A picture may not always say a thousand words, (sorry bloggers, you still have to write!) but an eye-catching image can certainly go a long way toward enticing your audience. Let’s take a closer look at the best free stock image sites on the market.
Blogging with enticing and provocative images is a fantastic way to boost your SEO and client engagement (read our article on blogging here). In your arsenal of marketing tools, images are a major player, so it’s important to use the best resources you can find. You’ll find plenty of inspiration here.
Boost your Google ranking with images
Don’t forget to keyword your image and add alternative text behind the scenes to boost your SEO efforts. If your image requires attribution, go to the trouble of finding the artists own website for a second link. Remember, cross-linking to other sites not only gives them the credit they deserve, but it also gives your own page an SEO boost.
Before you search for the perfect free image for your new blog post, let’s have a quick look at the legalities around the use of stock images.
What does “No Copyright” really mean?
When dealing with free stock images, it’s important to understand the rules of use. The Creative Commons Public Domain is a collection of work that has been dedicated to public use. If there is a “No Copyright” statement on the image, it means the original creator has waived all his or her rights on the work, to the extent allowed by law. You can, therefore, use, modify, distribute the work without their permission, including for commercial use.
It goes without saying of course, that the image creator is not liable for and does not endorse any work in which you use it.
Support the photographers and artists
You may still need to attribute the creator when you use their work – this will be specified on the image itself (always check). But the good news is that you have access to a spectacular database of resources to make your website content and blog posts, shine.
Keep in mind that not all of the images on the sites may be free. Most stock image sites make their money by listing paid images too (by displaying advertisements to a third-party image supplier). They then receive affiliate income from the source referral or by showcasing the photographer’s other (paid) images that may suit your purposes better. On some sites, in lieu of a backlink, you may also be offered the choice of following the artist on a social media channel or donating to their work instead. Consider at least one of these options when you can. After all, these sites are built upon the creativity and generosity of the artists.
Let’s have a look at where you can find the best.
The top sites for free stock images
One of the most popular stock image and video sites you’ll find, Pixabay boasts over 1.6 million images, donated by a massive community of artists. All images have no attribution required, even for commercial purposes. Explore videos, photos, illustrations and vectors to your heart’s content. Have your mind blown by some incredible CG and wilderness shots. If you’re working with video in particular, start right here.
You’ll find both images and videos by immensely talented photographers here. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you’re simply not looking! You can search the massive database by keywords and top photographers, and choose to share their work, follow their Instagram account or donate. With a growing database of thousands, the world is, literally, at your fingertips.
Feminine Stock Photography for the woman entrepreneur. This site has a beautiful collection of clean, crisp and vibrant images that will appeal to business owners and bloggers with a dominantly female audience. With lots of white space, stylish layouts and object-oriented photography, this site is seriously worth checking out. An impressive array of business, nature and lifestyle images will jump out at you. These images have a wonderfully tranquil, modern tone. Not to be missed.
Vibrant landscape, food and portraits will leap out at you when you visit this boutique collection. You’ll find rich colours and seasonal images for your blog as well as some stylish background textures. FreeStocks is well worth having a look through if you’re after something a little bit different.
You’ll find thousands of stunning, high-quality images here, which are completely free of copyright restrictions. No attribution is necessary. You can search by category or trending image with hundreds of new images added daily. This is a one-stop-extravaganza of enticing photos to suit every need.
Rawpixel offers a huge database of photos, vectors, photoshop images, and illustrations. There is a separate Public Domain category with some amazing space images from NASA. As a bonus for graphic designers, you’ll also find Design Resources including mockups, icons and design sets, all for use on commercial projects, for free, with no attribution required.
Thousands of stock photos, graphics, illustrations and vectors have been donated by talented artists to create this huge collection of copyright free images. StockVault also has an impressive category listing of textures for backgrounds and wallpapers (think plastic, wood, liquid, metallic etc) as well as all the usual categories you’re after. As a bonus extra, you can also download logos, ClipArt, photoshop brushes and web templates.
Unsplash includes wallpapers, textures and patterns as well as over half a million stunning images. These are sorted by category, including experimental and unusual photography techniques for when you’re feeling creative. You’ll find images from Nasa, Trello, Apple and InVision. Unsplash images have been used for marketing top-name companies.
Search over one thousand photos of delectable dishes, ingredients, grains, fruit and drinks. This resource is utter perfection for anyone in the hospitality industry or writing a foodies blog. Just looking at this collection makes you hungry. Interesting and ethnic dishes, as well as raw plates, coffees and lifestyle shots, are offered. The images have superb focus, bright colours and best of all, a royalty-free license. Yum!
Shopify have developed this huge database of images based upon the trending products of their online stores. It is primarily for use by their shop-owners, but also available for general public use. (They’ve also got some great free info about sizing images for ads, covers, videos and posts on Facebook for marketing purposes). There are over thirty collections to choose from (including cinemagraphs). Burst has pretty much everything a small business could need.
Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com from Pexels