If you want your blog to catch attention and get read, you need to use great images to draw the eye and persuade people to open your posts. But if you blog a lot, buying stock images can add up really quickly and eat into your marketing budget.
Obviously, you can’t just pop on Google Images and use any image you like the look of for your blog posts or social media (See Peg Fitzpatrick’s excellent article on this: https://pegfitzpatrick.com/oh-snap-can-i-legally-use-that-photo/), but there are plenty of high quality free image sites out there to keep your budget down:
1) Unsplash (https://unsplash.com/)
The images on Unsplash really are spectacular, and you can sign up for free. The license for Unsplash is site wide, so you don’t need to look at individual photographs to find out how you can use them, and the nutshell version of the license is simply ‘do whatever you want’. Here’s a link for more details: https://unsplash.com/license.
2) Morguefile (https://morguefile.com/)
Don’t be put off by the name – it’s a term that was popular in the newspaper industry, and a morgue file is just ‘a place to keep post production materials for use of reference.’
While not all of the images are up to the standards of Unsplash, you can still find some amazing free photographs for your blog.
Here’s a link to the license page: https://morguefile.com/license.
3) Freerange (https://freerangestock.com/index.php)
The tag line for this site says it all – “Great photos. Totally free.”
You can find gorgeous backgrounds, textures, landscapes, patterns and more, and all of them are totally fine to use on your blog. The only thing you can’t do is use the images to create products on Zazzle or similar sites.
Check out the license here: https://freerangestock.com/licensing.php.
4) Life of Pix (https://www.lifeofpix.com/)
There are some staggeringly good images on Life of Pix and, even better, they are all free and public domain, so you can use them on your blogs and social media without having to pay. And they have a sister site for free use videos which is well worth a visit: http://www.lifeofvids.com/.
5) StockSnap (https://stocksnap.io/)
With categories from business to wallpaper, and just about everything in between, StockSnap has some amazing images, and they all come under the Creative Commons CCO license (https://stocksnap.io/license), which means you can use them on your blog, and pretty much anywhere else you like.
6) Vintage Stock Photos (http://vintagestockphotos.com/)
Finally, for something a little different, check out Vintage Stock Photos for images of yesteryear. Browse vintage street scenes and road trips, landmarks, cities and more, all for free use on your blog, as long as you don’t package and redistribute them or make printed products.
Check the license for what you can and can’t do: http://vintagestockphotos.com/licensing.php.
Free image sites really can make all the difference, both to the visibility of your blog, and to your bottom line, with the savings you make from not spending on stock photos.
Do you have a favourite free image site? Let me know in the comments!