Copyright is a massive pain when you are an online content creator, photos are essential for illustrating your story, but royalty free images can be hard to find.
If you are wanting to stay legal, you will need to find a quality source of stock images which are permissible for use.
There are plenty of paid options, Shutterstock is one such example, but what if you are a freelancer, or your business doesn’t have the budget for subscription-based image services?
Here are my suggestions for completely free image sites:
(just one thing – many of these sites have links to Shutterstock and other paid images in them as adverts. Just keep an eye out and make sure you select the free ones)
With over 100,000 completely free images on the site, over 20,000 of those are exclusive to them.
New images are added to the library daily and their ultimate goal is to get to more than 1 million images.
Pikiwizard specialises in pictures of people, which tend to be rare in free stock photo sites.
Searches for “office” or “meeting” bring up high-quality options, all of which are free to use without attribution.
If you are looking for the biggest library of free photos, I can’t think of a better option than this! At the time of writing, it offers “a collection of 53,843,842 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute.”
Do watch out here though because there are certain variations of licensing, some of which require you to credit the author or state what license the image has.
Wikimedia Commons has its pros and cons. While it has the largest database of images, it doesn’t always offer the best photos for the job. If you are looking for professional, artistic photography, you may be disappointed, otherwise, this will do just fine.
You may notice that it has more to offer than just a stock image library. Wikimedia Commons also does photography competitions and challenges so if you have some good snaps, it’s well worth getting them up there!
Offering over a million free photos to use on your websites or projects, this is my go-to stock image site.
I will quite often be able to get what I need from here, but there are some topics which have fewer options uploaded.
For some people, this will never be an issue, it depends on the topics you write about.
I really like Pixabay for its easy to use interface and a large selection of images.
The photos are all good quality and if you want something a bit more professional looking than Wikimedia Commons, this is a good place to start.
This site offers a clean interface and a nice selection of photos.
They are all nicely tagged and free in cost as well as free to use under a Creative Commons CC0 license.
This site is opened side by side with Pixabay when I need a photo because it offers a broad range of searchable topics.
Another fantastic site, this one has a large library and a high-quality selection. It has a really nice Trending page where you can find the current best images.
A really nice looking website which offers more than just a good selection of pictures.
Pexels will also suit your video needs and so if you have a requirement for both image and footage, this should be the main one on your bookmarks list.
Did I miss any? Add your favourites in the comments below!