Free stock photos are often a necessity for websites that need visual content. If you want to know where to find the best free photos on the web, read on.
Why You Should Use Free Stock Photos
Photos and diagrams not only make your website look better but make it easier for visitors to digest and understand your content. In fact, 65% of people are visual learners, which might be why people who follow directions with text and illustrations are over 300% times more successful than those who follow directions without images. Visual content is key to guiding the customers and followers of your digital brand in the right direction.
Studies have also shown that relevant and engaging images improve engagement. Videos and images can also improve how well visitors remember your content. People remember visuals better up to three days longer than just written content alone. This is why you need a balance of written and visual content. Roughly one image for every 350 words is ideal according to research by blogpros.
Avoid Content Theft
It’s no secret that the internet is full of countless images. That should make finding the right visual content for your site as easy as doing a Google search, right?
Wrong. Intellectual property laws exist to prevent content theft, such as stealing other people’s content. Whether someone does this on purpose or by accident, it can have unpleasant consequences. Content thieves can be forced to remove any illegally used images and possibly even find themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit.
Getting caught stealing content can be a bad look for a digital brand that hopes to build an active and positive web presence. Content thieves are commonly looked down on and made fun of across the internet. This famous meme is only one example of the internet community criticizing those who commit content theft.
In order to avoid this, some people pay for original visual content, but this can become expensive quickly. Lucky for you, there are many online resources for finding cheap and free stock photos, which are 100% legal to use.
SEE ALSO: How To Handle Stolen Content
Tools to Help You Find Free Stock Photos
According to usability expert Jakob Nielsen, not just any images will do. People can tell the difference between relevant visuals with value and pointless fille and they are not interested in the filler.
This makes getting the right image with the right placement super important. These sites can help you find unique free stock photos. They offer photography information and tutorials and tools to help you find the perfect visual content.
- Images.com: Get an inside look at the professional photography world via the web and social media.
- Creative Commons Search: A meta-collection of stock images from across the internet that provides Creative Commons info.
- Photoshop Support: A blog containing tutorials, tools, and advice for Photoshop users of all skill levels.
- Wikimedia Commons: Allows you to search Wikipedia’s large collection of media, with licensing information.
- Flickr Creative Commons: There are free visuals licensed under creative commons on this site, but be sure to check the licensing terms before you use them.
- Photobucket: Share and search thousands of photos and check out their animated GIF section.
- Google Images: As long as you click search tools, usage rights, and then select Labeled For Reuse, this can be a valuable tool for finding free photos.
General Free Stock Photo Resources
If you are looking for free photos this is a great place to start scouting for visual content.
- Stock Free Images
- Every Stock Photo
- Free Photos Bank
- Free Range Stock
- Image Base
- RGB Stock
- Free Media Goo
- Think Stock
- Free Digital Photos
- Banco De Imagem
- Big Photo
- Free Pixels
- Studio 25
- Free Image Files
- Font Play
- Light Matter Photography
- Creativity 103
- A Digital Dreamer
- A to Z Stock Images
- Free Foto
- CJO Photo
- Photo Rack
- DHD Multimedia Gallery
- Aarin Free Photo
Niche Sites With Free Stock Photos
If your website caters to a specific demographic or has a specific theme, a niche site can be very useful. It can help you find relevant free photos and images without clicking through thousands of them. These niche sites cater to specific audiences and each has some free visual content.
- Starr Environmental: Offers Hawaiian flora and fauna images.
- Photo.net: A photographer community site.
- Sweet and Talented: An archive of Hollywood stars.
- Open Photo: Caters to developers, artists, educators, and students.
- Kosher Stock: Offers Jewish culture related free stock photos.
- Holy Land Photos: Has free photos of Jerusalem.
- VectorStock: A resource for free vectors and infographics.
- GIFGIFs: Has free GIFs.
- Giphy: Allows you to download movie GIFs, memes, and short movies and upload your own GIFs.
Some Helpful Stock Texture Sites
Texture images can be used to create a page background or to anchor other images and you can also use them to create tiled patterns. Here are some helpful stock texture sites.
Government and Public Domain Free Stock Photos
If you blog about science or current affairs, or your business relates to those niches, government sites may be useful for your digital brand’s content strategy. A number of government organizations maintain small stock image collections. Be warned: some public domain images cannot be used on commercial sites. Be sure to read the license terms of any images you find using these resources:
- Library of Congress
- Public Domain Photos
- Public Domain Pictures
- UK Ministry of Defence
- Historical Stock Photos
- From Old Books
- Burning Wel
- Ancestry Images
- National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration
- New York Public Library
- NASA Image Exchange (NIX)
- USDA Newsroom
When Free Photos Don’t Cut It
In some cases, free photos won’t suit your specific needs. The sites below offer small selections of free stock photos but ask you to pay for the rest. Some also provide a daily or weekly selection of free content, which makes them worth bookmarking even if you don’t need any visual content at this second.
- Big Stock Photo
- About Pixel
- People Images
- Deviant Art
- 123RF Images
- Turbo Photo
Free Stock Photos Make Great Visual Content
Visual content is key to the overall appeal of the web content which supports your digital brand. It can help give your article context and explain difficult concepts. A visual representation of idea or data, like the one below about creating effective blog posts, can work wonders to get your point across.
A variety of visuals is needed to accomplish this and few bloggers or businesses have the means to pay for every last image they need or want to use.
It is important to learn about image licensing basics and get familiar with different sites that offer low-cost and free stock photos. This way, you can make sure that the sites you are accessing and sourcing images from are legitimate. They need to have free stock photos that are legal and being used under acceptable licensing terms.
What tricks do you use to find the perfect stock photos? Comment below…