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by Kathryn Good

Where to Find Free Images

Looking for just the right image to go on your website, blog or social media post? We are too, and we wanted to share our favorite resources. As a commercial business, you must own or have permission to post images that you use on your website and social media platforms. So now where do you go? A few options are outlined below. Whatever you do, don’t give up and do without an image. Images are usually far better at capturing attention in websites, blogs, emails, and social media posts.

Here are our favorite places to find free images:

1. Snap a photo with your phone. The great part about social media and blogging is that the photo doesn’t have to be perfect; it just needs to reinforce your message. If you have a new product, take a quick image, apply an Instagram filter and post it to social media with a “Coming Soon” message. Don’t worry so much about the quality; focus on capturing what is going on in your business. Planning your editorial calendar in advance will help you know what sorts of images you will need. If you know you are publishing an article called “5 Ways to Spend Your Rainy Day Fund” in a couple of weeks, you can plan ahead and take a picture when it rains. 

2. Google Image Search. Let’s just say you didn’t plan ahead and you really need a rainy day photo. Go to Google Image Search and search for rainy day. In the top menu, click on Search Tools and then click the down arrow on usage rights. Select “Labeled for Reuse” if you do not wish to edit the image. Select “Labeled for Reuse with Modification” if you wish to edit the image. Most of these images will require that you give attribution, but there are some that don’t require it. If you are a more visual learner, here is a good guide. Always double check their requirements. If you have to attribute, make sure you are doing it correctly. Keep this article on hand for best practices for attribution. 

3. Pixabay. This site offers free images that do not require attribution. You can edit them, use them in materials – even commercial materials. 

4. Death to the Stock Photo. Sign up and get free photos delivered monthly. Unsplash is a similar service offering 10 new photos, every 10 days. You can use them however you like, no attribution required. 

5. New Old Stock. This is a collection of vintage photographs that are from the public archives, so they are free of known copyright restrictions. There is no search, so be prepared to spend some time browsing, but you might find just what you need. 

6. Gratisography. If you are looking for something a little more unique, this might be your place. 

Images for Purchase:

If you need to buy images, we recommend Shutterstock, BigStock and Stocksy.

Copyright Issues?

If you find an image and just want to double check its origin, TinEye is a fantastic tool. Please be careful about using images without checking copyrights on photography. The use of that photo could end with extortion letters. For example, here is a good read. (http://www.ryanhealy.com/getty-images-extortion-letter/)

If you are interested in creating your own graphics, check out our previous article that lists several tools that will make creating graphics a little easier.