What’s the best way to get great images for your blog?
You probably already know that the images for your blog should be taken from sources that explicitly allow for their reuse. This normally means they’re licensed under Creative Commons, which is a kind of copyright license that allows you to use the images as long as you attach a proper attribution.
(There are a few variants of the CC license, so you should always pay attention to what exactly your rights are and whether attribution is obligatory or not. Some of the image databases allow to use their photos with no attribution.)
Here are nine great places to get free images for your blog, in alphabetical order:
This website is full of high quality photos … but you (normally) have to pay for them.
However, every week Fotolia selects three photos that can be downloaded and used without paying anything: free royalty-free images of the week. Who knows, maybe they’ll have exactly what you were looking for?
You’ve almost certainly come across Flickr before.
To get images under the right copyright license, you can us specific groups like Free Use, which include only photographs whose owners declare no copyright and grant their works public domain status.
You can also run an advanced search and check the box for Creative Commons (as explained here). Remember that Creative Commons licenses differ from each other, so you should always pay attention to what specific type of CC license you’re about to use.
3. Freerange Stock
You can use these pictures freely, even without adding a proper attribution. However, you’re forbidden to redistribute, repackage, or claim ownership of the images. All the photos offered by FreeRange Stock are in JPG format, and they’re high-quality – they’re always reviewed before being posted. The website also offers free textures, useful in any graphic design project.
The only thing you need to do before starting your search for a perfect picture in their impressive database is to register free of charge on the website.
4. Google Image Search
Google Image Search lets you find images licensed under Creative Commons – but only if you first set your location to the US (if you’re not already in the US!) After that, you’ll see the license filter.
You can use the customized search for looking for images under the following licenses: reuse, commercial reuse, reuse with modification and commercial reuse with modification:
Note that Bing and Yahoo also have similar search functions.
ImageBase is a collection of images, mostly taken by David Niblack, a photographer kind enough to let people use his photos for free. The images downloaded from this website can be used for any purpose, both commercial and non-commercial, without attribution.
You don’t need to register to use the website, and the photos are high quality. The photos found here are of high quality, and, apparently, those of the highest resolution are among the newest ones.
This is a sort of alternative photo sharing platform, whose primary audience are teachers, students, artists and developers. The website was founded in 2023 by Michael Jastremski, and has grown very large.
You can browse through dozens of photo categories that range from animals and food to concepts and holidays. In general, all the photos here are distributed under the Creative Commons license, but the details of the copyright differ for different photos, so always check the exact usage terms before you use the photo on your blog.
This website can be of great use if you write a travel blog – all the photos are organized according to their location, as the platform is based on Google Maps. However, you can only use the photos after contacting the artist and asking for explicit permission. The best place to ask is the comment section below every photo or by using the private messaging feature available at Panoramio. The photos cannot be used for commercial and business purposes, however, unless the photographer agrees to it.
When you use this site, keep in mind that the first row of images (under “Premium results for X on iStockphoto.com” are not free and they come from iStockphoto.
The images listed under “Results for X on SXC.hu” can be used for free, once you’ve registered, but before you go and paste an image onto your blog post, check the picture’s availability as some might require the author to be notified and credited when using the photo for any public work. You’ll find this information in the image info box.
9. Unrestricted Stock
The website creators call their enterprise a mission to bring to the world high quality visual materials for free and I love the sound of that!
Which of these sources of images is your favorited … and which new one will you be trying out? Let us know in the comments.