It may come to your attention, and surprise, that many of the stock image websites that appear online, are often charging large amounts for these images. What really shocked me, was the cost of an individual image from one of these sites, $36 for a Getty Image. That’s not my kind of deal.
I understand that for photographers selling their images to stock programs like this, it’s a great way to make money online from photography. However, I think the stock photo sites themselves are taking too large a cut.
Anyway, you’ll be glad to know that there are alternatives. There are other free stock image library resources that you can tap into. Sites dedicated to not only offering you free images to use as you please, but also giving you the opportunity to acknowledge the creator should you wish.
So, let’s check out some of my favourite free stock image library websites. But before that, a little info on why you need images.
Why Images Are Advantageous For Your Website
If you were to visit a web-page with the intention of finding some valuable information, you’d expect to be enlightened with a page that can be easily read. This means a good sized font for reading, plenty of white space and images that can grab the attention of your visitors.
I’ve come across web articles before which encompass a whole page of small text, paragraph after paragraph. Even without heading titles in the article, which are a big no no. Headings are not only good for SEO, they show your visitors what information is in the following content. So as you can probably guess, I leave sites like this because they are just so difficult to consume.
Images break up large slabs of content, making reading consumption much easier to consume. The size and location of the images is totally up to you, this is part of your web design that makes your blog unique to others.
Do make sure your images are relevant to your article however. If you’re writing a tutorial or explainer guide, the point you intend getting across is made so much easier by taking screen shot images of the action.
If, on the other hand, you’re writing about wild animals for instance, using these free stock image library resources can help tremendously.
What is Creative Commons
You’ll appreciate the benefits that Creative Commons can offer you, as you can grab free to use images with various licensing arrangements. Many of these will allow you to use these images without giving attribution to the creator of the image.
Some may prefer you give them credit by placing a small link to their bio page or website. Maybe even a Tweet or social share.
Creative Commons are actually a non-for-profit American owned organisation, that has released several copyright licences, which are free for the public to use.
The first free stock image website I’d like to share with your is called Unsplash. This is my favorite free image resource which I use just about everyday.
Unsplash claim to have over 550,000 free to use high-resolution images on their site for download. Not that I’ve counted, but I wouldn’t argue with this statistic. I’m never lost for choice when I go searching for an image here, there are literally loads of genre’s to choose from.
The ‘Explore’ section will offer you categories of images for you to browse. Whether it be images about women, travel, business, nature, food or animals, there’s loads of categories and subcategories for you to explore.
You call also browse by ‘Collections’, which is slightly different from categories. These collections are Unsplash’s own topics such as hand-held devices, into the wild, minimal black and white, phone backgrounds or denim for days. There are loads of these collections that can be searched when you’re after something particular.
If you’re a keen photographer yourself, you can even submit your own photos for review. Simply create an account or login via Facebook to present your own images for others to use.
All in all, this is my No.1 resource for obtaining free stock images.
If you’ve ever thought of creating your own free stock image website, you could do a lot worse than using Kaboompics as your template. This site was created by a lady known as Karolina, who has composed this website purely from her own camera.
She’s a photographer, as well as the sole owner of Kaboompics which boasts a huge array of free to use images, quickly zoning in on image number 10,000!
With 13 various categories to choose from, I really like the option to choose from different orientations such as vertical or horizontal images. Photoshoots are also an option, which will display only images which are particularly staged.
All images are easily access with no attribution required.
For those that are looking for more unique or quirky images to display on your blog, why not give Gratisography a try. They claim to be the world’s quirkiest collection of high resolution images that you can download for free.
If there’s a story that is immediately told within an image, Gratisography will have that image. Any image submitted has to go through an approval process that includes uniqueness, emotion, shock value amongst other things, and of course light exposure with focus on the central subject.
Visual artist Ryan McGuire is the founder of this site. His main profession is a graphic and web designer at Bells Designs.
So, for anyone that requires a shocking, electrifying and truly unique image for free, Gratisography can help you out with their collection of quirky images from 9 various categories.
There’s a bit of a theme with some of these sites isn’t there! Many are started by an individual who just loves taking photos and sharing them with the world to use as they please. This is another one of those, created by Czech born Viktor Hanacek who needed somewhere to place his creativity.
So, along came pickumbo, a website he created to store all these wonderful images that you can use at your leisure. With over 5,000 stock images currently available to download, there’s another 30 new photos every month which keeps his site ticking along. Although the best images are kept for premium members.
There is a premium section of photos available which you can sign up to, starting from $10 per month. If you’re just after free images though, there is a huge array of images which should suit your purposes.
To find a great image, simply type the category or tag you’re searching for in the search bar, and the results will appear. 17 Categories are also at your fingertips to browse through, making this site a great choice for bloggers in need of free stock images.
Pixabay is a larger image website resource with a number of employees working behind the scenes. It was founded by two gentlemen by the names of Hans Braxmeier and Simon Steinberger, both co-owners.
Pixabay uses images created by individuals, who have submitted their photos for free use under the Pixabay license. This allows us to use the images as they are, we can modify them and use these images for commercial use.
Pixabay would have the largest array of images from any of these websites, and I find their filtering is better also. When you choose an image and click on the download link, you’ll have a choice of image size that you’d prefer. I like this option, as it also gives you the image data size, and we all know by now, that large image data sizes will slow down your website.
With photos, illustrations, vector graphics and even videos, this is an ideal site to find images for any occasion. I really like the fact they now include videos. These are short videos that can be used to loop as a moving background image. Such as fish swimming or moving clouds.
A great resource for your next blog.
Unlike a few years ago when there was only paid stock image library websites, such as Shutterstock or Getty Images, we now have a much larger pond to choose free images from. This has been a great opportunity for budding photographers who have started their own website of free images to share, some because the paid sites wouldn’t accept their photos.
Although they offer these free images, they can still make money via premium accounts or affiliate marketing sources. It’s a win-win for both the providers and us bloggers to accept their offerings. It also mean blogger no need to ‘steal’ images from Google images, which is frowned upon.
Many other sites are also available including NASA, who only a few years ago released a site with many of their amazing space images that are free to use. Pexels is another great resource, as is StockSnap.io.
With all these free stock image library resources popping up all the time, there’s basically no need to pay for an image again, unless you require something specific from the paid alternatives.
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The opinions in this article are solely mine, are are not intended to offend or discriminate. All information in this review has been researched on the public domain of the internet.