There is no denying that beautiful images peppered throughout your blog posts hold the attention of readers and add an eye-catching element to your posts. You can instantly convey so much through an image, generate excitement among your readers prompt them to share, pin and like your posts. Finding these images, if you are not able to take them yourself, can be very time consuming if you don’t know where to look.
It is actually much easier than you think to find amazing images that are royalty free and can be used commercially on your blog and even adapted so that they are more pinnable and convey your key messages.
I have put together a comprehensive list where you can source incredible images, and also edit these images yourself using some free online tools.
Quick tip // (Don’t ever simply find an image and use it on your blog. There can be many legal repercussions for doing so if the photographer has not given permission for you to use the image. Simply giving credit via a link to the photographer does not allow you to use the image and you can still get yourself in a heap of trouble if you do this).
You can learn more about Creative Commons licensing here.
DEATH TO THE STOCK PHOTO
This is by far my favourite place to source top quality stock images for free! Death to the Stock Photo send out free monthly images (usually 10 images centred around a certain topic) and they are able to be used freely for commercial use. This is not a website that you can search and find specific images but signing up is definitely worth it as the images are always very creative and high quality.
Unsplash have an amazing pool of incredible images submitted by photographers all across the world. There are ten new photos released every day and you can receive them by jumping on their newsletter. All images have no copyright laws against them as they have been made free in the public domain.
Photo Pin is a great way to search millions of Creative Commons photos from Flickr and add them to your blog posts easily. All you need to do is attribute the photo correctly and you can freely use any of the images. When you click on an image you will be shown a variety of sizes that the image can be downloaded in and also a simple html code that you can paste into your blog post to give attribution to the source. The interface is simple to use. All you do is type in a keyword and all images relating to your keyword will appear. Please note that the first few lines of images in a search are actually sponsored images from paid services so if you scroll down a few lines this is where you will find all the free images.
ONE DOLLAR PHOTO CLUB
*(Not free but $1 per high quality pic which is great!)
Stock images can be incredibly expensive, especially if you want to use them frequently for your own blog or website. The One Dollar Photo Club have a huge pool of great stock images and they are just $1 each which is the cheapest i have come across in images that are professionally shot and of a very high quality. They have plans where you sign up at $10 per month and get 10 downloads during that period. Unused downloads transfer into the new month of you do not use them all up.
Wikimedia Commons is a great place to search for many types of images, specifically landmarks, architecture, culture and nature images. To search you just click on ‘images’ on the home page and you can go through the 40 sub categories or enter a search term yourself. Nearly all of the image have an full Creative Commons license so you can freely use the image with attribution to the owner at the end of your blog post.
Flickr is a gold mine of images that are shared by millions of users every day, many with a Creative Commons license so you can freely use them on your blog. Flickr is essentially an image sharing site that anyone can freely use to share their photos on. This means that you get a large variety of images, from everyday un-styled shots to professional images from well regarded photographers. When using Flickr every image has different permissions so make sure you check the license on an image to see if you are allowed to use it and always link back to the original image. The easiest way to search is to use the flickr/freeuse site that collates all these images easily for you to find.
Google Images trawls the web for every image it can find relating to your search query. If you do a general search you will get a huge number of images with various licenses. To search on specifically for free to use images – go to the small grey settings circle > Click on Advanced Search and then click on Free to use or share, even commercially in the usage rights section. You will then be shown a plethora of free to use images.
FOTER (WordPress plugin for images)
Foter is a great site if you are looking to source high quality free to use images easily. It has a beautiful simple interface that is very easy to search and it returns hundreds of high quality professional images with each search. You can filter the search by – commercial use and non commercial use images and if you create an account you can save images to your own account for easy access later on. You can also download the images in a variety of sizes and add the attribution URL easily. Another great feature of Foter is that they have a custom designed WordPress plugin that allows you to source images and add them to your blog posts within your WordPress dashboard. You can search through the 180 million plus images and add them easily to your posts as well as the attribution link.
COMPFIGHT (WordPress plugin for images)
Compfight is another site that makes it easy to find Creative Commons licensed images from Flickr. The extra feature that this service offers is that it has a WordPress Plugin like Foter which allows you to search for images and add them straight to your blog posts from within your WordPress dashboard. A few extra services- If you are still on the lookout for another service to find more images, here are a few additional places you can get more great high quality pictures plus some icons and clipart.
STOCK.XCHNG (From Getty Images)
FREE TOOLS TO EDIT YOUR IMAGES
I am sure from that extensive list you must of found an image you love or many that you can use. There are also a few great photo editing tools that you can use to add text and graphics over your images. Need to add a watermark, a quote, a filter or a call to action on your image? Adding text and editing your photos is a great ways to prompt your readers to pin your images and entice others to share them on Pinterest. These services have both free and paid versions you can use.
Pic Monkey is a fantastic photo editing tool to use when you do not have access to a more expensive program such as Photoshop. The interface is set out beautifully and it’s very easy to use and find your way around. Here is a list of very common editing requests and how to do them.
Pixlr is another great online tool that is designed very well and set up in a similar way to Photoshop. It is very easy to open an image and add text, shapes and shading within minutes. There is also a Pixlr phone application. If you take many of your blog images on your phone this can be very helpful in editing them and getting them ready to post. This is a more technical advanced program than Pic Monkey as it gives you more editing options for your images.
A FEW TIPS –
- Find out the width of your blog post column and create images that fit the space so they look cleaner and more appealing online.
- Make you images pinnable by adding a Pin It button below them or a hover feature to your images. Pinterest is an incredible way to share your work and for others to easily bookmark it for later reading and sharing so add key messages and post titles so that people can easily refer to your posts.
- Always make sure you check the license on on image and provide to correct attribution. This can be easily done by adding a link under your image or at the end of the post that says something like – Photo credit: xxx / Image credit or source: xxx