You probably already recognize the value of including images with your business’s blog posts, but just in case you’re not convinced, here are a few quick stats:
- Posts with images get 94% more page views and engagement than those without.
- 60% of consumers say they are more likely to click through to a business’s web page if they see images from that business in their search results.
- 40% of consumers respond better to visual content than plain text.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a skilled photographer or graphic designer to start adding images to your blog posts. You also don’t have to spend money on a subscription stock photo service (unless you decide that it’s worth paying for the convenience), thanks to the plethora of free online image databases out there. Here a few places to find free images and high-quality Creative Commons (or public domain) photos.
Creative Commons Search lets you find free images for commercial-usage on several different major search databases, including Flickr, Fotopedia, Google Images, and Open Clip Art library. It’s a convenient place to start your search, rather than going to each of the major image databases separately.
Photo Pin is specifically aimed at bloggers and allows you to easily find free images through Flickr’s Creative Commons database. Although most of the pictures you’ll find here are from amateur photographers, you can find high-quality images if you do some digging. Be sure to click on the image to check for license restrictions—some images can be used in any setting, while others require attribution, non-commercial use, and no alterations to the original photo.
morgueFile compiles photos from some subscription sites but also has a selection of free, high-resolution stock photos for corporate or public use. The images are mostly post-production photos from creatives who have given their permission to share.
Unsplash. The nice thing about Unsplash is that it lets you download and use high-quality stock images for any purpose, without having to worry about the attribution. The downside is that they only share 10 new photos every 10 days, so if you’re searching for a specific type of image, it’s going to be a bit limiting.
Dreamstime is a subscription stock photo database, but they also have a nice selection of regularly-updated free stock photos that you can use as long as you set up a free account with them.
RGBStock is run by a group of photographers and graphic designers with the goal of making free stock images available to those who can’t pay for them. You do have to register to use the site, but the sign-up process is straightforward, and once you’re registered you have access to a fairly large database of photos and illustrations.
IM Freeis set up to share content for commercial use, so you won’t have to worry about running into any copyright or attribution issues. The selection of photos is somewhat small (the category “Business” currently contains 36 items, for example, while the “Technology” section only contains 13), but all the images they have are high-quality. You can browse by category or by keyword.
Pixabay curates photos, vectors, and drawings that are all in the public domain (meaning you don’t have to worry about attribution or licensing). They have a fairly large selection (currently over 260,000 pieces of visual content), and you can easily search using either keywords or more general categories.
PicJumbo has a collection of photos from one photographer and web designer who wanted to give other web designers easy access to high-quality photos. All the photos can be used commercially without attribution. There’s no search function, but you can look through a number of categories including Architecture, Fashion, Food, People, and Technology.
New Old Stock. If you’re specifically looking for vintage photographs, New Old Stock is a good site to visit. They collect old public domain photos (free of known copyright restrictions). They do have a somewhat inconspicuous search function in the upper left corner of the site, but be prepared for limited search results.
Don’t Forget to Add Attribution When Applicable
Although most of the sites above offer images that are free to use commercially with no strings attached, some Creative Commons images that you encounter may ask you to include attribution. Creative Commons photos with licensing restrictions ask that you add attribution in a “reasonable manner,” so you have some leeway. However, the best way to do this is to include the attribution at the end of the blog post or as a caption to the photo, like this:
As you can see in the example above, the attribution includes:
- The photo’s title and a link to the original photo
- The photo’s author and a link to their Flickr profile page
- The license and a link to the licensing deed (which you can usually find by clicking the “Some Rights Reserved” link on the original photo page)
Make sure that you’re giving proper credit for the photos you use when necessary, and if you don’t want to deal with adding attribution, look through the many databases that allow for free commercial usage of their photos. There’s no shortage of free images available online, so you should have no trouble finding the right ones for your blog.