Writing content is important for any website or social media presence. Just as important for content is the images you include in your posts or website pages. If you use photos of your own, you’re a step ahead of the game, but it’s not feasible for many bloggers and entrepreneurs to create the image content you need to make an impact.
Finding free stock photos can be a challenge, and if you skimp on the work to find them, you can find yourself in hot water for copyright infringement. You should never pull an image from Google or other search engines without getting permission from the license holder of that image, or they can sue you, causing a massive financial burden on you or your company.
Idea Maker uses free stock photos in much of their work and has found many options to pursue the best photos for each application.
Pexels is a large database of free stock photos submitted by users. You can download them for your own use and donate and attribute credit to the photographer if you’d like, but it’s not required. The images are often shot to make them easy to edit to include things like screenshots and additional images within the original.
Pexels is a website that brings content creators of all sorts together. There are also videos available for your use. You can sign up as a member to contribute or download, and the membership gives you the ability to curate groups of images by whatever categorization you’d like.
Terms and Conditions: They state that they wanted to keep the site simple and easy to use on the website. All images are free; you can use them where you’d like and are free to edit them and get creative.
Types of Photos: The photos on Pexels range in style and application. There are lifestyle photos, such as friends playing video games, couples dancing under stars, and parents playing with their kids. There are technology photos like blanket screened phones, tablets, and computers staged for marketing. You can also find images to base your computer wallpapers or website backdrops.
This site partners with website design platforms like WIX to create an easy-to-access process for free stock photos. UnSplash features photos that are artistic and valuable for marketing on your website or social media platform.
Terms and Conditions: UnSplash grants license to use their images for commercial and personal use, so long as they are not sold or used to create a similar and competing platform. Further, if you do choose to alter and edit the images, you can. While you don’t need to get permission from the photographer to use these images, attribution is appreciated.
Types of Photos: You can find a bit of everything here, from big-city skylines to a field of wildflowers to a business meeting and everything in between.
Pixabay is a free stock photo collection site that offers beautiful images from contributing photographer members. The images can be used for blogging, Instagram, and other social media platforms for marketing. With over 2.3 million images, you’ll have plenty to choose from.
Terms and Conditions: With Pixabay, you may use the images in your blogs or social media so long as you’ve not misused the images. You will be asked to sign up for a free membership to take advantage of the resources available.
Types of Photos: You can find everything from fun backgrounds for social media posts to assets for marketing campaigns and everything in between.
This site is simple to navigate. The Homepage has an easy-to-find search bar, or you can choose a category from its top four groupings. Business, Nature, People, and Technology are the top search queries, making it easy to find.
Terms and Conditions: ShotStash gives free rein to use the images downloaded in any way you see fit for your personal or business needs. Attribution is encouraged but not required.
Types of Photos: As mentioned above, the photos available range greatly, but the most popular downloads and searches are for business, nature, people, and technology subjects. People can use them for everything from business assets used in marketing to creating fun and quirky social media engagement posts or putting a pretty image on the background of your phone’s home screen.
Representation is such a core topic of discussion right now, and the folks at Nappy had a vision to even the scales for the representation of BIPOC individuals. The site’s goal is to bring more awareness to the huge gap in representation in the media of black and brown people.
Terms and Conditions: All photos from this site are licensed for free use under the Creative Commons Zero. You can use the photos for personal or business uses, edit, alter and use to your heart’s content.
All they ask in return is that you credit the original artist, don’t use the images in derogatory ways, don’t post the images on other image share sites, and don’t resell the images without major modifications.
Types of Photos: With this site, you can find photos for nearly every need, from BIPOC individuals working in offices and job sites to beautifully garbed culturally proud individuals laughing and talking with their friends. You’ll find photos of kids playing and people standing for their beliefs. The important thing about Nappy’s collection of photos is that they are images of real people doing real things.
Giphy is a little different. They don’t offer still frame photos but instead offer GIFs to use on your website or social media platforms. A GIF is a short clip of a recorded media or an animated short without sound. In the modern age of technology, many people use GIFs to communicate their meaning using commonly understood pop culture clips.
GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format, and it was originally launched in 1987. Most social media chat programs use GIFs as a regular form of communication. They’ve become more popular than ever in the last decade, with the commonality of FB replacing most other messaging services.
Terms and Conditions: You can use the GIFs provided by Giphy for personal purposes, so long as you don’t use them for nefarious or degrading purposes, and don’t claim them as your own, and don’t distribute them commercially. Further, as part of their Terms and Conditions, you must be at least 13 to hold an account with them.
Giphy reserves the right to remove the GIF you use from access at any time but typically doesn’t do this without good cause. Some of the content created for the Giphy platform originates from copyrighted content such as TV shows or movies. Therefore, if a third party chooses to revoke the licensing to use that image or GIF, they are obligated to remove access to the content.
Types of Photos: GIFs from Giphy can be created from movies, TV shows, Youtube clips, and many other visual media options. Additionally, some animators have begun offering GIFs with transparent backgrounds as visual assets to add to your web content.
7. Visual Hunt
While most stock photo sites are people-focused, Visual Hunt is a site full of products and displays of items rather than people. Interior designers often use this site for idea boards and real estate photographers to source assets for their virtual staging services.
This type of service allows for content to be created without moving and photographing furniture and other items in homes or offices to convey the vision of the agent or interior designers.
Terms and Conditions: Visual Hunt uses the Flickr API. This means that if you choose creative commons for your licensing when you upload your photos onto Flickr, they will be available for search and use through Visual Hunt. Websites can not regulate photos used under the creative commons licensing, and contributors can not retract the license. Therefore, select a different licensing option if you don’t want your images used by Visual Hunt or other Flickr API sites.
When using photos found on Visual Hunt, you can credit the original artist; this is suggested. However, it’s not required for use. By using the Visual Hunt services, you legally promise to use the code provided to ensure appropriate credit and that it is not your intention to use the images for illegal purposes within your local jurisdiction. It is your responsibility to ensure that your use of the photos doesn’t violate any laws in your locality.
Further, VIsual Hunt reserves the right to change these Terms and Conditions and periodically email you about the updates. Your access and account can be revoked, and you can be blocked from future uses if your account is found to have violated these T&Cs.
Types of Photos: Photos from Visual Hunt are available in two primary formats. First, you can find products photographed as the focus of the image, often with white background. The second is the products staged into the rooms in which they belong. For example, you can find an image of a crib on its own or a crib staged into a furnished nursery.
Canva provides more than just images. This program is a base for professional-level graphics for your social media, business cards, website, and more. The images and other graphics assets are available to users in tiers of service. You can choose to stay within the “free” tier, which restricts the number of assets, images, animations, and text fonts you can use. Another option is the pay-as-you-play option, where you can use the Premium assets for $1 per item. The last option is the Subscription service: for a low monthly subscription fee, you are granted access to all templates, images, animations, and font bundles.
Terms and Conditions: Canva is, first and foremost, a platform for artists and designers to collaborate on projects together. It provides options for artists and designers of different levels to create masterpieces for their personal or business use.
Canva does require that its contributors be at least 13 years of age and abide by local and digital regulations in your home country. If at any point they determine that you’re not following the T&Cs that you agree to when you sign up, your account can be permanently deactivated.
Types of Photos: You can use your own photos within templates and designs or use those provided in the element search. Roughly half of all assets and elements in the Canva database are available for the free service.
9. Creative Commons Search
Creative Commons has been around for 20 years and is a resource for every type of media. You can find photos, audio recordings, textbooks, and other writings offered under the Creative Commons licensing regulations.
Contributors share their resources for the simple sake of building a better tomorrow by sharing what we have today. Contributing to the Creative Commons database gives resources to many who would otherwise be unable to complete projects without the free resources.
Terms and Conditions: The Creative Commons licenses all of its media for use under the CC BY 4.0, and as such, you agree to the terms of this legal regulation when you use the services. Creative Commons reserves the right to T&Cs at any point and will post a notice of these changes at the time of the change. If you continue to use the media supplied, you agree to the new and altered T&Cs.
Credit the artist, when possible, and don’t use the resource for nefarious purposes. Maintain legal knowledge about how these services can be used, and contact your own legal counsel if you have questions. Not all circumstances will fit this service.
Types of Photos: Most commonly, people use the Creative Commons for blogs, social media posts, and reading materials. Photos you’ll likely find on CC for this purpose are nature or landscapes. You can also find people conducting their business and abstract compositions from artists all over the world.
Photos on Burst are high-quality content submitted by anyone who has photos to contribute to the world. This service is popular because the photos are organized by category and keyword tags. You can also search for specific types of images for your project. Not all images will be free, but many are. Contributors can create their own Shopify store within the app to sell their digital images and offer them as prints.
Terms and Conditions: If you contribute images or videos to the site and agree to free licensing, that means those who use your content do not have to attribute credit to you. You can select licensing restrictions that require credit or purchase as well. If you’re using the content others have uploaded, it is recommended but not required to credit the artist.
Further, the T&Cs outlines the legal obligations as a user and the ramifications of breaking those obligations. These include not selling the images as your own without significant alteration and not using the images in illegal interactions. If you break these contractual agreements, you’ll find yourself removed from the program and unable to restart your membership.
Types of Photos: You can find a little of everything on this platform—search by a specific idea or categorically by colors, animals, industries, etc. There are also spotlight images and media assets based on the season. PRIDE month brought beautiful rainbow-themed images, for instance.
Flickr is one of the oldest photo-sharing services on the internet. It’s been around as an image hosting space for bloggers for decades now and can be embedded into more complex websites than they originated with.
Terms and Conditions: The Terms and Conditions for Flickr are more complex than many similar services. However, once you break them down, they’re easy to understand. Some content on Flickr is not available for free use and distribution.
If you choose to download, alter, and distribute these protected materials, you can be held liable for the damages, and Flickr reserves the right to remove your access to the program. You can be removed from the service if you alter the coding or otherwise hide the credit attribution to the images that you download under the appropriate license.
Additionally, if you’re found to be inappropriately using the content to spread misinformation or to defame Flickr and their associated companies, your content can be removed, and they reserve the right to sue you for the damages caused.
Types of Photos: [Generally explain what types of photos you can find on this site]
Sometimes, finding images for your business uses can be a challenge since you have to ensure that they’ve been licensed for business use. With Pikwizard, you don’t have to worry about it. Contributors know that they get photo credit when they add images to the site, but nothing more. The images can be used for personal or business without any additional steps.
Terms and Conditions: When you sign up for the Pikwizard services, you agree to maintain good standing, paying any fees required (if any) and following Creative Commons licensing laws. Pikwizard also offers resources from third-party services, so you are obligated to follow the restrictions imposed by those services.
Common sense begins to show in the repetition of these service conditions. The service and its subsidiaries reserve the right to revoke membership if you fall out of good standing, misuse, or otherwise defame the service or the artists who make it possible.
Types of Photos: Because the contributions are user-submitted, you can find everything from nature and landscape to people working in offices and job sites. May flat-lay stylized photos for social media posts and more can be found on Pikwizard. When you think you’ve reached the end of the page, more will present themselves.
Web Design with Idea Maker
While it’s great knowing the best places to find free stock photos, it’s not always ideal for building or updating your own website. Having the perfect pictures is nice, but not if no one can find or navigate your site. Give us a call at Idea Maker to discuss your business website needs, and see how we use our knowledge to provide you the best.