Not every blogger is a photographer, not everyone can afford a DSLR or even the newest iPhone, but you don’t have to worry – there are plenty websites out there where you can find free stock images for your blog and social media posts (and you can always add your own later as your blog grows Am I right?). Not everyone has a house or flat with a big window, can style their photos or have time for it.
Of course, there are plenty of paid (but affordable) sites, where you can find even more original photos, but let’s leave it for another post ;)
So, lets’ start with the basics – Why do your blog, website and social media profiles need high-quality images?
Most people are visual, which means what they are FIRST attracted to visual elements of your website, blog or social media profile – photos, graphics, colours, fonts. When you use high-quality stock images your website looks professional, clean and can be “on brand” (fit your brand) even if you’re using stock images.
No one wants to see a blog with blurry, busy images, took with an old phone or in bad lighting. It can even repulse some visitors and they won’t come back to your website, even if your copy and blog post are on point. But don’t worry, I want to share free stock images websites which I have in my browser bookmarks for almost 2 years that I’ve used and still using from time to time.
Before I list those sites, let’s quickly talk about photo license of these websites, which most have Creative Commons or Creative Commons Zero license:
What is Creative Commons?
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.
What does it mean when the photo is under Creative Commons license?
It means that you can modify, copy and distribute the image (for commercial and personal use) without having to ask for permission. You can’t sell them (duh) There are some sites or particular images that might require you to add attributions, therefore, be sure to check the permissions of the images you want to use.
I know there are thousands of websites with free images, but not all of them has high-quality ones. Today, I’ll share my personal favorites, websites with gorgeous, free stock images. Let’s dig in:
1. Unsplash– has breathtaking landscape photos, as well as modern, minimalistic ones. They post 10 images every 10 days. “All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.”
2. Kaboompics – “KaboomPics is a collection of good quality photos offered for free to bloggers, website owners, small businesses, freelancers & social media ninjas.” Photos are under creative commons license and there are plenty beautiful, easy to search images, in high resolution
3. Pexels – 5 new high-quality photos daily under Creative Commons Zero license. One of the best features of this site is huge search bar on the top, so the images are well tagged
4. Minimography – fairly new website with Royalty-Free Minimalist Photos perfect for Social media post or blog post images. There are not many images for now, but I love them!
6. StockSnap – photos under Creative Commons Zero, tremendous search bar in full-screen header, loads of nature, people, food, flowers and other images
7. Picjumbo – Free for Commercial use, however, the author mentioned about posting on social media: “Can I post images on social networks? Facebook has really weird conditions for posting images. You can post them on social networks only if you edit them — e.g. with the logo of your company, as part of web design, with your own quote etc.” Images are well categorized and easy to search
8. Snapwire Snaps – 7 free photos every 7 days. Creative Commons license, easy to search.
9. Life of Pix – Free stock photos by a Montreal design agency. New photos added weekly, creative commons license.
10. DesignersPics – High-resolution photos for your personal & commercial use. Attribution is not required, easy to search and well categorized
11. Pixabay – Website with over 6600 free stock images, vectors and illustrations under Creative Commons CC0, well categorized and easy to search
12. SplitShire –Free Stock Photos & Images for commercial use and they were used in The Huffington Post, CNN, Books Covers created by Daniel Nanescu
13. New Old Stock – Real vintage photos from public archives. Free of copyright restrictions.
As I’ve mentioned before, I know there I could list 100+ websites with free stock images, but I wanted to share the one I actually used and love!
How can you use those images?
As your blog post images, slider on your website, in social media post, as e-book covers, in your e-courses – the possibilities are endless.
As a Graphic Designer, it hard not to mention about the visual marketing, which nowadays is equally important as content. I’m not saying that the content doesn’t matter, is just, that if you don’t catch the attention of a reader in first seconds when she/he sees it (by using graphics, photos), your chances that he/she might be interested further could decrease.
It all bit subconscious, but when you realize, how many times you saw a post on Instagram, which looks meh and you scrolled down and suddenly noticed beautiful image and your eyes gone right out on this image. The first impression is crucial.
I encourage you to use the free high-quality images for your blog, website, and social media to help your content shine. Trust me – there are tons of the websites with free images, some of them might be more popular (how many times I saw the image with a man in a corduroy jacket from Unsplash), but when you take some time to search, you can find images that no one used before.
Do you use stock photos for your blog, social media posts, and website? What are your favorite resources?