Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could just type in a keyword and generate a plethora of free images we could for any purpose in our business? Blog posts, social media posts, ebooks, courses.
The good news is we can!
Free image sites have popped up all over the web this past few years and the quality is absolutely superb.
- Beware of Copyright: Understand the risks associated with using copyrighted images online, as legal consequences can arise, and fines may be incurred.
- Free Image Resources: Discover high-quality free image sources such as Unsplash, Freepik, Morgue File, Free Digital Photos, Flickr, Stockvault, Pixabay, Public Domain Pictures, and Videvo, each with its own usage terms.
- Attribution Practices: Pay attention to attribution requirements on free image sites like Freepik and Stockvault, as some may require giving credit to the image creator.
- Commercial Use: Be aware of specific licensing terms, especially for commercial use, and choose images accordingly.
- Diversify Content with Video and Audio: Explore platforms like Videvo that provide not only images but also stock footage clips, motion graphics, video templates, music tracks, and sound effects.
- Premium Options: For more diverse or specialized content needs, consider paid stock image websites like 123rf, Shutterstock, Deposit Photos, iStock, Getty Images, Dreamstime, Fotolia (Adobe Stock), and StoryBlocks.
- StoryBlocks for Varied Media: Consider StoryBlocks as an affordable option offering unlimited access to photos, videos, and audio for regular content creators.
- Due Diligence: Before using images, conduct due diligence by checking the terms of each site to ensure compliance with licensing requirements.
- Legal Caution: When in doubt about image usage, seek advice from someone qualified in copyright law to avoid potential legal issues.
- Enjoy Creativity: Download, use, amend, and share images responsibly, and have fun expressing your message visually in your online content.
What is Copyright?
Many years ago I was fined over $1000 for having a ‘copyright’ image on my website.
It was a long time ago now and I was actually able to throw it back to the company that built my website (very grey area, not sure how we got away with that!), but it was pretty scary at the time as a small business without much spare cash on hand!
So let me start this post by telling you what it’s not.
I am not a solicitor/lawyer. In fact, I have never had any kind of legal training in my life. Therefore I am not about to try to extol the ins and outs of copyright laws to you.
Here are a couple of great articles which will give you a greater understanding of what you should and shouldn’t be doing legally with images online.
Copyright Law on the Internet is a Total Train Wreck Right Now – Hubspot (Also comes with 160 free images! Thanks Hubspot.)
With that being said, how can this post help you?
Where to Find Free & Cheap Images
In this post I have created a list of image sites split into Free Stock Photo Images & Paid Stock Images, that you can use as a reference guide at any time to ensure you’re getting your images from reputable sites with very specific (and easy to understand) licensing info so that you know you’re on the right side of the law!
Just remember this. If you’re ever in doubt about the use of an image then it’s best to either not use it or get advice from someone qualified in the law of the land!
Free Image Websites
Now don’t mix up the term ‘copyright free’ with a free (ie, no cost) image site. Many ‘copyright free’ websites are actually paid images.
Here are a few websites that provide either free images or a free trial where you have a window of time to gather a certain amount of free images.
Starting with my absolute favourite!
Unsplash – Free (do whatever you want) hi-resolution photos
This site is awesome! The pics are super high quality and you can use them for personal and commercial use, no attribution required although of course always appreciated!
Amazing photos! Well worth checking out.
Freepik.com – offers free to download, high-quality images, designs, and mockups
This website is fantastic, as all the photos are high-quality and unique. Whether looking for designs or pictures, you’ll find the perfect asset on Freepik.
Please note to use the site for free you will need to give attribution to the creator (which is always good practice anyway). To download photos without giving credit you can join one of their very reasonably priced premium packages.
The library is updated on a daily basis, so it’s worth checking out.
This site is an absolute find!
Super easy to use, simply add a search term and up pops a page full of great free images. Click on the image of your choice and a big download button will pop up.
Once again there’s nowhere on there that says you absolutely must give attribution, but it’s always good practice to do so.
Free Digital Photos
Another site with a plethora of free images, however, this one isn’t quite as easy to use as Morgue File. The sizes of the free images are all 400 x 274 and you must give attribution.
To download the free image you have to agree to the terms of service, fill out a captcha form and then download so it’s not rocket science just a few more clicks.
If you want a bigger image or would rather not give attribution then you have to pay.
Flickr is a fab site. Just type in your keyword. Once the photo’s show up, on the top left is a small down arrow that says ‘Any License.’ Choose ‘All Creative Commons’, select your image and click on the button under the image to see the licensing terms.
For most of them, it will be to simply ensure you give relevant attribution to the creator.
Then you just click download and select the size you want. Easy peasy!
Another beautifully easy to use website. Just type in your keyword and download your free photo!
Beware though, not all the photos on this site are for commercial or free use. Be sure to check the license next to each photo you select.
Other than that though you have the most amazing choice of fantastic free images!
Another absolute beauty! You’re never going to need to pay for an image again after looking at some of these resources!
Here’s what Pixabay’s terms of service say;
- All content on Pixabay can be used for free for commercial and noncommercial use across print and digital, except in the cases mentioned in “What is not allowed”.
- Attribution is not required. Giving credit to the contributor or Pixabay is not necessary but is always appreciated by our community.
- You can make modifications to content from Pixabay.
Public Domain Pictures
Just find the image you want, right-click and save as. Bob’s Your Uncle. Check the license requirements under the pics though. Most want you to link back to the page.
Also if you want to use the image commercially different rules apply.
Of course, we don’t just want images anymore!
If you’re not including video or audio in your online content these days you’re missing out on a huge potential audience.
That’s why I love this platform!
Over 500,000 stock footage clips, motion graphics, video templates, music tracks and sound effects. All covered by their own Videvo attribution license or creative commons 3.0.
They also have a very affordable premium version if you prefer the comfort of royalty- free, which means you don’t have to give attribution to the original creator.
Also if you happen to be an awesome videographer and are looking to monetize your talent, get in touch. They’re waiting to hear from you!
Alrighty! That’s my little list of FREE image (and video) sites and what a list it is.
Just make sure when looking at any of these sites, do your own due diligence. Check out the terms for each site so you’re going in with your eyes wide open.
Then download, use, amend, share, and have FUN!
Now even though that’s a fab list of free sites, there may be times that you will want to use images from a paid stick site, maybe you just can’t find what you need on the free sites. So here are some great resources for you.
If you prefer to take your own images, make sure to check out my Best Cameras for Travel Blogging article.
Paid Stock Image Websites
To be honest they’re all much of a muchness. You can purchase packages or buy images on demand. Packages will always work out cheaper but do require an upfront cost.
Here are a list of my favourites.
Fotolia (Now Adobe Stock)
I love Storyblocks! A relatively new kid on the block, for only $29/month you can access unlimited photos, video & audio. Well worth a look if you’re creating any kind of media or content on a regular basis.
Pros and Cons of Using Free and Cheap Images for Your Online Business
- Cost-Effective Solutions: Utilizing free and cheap images from platforms like Unsplash, Pixabay, and Freepik can significantly reduce your visual content expenses.
- Diverse Options: Access a wide range of images, including lifestyle photos, business stock, illustrations, and vector graphics, allowing for varied and engaging content creation.
- No Copyright Worries: Free image sites often provide content with no copyright restrictions, alleviating concerns about legal issues and fines related to copyright infringement.
- Creative Freedom: Enjoy the freedom to download, modify, and use images for personal and commercial purposes without the need for attribution in many cases.
- Regular Updates: Many free image sites, such as Freepik and Stockvault, update their libraries regularly, offering a fresh and extensive collection for your ongoing content needs.
- Exploration of Multimedia: Platforms like Videvo expand beyond images, offering stock footage, music tracks, and sound effects, enhancing the multimedia experience of your online content.
- Affordable Premium Options: For those seeking higher quality or specialized content, affordable premium options like StoryBlocks provide unlimited access to a diverse media library.
- Limited Exclusivity: Free images may be widely used by others, potentially diminishing the exclusivity of your visual content.
- Attribution Requirements: Some free image sites, such as Freepik and Stockvault, may require attribution, impacting the simplicity of image usage.
- Variable Image Sizes: Free images may come in fixed sizes, like 400 x 274, potentially requiring additional effort for resizing or compromising on visual consistency.
- Commercial Use Considerations: While many free images are suitable for both personal and commercial use, specific licensing terms may apply, necessitating careful attention.
- Time-Consuming Downloads: Free image downloads may involve additional steps, such as agreeing to terms and filling out captchas, potentially leading to a more time-consuming process.
- Limited Search Filters: Free image sites might have fewer search filters compared to premium options, making it slightly challenging to find highly specific or niche content.
- Quality Variations: While many free image sites offer high-quality content, there may be variations in quality compared to premium stock image websites.
While free and cheap image options offer substantial benefits for cost-conscious online businesses, users should weigh the advantages against potential limitations to make informed decisions based on their specific needs and preferences.
Where to Get Free & Cheap Images for Your Online Business – Summary
So there you have it. A pretty comprehensive list of free & paid options for you. You never need to be without an image source again!
In the meantime, get downloading! An image says 1000 words, so where you can, say it with a pic!
Where to Get Free & Cheap Images for Your Online Business – FAQs
Where can I get free digital images?
You can find a variety of free digital images on platforms like Unsplash, Pixabay, Freepik, Morgue File, and other reputable free stock photo sites. These sites offer high-quality images for personal and commercial use, often with no copyright restrictions.
How can I download pictures from a website for free?
To download pictures from a website for free, you can use platforms like Unsplash, Pixabay, or Freepik, where images are available for free download. Simply navigate to the desired image, follow the site’s download instructions, and ensure compliance with any licensing terms, such as providing attribution when required.
How do I search Google for free images?
To search Google for free images, follow these steps:
- Use Specific Keywords: Incorporate keywords like “free images,” “no copyright,” or “free stock photos” along with your desired image type or topic.
- Utilize Advanced Search Filters: Click on “Tools” under the search bar, select “Usage Rights,” and choose options like “Labeled for reuse” or “Labeled for non-commercial reuse” to find images with specific usage permissions.
- Explore Image Sources: Visit reputable free image websites like Unsplash, Pixabay, or Freepik directly to access high-quality images without worrying about copyright issues.
- Check License Information: Even when using Google search, click on the image to view its source and check the licensing information to ensure it aligns with your intended use.
Remember to always respect copyright laws and usage terms when downloading and using images found through Google search.