A picture is worth a thousand words. I could write a long and elaborate description of this tantalizing strawberry cheesecake. Or I could give you an idea of how delicious it may be with one simple photograph. Sometimes, all you need is one powerful graph, chart or image to instantly convey the big picture. And studies are showing that compelling graphics drive more traffic and eyeballs to your content.
Most of us are not big corporations with massive budgets and in-house designers. All we need is a sizzling image to spice up our already great content. But finding high-quality images that you can use without attribution, without licensing troubles, and without having to purchase each time is a challenge. Also, there are several stock-photo sites that charge a high premium to buy photos. These sites are good for corporations with large budgets.
So what do you do if you need a quick photo to enhance your blog post, slide presentation or whitepaper? There are plenty or sources – some free and some that you can purchase at a small cost.
I like to either click my own photos or buy them relatively inexpensively from sites that have pay-as-you-go plans. That way, in my small way, I’ve contributed to the artist and I’m not stuck to one site. I have the option of trying several different sites.
Sites that have high resolution, low-cost Images
You can buy pay-as-you-go plans for as low as $19. You get 20 credits and most small size images cost you 2 credits. So you end up paying about $1 per image.
Although this is a slightly pricier option than all the other sites here, I like to use it when I need high-resolution images.
I’ve often found some great, low-cost images on this site. I’ve paid as little as 40 cents for some images. They’re also a great option for slides and presentations.
A subsidiary of Shutterstock, Bigstock adds to its library every day as photographers and designers from around the world submit their work. Bigstock had more than 5.3 million royalty-free images available. Images cost from between 1 to 6 credits each, depending on size, with credits ranging from 90 cents to $3.
Sites for free images
When using free images there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Always be mindful of copyright issues. One rule is clear – if you didn’t produce it or click it with your camera then you don’t own it.
- Always give attribution to the artist. No matter what your source, it’s a good practice to credit the artist when possible.
- Read the license carefully to see if you can reproduce image, only use the image in it’s original form etc. This is escpecially true for Creative Commons licenses, where there are so many different ways for an artist to give permission.
- Regardless of where you get your images, it’s best to follow these image optimization practices.
This is my favorite site for images. Small images are free and they have a great range of high-quality, low-cost images.
# 6. Google image search
Google’s Image search now has various choices that make it easy to find an image for reuse. You need to click on the option for Search tools and you will be able to search by size, color, type and usage rights. I’ve often found that most of these images are copyright images.
You can find images on Google Search with different usage rights
MorgueFile contains free high resolution digital stock photography for either corporate or public use. The term “morgueFile” is popular in the newspaper business to describe the file that holds past issues for reference. Through the years, the term has been used by illustrators, comic book artist, designers and teachers to mean post production materials or an inactive job file. The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits.
This site has a large gallery of over 395,000 stock photos. You can search by country, users, photos or browse through categories. They also have a nice collection of tutorials, various “how-tos” on stock photography and image editing.
#9. Free Range Stock
Once you sign up for free, you can use these images for commercial and non-commercial use. Photographers get paid when users click on the ads that appear next to their submissions. Images on the site are either shot by or contributed by a talented community of photographers. According to their website, “The images want to be seen and good photos should be available to everyone – so we give the collections away with the hope that they will be useful and be enjoyed.”
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that lets artists share their creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. It provides artists with a simple, standardized way to allow the public to use their work. The artists can choose from sixteen different licenses ranging from giving full rights to some rights. I’ve often found the Creative Commons licenses to be confusing but some people swear by them and use them all the time.
Photo-sharing sites such as Flickr have the option to search by Creative Commons license.
Also, from time-to-time Hubspot gives away images that you can use without worrying about attribution and licensing.
Which are your favorite sites for finding images? Please share them in the comments below. We’ll all benefit from the info. Thanks.