There is no denying that a blog with photos gets more views, but finding good, free blog photos (unless you are a pro photographer) can be difficult to come by. These five sites have free photos for blogs and personal web sites.
This used to be Stock Xchng but it looks like when they changed to Free Images it got even better. This is a personal favorite for free photos. They are royalty free and there is no fee for using them. However, check the licensing info to see if you have to ask permission from the photographer or if you have to notify him or her.
There is a simple search engine that is fairly good, but try lots of different search terms since photographers who contribute to the site are able to use their own tags meaning there isn’t any real consistency to make searching very easy. The site is great though and there’s some very impressive talent contributing to it.
Last word, pay careful attention to the returns from your search. They have “premium results” and those that cost money to use. When you hover over the search window there will be several tabs that appear below it. The first one is for searching the free photos. When you view the returns of your search, you will see several tabs across the search results. Make sure you click on the Free tab to view only the free photos. The premium results are typically located on the right hand side of the results page with the free stuff in the middle. Also, if you open a premium result photo you will clearly be able to see the watermark. Free photos do not have a watermark.
Honestly, this is pretty much a hit or miss site, but when you hit you can find some pretty good photos for your blog. You’ll want to use several terms to find what you need since quite often the photographers do their own tagging.
The way to find free photos for commercial use on this site is to use the search tools located under the search window. If you go directly to images.google.com you won’t see them, but once you plug in a keyword and view the results, Search Tools will be there.
When you click on Search Tools, you will see several options for customizing your search, including size, color, type, and time (when the photo was taken). Usage Rights is another options and when you click on it you will see a drop down menu with several selections. I always choose Labeled for Reuse because it is the broadest license and applies to commercial use without restrictions.
I you can find the photographer’s name you should provide attribution. However, that information is not always readily available. There are better sites out there for finding free blog photos, but Google makes is so easy you almost feel obligated to at least give it a try.
This is another favorite. You can find some very good, professional photos for your blog. There are several download options. The smallest size is free but there are larger sizes you can pay for that are pretty reasonably priced. The smallest sizes are usually great sizes for a blog post though.
This is a super easy site to use and all the information you need is right there, easy to see and easy to understand.
This site has grown in popularity in recent years and has some gorgeous photos for your blog. These free downloads allow you to “copy, distribute, transmit the work and adapt the work.” However, you are responsible for model releases and other legal content regarding the photos.
The site FAQs suggest contacting the photographer directly if you want to use their work for your blog as is. The morguefile license is for illustrators and designers who want to “use the images in a creative process creating work of their own.”
Attribution is often not necessary, but it is just simply courtesy and respect to do so. Plus, it’s always a good idea to help out a fellow freelancer and give him or her a shoutout with a link to their work.
There are a lot of high quality, high resolution (print quality) photos that are appropriate for a variety of topics. After you search, position your cursor over a photo to see a larger preview. Click on it and you will get a pop up with a larger view and licensing/download information.
Another cool feature on this site is that it provides access to other paid stock photos sites. There are several tabs across the photo viewing area and you can see photos from iStock, Getty, Dreamstime, Bigstock, DepositPhotos, and Fotolia. So if you decide you would rather purchase a photo those options are there as well. MorgueFile is an awesome one stop shop for blog photos. This is definitely a site to bookmark.
This is a fairly recent discovery and I thought I would add it to the list. It has some really nice photos and other types of graphics -all public domain. While I have poked around on this site, I haven’t really used it, but it seems very easy. The website itself is pretty clean, well laid out, and easy to navigate.
Since the photos are all public domain you don’t have to include attribution – you probably couldn’t find the info for attribution anyway. However, if you’re feeling particularly you might want to give the site a shout-out.
This site has come a long way over the years and has proven to be not only a great place to find free blog photos, but it also has some really good information on usage and copyright. You can get some really good photos for your blog or website here, but note that attribution is required. It has a fairly large selection for many different keywords. They do have “sponsored images” at the top of the returns, but they are pretty easy to identify because they have a blue banner across the upper left corner. The free photos are below.
Plug in your search term at the top, check the license type you need and how you want the results sorted. It will return relevant photos and you just click on the one you like. When you hover your cursor over the thumbnail, you will see an option to look at a preview of the photo or you can go ahead and get the photo.
When you click on “Get Photo” you will get a pop-up with download information. Below the photos is a box with HTML that contains the attribution information that is compliant with the photo and site usage. Just copy the HTML and paste it into your blog post.
Can I use the Photo?
Even free photos can have some licensing and copyright restrictions attached. If you are going to use photos that you don’t have to pay for on your blog or website, you need to have at least some understand so you don’t get yourself into trouble. There are several good places to learn about using free photos for commercial or personal use.
- Can I Use that Picture? Awesome infographic that lays it out really well.
- Overview of Photo Use. This is a simple overview but has good information without getting too far into the weeds.
- Creative Commons Copyright Licenses. Good information for Creative Commons licensing and use of photos.
When you use these sites, you should always credit the photographer by including their name and a link to their site (if you have it) or at least the site where you found the photo – EVEN IF IT IS NOT REQUIRED!
Think about it, if someone was posting YOUR work you would want to be credited and linked. So be courteous and help your fellow freelancers. Always post your credits for photography, art work, whatever you post but did not create yourself. Give credit where credit is due.