Note: this is a guest post from Lewis over at The Freelance Effect.
I think we can all agree, finding high-quality images you can legally use on your blog is a real pain in the goolies.
In fact, most bloggers resort to swiping from Google Images, which can get you in a lot of trouble if you’re not careful. With that said, I get it. Stock image services are super expensive these days…
- Shutterstock will set you back a whopping $299 per month
- Gettyimages works on custom pricing, often in the hundreds of dollars for a single image
Fortunately, there are some excellent resources available that provide high-quality images for free. In this post, I’ll reveal my top 5 sources.
But first, I need to give you a (very) short lesson on copyright laws.
The Lowdown on Image Licenses
Before we dive into where to find images, you need to get to grips on the basics of copyright laws. I’m not going to sugar-coat it, copyright laws are complicated.
This is going to be a quick summary of what you need to look out for when using images on your blog that aren’t yours.
Any content in the public domain is no longer subject to copyright, and is freely available to the public. Images in the public domain are gold for us bloggers because we can use them as we see fit.
All creative online work is given a creative commons license, as chosen by the creator of that piece. Here are the ones relevant to us bloggers:
- CC Attribution (CCBY): Any images under this license can be used as you sit fit, providing you give proper attribution to the original author.
- CC Attribution-NoDerivs (CCBY-ND): Same as above, except you are not allowed to change/modify the image in any way.
- CC Attribution-ShareAlike (CCBY-SA): Same as above, except you can change/modify the image as long as they are redistributed under the same license.
- CC0: Very similar to being in the public domain. You can use images under this license as you see fit.
5 Free Sources for High-Quality Blog Images
Unsplash images are under the CC0 license. It doesn’t have the largest library of images, but that’s because they take a quality over quantity approach. Easily one of my favourite sources.
LibreShot images are under the CC0 license. Again, not the most comprehensive library to choose from, but still a solid resource to have on your list.
Wikimedia images fall under varying licences, so you’ll have to check this individually. This is a monumental resource with over 35 million media files to choose from (although quality isn’t consistent).
Pond5 images are all in the public domain. This site primarily sells stock images, but their free section boasts thousands of freely available stock images – backed by a solid search engine.
Death to the Stock Photo
DTTSP explains their license in plain English right here. Slightly different to the others on this list, in the sense that you receive hand-picked (and extremely high-quality) stock photos via email every month.
An Important Note…
The resources above will keep you busy for a while, but it’s crucial to keep in mind that they don’t all follow the same rules.
Any images that aren’t in the public domain (or under the CC0 license) will need proper attribution in the form of a link back to the original source.
Not sure how to do it? Check out this article for more information on proper attribution.
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