Old Favorites and New Resources for Imagery
This is one of our most popular posts, originally published in June 2014. We'd updated to offer some new sources.
The more we consult with clients, the more frequently we are asked about imagery to be used in blogs and on websites. Do any of these questions sound familiar?
"Where do I find good images for my site?"
"How can I make sure I don't get in trouble for the images I use?"
"How much do I have to pay for images? Wait...I can download images for free?! Where?"
It is really easy to open up your browser and do a Google image search, download, and then insert pictures into your content. However, this course of action can lead to major financial consequences when using copyright protected images in your blog, on your website, or in any content that you are creating.
Before you get slapped with a hefty fine from Getty Images or a licensed sports team, make sure your visual content is being sourced appropriately. Understand the various types of Creative Commons licenses and how to use them correctly. Some images require purchase and licensing where others may only require attribution.
So where do you go on the web to get great images without it costing a fortune?
Online Resources for Quality (Free) Visual Content
1. Free Digital Photos
Free Digital Photos is a go-to visual content website for our content team, as the site offers a large inventory of free images that are easy to search by category and typically the use of the images only requires attribution to the photographer.
When you need beautiful images, well-crafted vector images or video content, Pixabay is a great resource. With over 460,000 free images and easy search functionality, this website curates stunning, royalty-free imagery from across the web for use in your content.
3. IM Free
IM Free is awesome for curated images and templates that are all for commercial use. Organized by category, this site makes it easy to find exactly what you're looking for, no matter what industry you are in.
Rgbstock requires registration, but they have a robust stock of images (not stock images) from both graphic artists and photographers.
5. Death To The Stock Photo
Hate stock photos? So does Death to The Stock Photo! This site offers hi-res lifestyle photos on its website and through monthly email subscription. You do need to join, but it is worth it. Just enter your email address and let the beautiful images roll in!
PicJumbo may not have a search bar, but they do have a big inventory of all types of images to choose from free of charge and with no registration. Like Death to the Stock Photo, this site delivers monthly packages to your inbox.
Unsplash is a very basic site that is not very impressive at first glance as you can see below, but they have fantastic high-res images photos. Need visual inspiration? Download 10 Unsplash images every ten days for free.
Photo Search Tools
The websites listed below allow you to search through Flickr or public photos to easily locate images to use. Some allow free downloads and others are paid, but most will just require attribution for each image you use in your content.
Compfight uses API integration with Flickr to make it easy for you to search for usable images. They have an easy to use search bar to locate your images.
9. Creative Commons Search
Creative Commons Search gives you access to multiple platforms to search for images from Google to Flickr and even additional media channels. This site it great if you have specific venues or areas to search.
10. Google Advanced Image Search
A hidden gem that many don’t know about, Google offers a custom search feature that you can use to locate free images.
As you can see in the images below we have completed an image search for “HubSpot office pics”. Now all you need to do is click on “usage rights”.
Now you can select “Labeled for reuse with modification” as you can see below. It is pretty obvious, but be sure not to use the images “labeled for noncommercial reuse” for your blog or website unless you have obtained written permission from the image owner.
Canva is not a resource for free images, but it does provide you with free images to use inside of their easy to use design platform and is another go-to for our social media and content team.
We use Canva everyday in multiple departments to create social media graphics, blog images, graphics for CTAs, and even infographics.If you’re not proficient in Photoshop you need to add Canva to your design tool kit. Even if you are, Canva is way faster for content creators who are cranking out a lot of content.
Now, Canva for Work makes it even easier for your team to collaborate on imagery for your website, allowing you to maintain branding standards by saving your logos, colors schemes, favorite images and preferred artwork.
Now--go get creative! If we left out some of your favorite resources, send us a note and we'll continue to update this post with even more fan favorites.