective options available to download and use.
  46. http://www.publicdomainarchive.com – Public Domain Archive gives you access to photos from modern images to vintage ones and new photos are upaloded weekly.
  47. http://www.goodstock.photos – With a new free image published daily, this is a fantastic source of un-fussy stock images.
  48. http://www.highresolution.photography – This monochrome website provides sleek stock photography from a very talented and award-winning team of photographers.
  49. http://www.creativevix.com/stock – Some of the photographs on this website could be a little sharper or more vibrant, but there is a good range across many different categories.
  50. http://www.fancycrave.com – Fancy Crave publishes two new images every day and they really are beautiful. From landscapes and nature to striking single-object portraits, it’s a lovely collection.
  51. http://www.foodiesfeed.com – Another free food images website with photos to tantalise the taste buds! Really nice and simple images of lovely-looking food.
  52. http://libreshot.com – All photos  – Stunningly beautiful landscape, nature architecture and people images. All photos on this website are taken by Czech photographer Martin Vorel, who has kindly licensed them for free use under Public Domain Licence (CC0).
  53. http://www.goodfreephotos.com – Just as the URL suggests, this site is packed full of good free photos! With currently 5,995 photos to choose from there is definitely an image to suit all occasions.

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Paid-for stock images for websites and blogs

The following are paid-for sources for stock images that can be used on your blogs or websites.

  1. http://www.istockphoto.com/ – iStock is a huge collection of images, illustrations, audio clips and other media that you can download by buying credits. Different media costs you a different number of credits and the more credits you buy, the cheaper they become.
  2. https://www.photospin.com – An American website based in sunny California, Photospin offers two subscription packages which give you access to download a set number of different file types, as well as a single image option where you just pay for one-off images.
  3. http://www.shutterstock.com/ – The first global image subscription database, Shutterstock was founded in 2003 by the CEO using thousands of his own photographs. Shutterstock has a huge music selection too with its own subscription options, whilst images can be downloaded through monthly subscriptions or with a purchase of 5 or 25 download credits.
  4. http://www.bigstockphoto.com/ – Bigstock offers you a 7 day free trial as well as a 1-image a month free trial, after which they have a huge array of subscription options for images and videos for their 27,000,000+ library.
  5. https://stock.adobe.com – Adobe Stock is, as the name suggests, owned by Adobe and means that you can access and manage the images you download directly through your Adobe programs or apps. There is a discount for Creative Cloud members and two other subscription options for either 10 or 750 per month, or you can buy single images.
  6. http://www.123rf.com/ – With 35,000 new pieces of content added daily, 123RF is a fantastic, affordable resource with several pricing plans from purchasing credits to monthly subscriptions for set numbers of downloads.
  7. http://www.splitshire.com– Although Split Shire is in essence a free stock photo site, you can pay a small contribution of $20 a year to receive every single image on their site and a few bonus ones, directly into a Dropbox account.
  8. http://www.picjumbo.com – With quite a technology and people-focused theme, Picjumbo is a great collection and although you can download many of the photos for free, you can also pay a monthly subscription of $7.50 to access loads more images as well as having collections sent via Dropbox.
  9. http://www.freefilehunt.com – From WordPress themes to stock photos, vectors and fonts, search through hundreds of design files, many of which are free but some you do pay for, costing around the $5 mark.

Have you found this guide useful?  Please feel free to share it on social media!

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  • Ah great!! thank you for this Jonny!!! this has been bookmarked!

  • Bob says:

    Hi,
    Please also check out http://www.goodfreephotos.com for thousands of unique public domain photos, especially travel photos. Appreciate it if you could add it to your site. I always give shot-outs to lists with my resource. Thanks.

  • Lynnda says:

    You could of course use you own images. Photographs, scans, charts etc. Make sure you add a watermark for when some one “borrows” your images.

  • Stuart Miles says:

    Hi there,

    I have another website you might find appealing.

    http://Blogpiks.com is an image stock archive that has premium quality graphics cost-free with no copyright limitations. Commercial use granted, no attribution required, no sign up required.

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