Where To Go To Get the Best Free Images for Your Content
One of the biggest struggles for marketers that are
creating content and blogging is sourcing visual content, especially if you’re creating at a high frequency.
It is really easy to open up your browser and do a Google image search, download, and then insert pcitures into your content. I don’t recommend this course of action as there can be major financial consequences when using copyright protected images in your blog, on your website, or in any content that you are creating.
I am sharing this with you because when we launched our agency a few years ago we got a nasty letter from Getty Images and then another from Ragan all within 10 days of each other. The letters said we owed a total of $2,800 in licensing fees because of three images we used in a couple of our blog posts. This was a mistake that was made by my content team as they thought they were using a reliable source (not Google images) to source the images, but they weren’t.
The lesson here is to know the various types of Creative Commons licenses and how to use them correctly. Some images require purchase and licensing where others may only require attribution.
So where do you go on the web to get great images without it costing a fortune?
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Now we are going to get into the good stuff…
Free Digital Photos is our content team’s go to website as they have a large inventory of free images that are easy to search by category and typically the use of the images only requires attribution to the photographer.
Free Photos bank isn’t pretty, but it contains a plethora of high-resolution images that are available for download with having to go through a lengthy registration process. It also contains an easy to use search bar at the top of the site that makes locating images fairly easy.
3. IM Free
IM Free is awesome for curated images and templates that are all for commercial use and its design is pretty chic.
Rgbstock requires registration, but they have a robust stock of images (not stock images) from both graphic artists and photographers.
We all hate stock photos right? Well Death to The Stock Photo is pretty self-explanatory as it offers some really cool lifestyle photography in hi-res. You do need to join, but it is worth it. We love this site!
Picjumbo may not have a search bar, but they do have a big inventory of all types of images to choose from free of charge and with no registration. Their images are broken down into categories fairly well so you can actually find what you are looking for, without the search bar.
Unsplash is a very basic site that is not very impressive at first glance as you can see below, but they have fantastic high-res images photos and you can download 10 images every ten days for free.
Photo Search Tools
The websites listed below allow you to search through Flickr or public photos to easily locate images to use. Some allow free downloads and others are paid, but most will just require attribution for each image you use in your content.
Compfight uses API integration with Flickr to make it easy for you to search for usable images. They have an easy to use search bar to locate your images.
Creative Commons Search gives you access to multiple platforms to search for images from Google to Flickr and even additional media channels. This site it great if you have specific venues or areas to search.
A hidden gem that many don’t know about, Google offers a custom search feature that you can use to locate free images.
As you can see in the images below we have completed an image search for “HubSpot office pics”. Now all you need to do is click on “usage rights”.
Now you can select “Labeled for reuse with modification” as you can see below. It is pretty obvious, but be sure not to use the images “labeled for noncommercial reuse” for your blog or website unless you have obtained written permission from the image owner.
Canva is not a resource for free images, but it does provide you with free images to use inside of their easy to use design platform and is another go to for our social media and content team.
We use Canva every day in multiple departments to create social media graphics, blog images, graphics for CTA’s, and even infographics. If you’re not proficient in Photoshop you need to add Canva to your design tool kit. Even if you are, Canva is way faster for content creators who are cranking out a lot of content.
Now, we know we didn’t cover all of the available free image websites on the web beause this article would have turned into a novel, so we would like to know your favorites. Please add them with a link in the comments below.