Photography is huge on the Internet. Websites are in constant need of images with higher resolutions, and the tastes of the audience — which determine which images get clicks and which don’t — change frequently. When you start blogging, finding free images for your blog can be one of the most intimidating tasks you face. This guide will make it all a lot less painful.
Images, like all creative works, are made available under different licenses. In order to use images on your blog without running the risk of legal trouble, you’ll need to understand the terms of these licenses. If you aren’t confident in your ability to select truly free images and use them properly on your blog, you can check out my guide to image licensing for bloggers for more info.
Websites With Free Images for Your Blog
You can find free images for your blog almost anywhere, but some websites make their materials much easier to access and use. Ideally, you’ll use sites that allow you to download images directly to your computer in a variety of sizes, such as those listed here.
Keep in mind that this is in no way a comprehensive list. There are certainly other stock photo and public domain image websites out there, and — provided you attribute the images properly — you shouldn’t have any problem using them to find free images for your blog.
This isn’t a photo website, but it is a great resource when you’re looking for free, quality images. Creative Commons Search allows you to quickly scan prominent websites — such as Google Images and Flickr — for free images. Both of those sites, of course, allow you to limit your search to only return free-use images, but Creative Commons Search automatically sets these parameters for you, making finding your images that much faster.
Flickr is the website for photographers, many of whom make their work available for free. The site even separates images with CC licenses in The Commons area, and makes viewing different licenses a breeze. Unless you’re looking specifically for stock photos, Flickr should be your first stop.
Wikimedia Commons is basically a giant pool of wiki images, many of which are in the public domain. Every image has ownership and source info attached, as well as citation requests from the author, if any. Bots and users alike often pull images from other websites to add to Wikimedia, so don’t be surprised if you see your favorite Flickr image here.
Stock Photo Websites
There are many, many free stock photo websites out there, and each has its own rules for use. Some will require you to credit the images’ creators, but others provide materials with CC0 — that is, public domain — licenses. Here’s a list of great free stock photo websites for you to check out.
Your Own Camera
If you have a good digital camera, or even a decent phone camera, and minimal photo editing skills, this may be the best option for you. Using your own camera gives you complete control over what appears on your blog; you aren’t at the mercy of stock photographers.
Particularly if you’re a lifestyle blogger, taking your own pictures can net you the best results. After all, it’s a bit disingenuous to put up photographs of someone else’s DIY project, recipe, or outfit-of-the-day as examples of your own, isn’t it?
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