We live in an age where images are everywhere. People now walk around with a camera in their pocket, uploading new content to any number of visual-oriented social networks like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.
Back in 2012, Luminate’s CEO, Bob Lisbonne, called it “the imagesphere”: an era where technology allows us to take, share and interact with photos instantly.
This’s why 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day. You might be more surprised to know that, every 60 seconds, 510 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated and 136,000 photos are uploaded.
That’s also why content with relevant images has an average of 94% more views than content without.
But unless you’re a photographer or graphic artist, it can be difficult to find that perfect image to go with your new article, blog post or infographic. Even worse, the best professional-quality photos — or stock photos — can cost an arm and a leg to use.
Where can you find royalty-free, no-strings-attached images to use that are both free and of professional quality?
Design Roast put together a decent list with seven places to find free photos. But I figured you could use a few more!
Top Free Image Sources for Your Site
The first thing you need to understand is the difference between Creative Commons and Creative Commons Zero. The latter are free to use, and edit — even commercially — with no strings attached. Standard Creative Commons images can be shared, but you will need to provide attribution. That means including a link to the photo’s creator, or a small byline.
Creative Commons Zero Sites
These sites allow you to use the images for whatever you want, with no strings attached.
Unsplash is a great place to find free “do whatever you want” images in excellent quality. There’s a search function, but the site is most helpful when you’re not looking for something specific. It’s easier to pore through the image feed and choose a photo that matches your content or theme, rather than looking for an exact print.
You can sort the feed by latest images, most popular and oldest first. There are also entire collections, filled with images that match a specific theme. For example, the Movement collection by Jules Fouchy includes a curated group of beautiful action shots.
Kaboompics is a great place to get free images that don’t require attribution to use — though the creator would appreciate it.
The best part is that the site is easily searchable. All the images have been tagged with an obvious title like “strawberries and a glass of wine,” or “young woman lying on a bed.” There are additional tags below each photo like something you’d see on Instagram.
This makes it so much easier to find a specific image or theme on the site.
With Stokpic images, you can do anything but redistribute them, which means no selling them. They don’t require attribution, though such a thing is always encouraged.
All images on the site are high-resolution and of professional-level quality. This is the place to go if you need something that was clearly taken with content marketing in mind.
You can search the entire database using specific terms, or you can filter the image feed by category.
Creative Commons Sites (Attribution Required)
These sites require you to include a source link or byline back to the author of the image.
The Stocks is a unique site — and one of our favorites — because it compiles a collection of royalty-free sources. Some of the sites offer Creative Commons Zero content, but we’re including it in the attribution list because there are sites you’ll need to source.
You can click on any of the sites in the left-hand menu and search for images without leaving the site. Keep in mind, though: there are a couple sponsored sites in the list — the site admin needs to make money somehow! But there are plenty of free sources to browse, too.
All Free Download
All Free Download is an entire database of images including vectors, photos, PSD files, icons and fonts. Everything on the site is free to download, with the option to donate to most creators if you feel so inclined.
You do need to provide attribution when you use content on the site, so keep that in mind.
There’s a search function for each section, which is incredibly helpful if you’re looking for something specific. This is especially important when you want a vector image, PSD, icon or font. They aren’t exactly categories that you’d want to browse, as they’re filled to the brim with options.
Freepik is another great site like All Free Download that includes images, vectors, illustrations, PSD files and icons. In other words, there’s a lot more available to you than just stock photos.
Sites like this are a godsend when you don’t want to hire a graphic artist or illustrator — especially if you’re a small business handling social or content marketing in-house.
You must provide attribution with the content you use, however.
What’s the ultimate takeaway?
Photos and images are important, especially for your content. If you’re planning to share that content on a social network, then they are absolutely necessary. These resources will provide your content with much needed visual appeal for your readers to remain engaged through the entire piece.