We live in an image driven society. Things just seem to go further and quicker if you attach an image to it – and if you attach a stunning image to it … well, you can retire on the genius!
Hubspot did research into the power of pictures and found that a post with an image generated 53% more likes on Facebook than a standard post.
Something with the power to engage people by such a simple method is easy to leverage, but don’t forget, with images you have to be really careful not to breach copyright. It’s really easy to do and can land you in court accruing charges that will be far more than the copyright would have cost in the first place.
One way round the copyright problem is to use royalty free stock photos.
There are many sites that offer free images to use but they all vary in quality and in terms. Here are a selection of some of the best sites to help you get the perfect image for your content.
Little Visuals is a unique site that has some amazing photos on. It was run by a young man who loved photography and produced many stunning images which are free to use without credit. It is more of a ‘hand-picked’ site rather than the ‘stock photo’ approach. Sadly Nic who ran the site passed away suddenly is 2013 so his family ask that if you are able to, consider a donation to charity.
Photo Credit: John Hope
IM Creator have a website building tool but they also have a free stock photo library that has some of the best photos you’ll find. You do need to give credit for the photos you use, but that is a very small price to pay for such amazing quality images.
If you want a huge database of high quality photos that cover almost anything – then Pixabay is your site. It has over 420,000 images and most of them do not require credit. The most amazing thing is that they are royalty and credit free even if you want to use them for commercial purposes.
Every day, Pexels adds ten new, high quality photos to their database and most them are free for use for personal a commercial projects. They also carry a huge amount of variety with most of them being attribution free photos which makes them perfect for anything you could possibly want to put them on.
If you are looking for modern, eclectic or vintage stage then this is a great site. It is a much more art based image site as opposed to standard stock photos, but that is a great thing. It can elevate the sophistication of your site and add that extra irresistible touch that means you’ll go viral.
Every 10 days Unsplash adds ten new images and they are all breathtaking. Even though you can’t search their database you’ll love scrolling through all the amazing photos on the site. They are all free to use for the small price of an attribution.
This is one of the sites that is run by professional photographers that put up a random set of shots that are free to use. Most of the images are evocative and thoughtful and most do not require attribution for personal or commercial use.
Snapwire is run on Tumblr and has a service that sends you seven new photos each week. They are random but cover a great range of subjects so you’re sure to find something stunning each time. IF you can’t wait a week, then log onto Tumblr and view them in real time.
Like the name suggests, Death the Stock Photo supplies high quality images for free. You have to sign up for the free service, but there is also a paid service you can join. The free service delivers images directly to your inbox but the paid service gives you access to the whole database whenever you want .
Folkert Gorter is a Dutch artist who got together with his graphic design pals and created an amazing website that offers a huge range of high quality images that are mostly landscapes and textures. They make amazing posts, but sadly aren’t searchable, but are all attribution free.
If you need food images – then this is the free stock photo site for you. There is huge range, not just for restaurants, but it’s easy to use and attribution free stance makes it a great ‘go to’ resource.
Californian designer Jay Matri uploads new royalty free photos to his site every Thursday. You can do with them what you like, but they celebrate the beauty of life in and are great for just about everything.
Exactly as the name sounds, FreeImages is a huge database of images, but more than that – it’s searchable. The availability and range make this a staple of many designers, so don’t miss out!
Morgue file does a great range from a huge list of contributors so you get a large and eclectic mix of images. It is another site that is curated well and easy to use with some great quirky shots you’ll love.
If you’re looking for vintage then this is the site for you! The images are completely random and in no order, but they are absolutely exquisite! Even if you don’t want photos, it’s worth spending time just looking – you won’t regret it!
These sites are a great resource but take the time to look at their terms and conditions, then stick to them. If you want to keep sites like these free so you can build websites or social media posts that really have that ‘wow’ factor, using sites like these is a great way to encourage them to grow.