Connect with your audience visually with truly free stock photos
Let’s be honest! A good image in your blog post or your social media page can make or break a first impression. I mean, let’s just take our own example, how likely are you to hit like or even follow someone on social media based on what you see? Very likely, right? Because we are visual creatures.
65% of human beings are visual learners. Our brains are wired that way. 1/2 of our brain is dedicated to visual function!
2 out of 5 people respond better to visual information than plain text.
Website content with images receive 47% more clicks than those without.
We retain up to 20% of the information we process in a visual format as opposed to only 10% of the information we read. Thus, when things are laid out in front of us in the form of an image or a video, we are more likely to remember it than just plain text.
All those stats sound good but how do you create that kickass first impression? I am not a photographer, so do I go ahead and hire a photographer each time I want to write a blog post or create a social media image? Simple answer, no! Stock photos are quite expensive and cost upward of $50 for a photo you may use one time. You can subscribe to a site which typically costs approximately $199 for 10 to 20 photo downloads a month. Paid stock photo sites have more generic photos.
Good news, there are plenty of websites which offer amazing (I repeat, amazing) stock photos for free, to download, customize, and use it to share your message with your audience. More good news! You don’t have to scour the internet looking for them. We have hand-picked the sites for you which offer you these truly free stock photos.
Before you start downloading these visually incredible photos there are some important copyright terms to keep in mind when it comes to the world of online images.
“A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that they have created.”
Royalty free – Royalty-free, or RF, refers to the right to use copyright material or intellectual property without the need to pay royalties or license fees for each use or per volume sold, or some period of use or sales. This means that you are allowed to use the image without paying any license fees to the owner. However, royalty free images sometimes have guidelines associated with them, and it is always a good practice to read them before you begin using the image.
Completely free – Completely free refers to images which are truly free – no attribution required and are free for both commercial and non-commercial use.
I have curated a collection of websites where you can find gorgeous, free stock imagery for commercial and non-commercial use. You can begin to download free photos today to amplify your online presence. Most of them have a search feature which you can use to search and download photos for your specific needs. Some don’t and you might have to sift through to find what you are looking for. Some even offer a subscription service where they send you free photos directly to your email (every month, week or even day) if you sign up.
Bossfight is one of my favorite image resources with a gorgeous collection of free photos organized by category. I have subscribed to their service for free and get about ten photos every day that are incredible. You receive a downloadable zip file uploaded to the site the previous week.
Another favorite and one I always check before going to a paid site. Pixabay is simply amazing! You can search for photos, vectors, illustrations and even copyright free video for your specific needs. The unique things about this site is they have an extensive collection of business-related photos and videos.
Their search feature is my favorite because they have extensive options to narrow down your search based on your needs. For example, if I were to look for an image for Pinterest, I would filter my search based on vertical to get the best results. You can download images without signing up, but I would recommend signing up because it just makes the process easier (you wouldn’t have to enter the captcha each time you want to download an image).
Similar to Pixabay in that it has videos and a wide variety of subject matter. It is another one of my favorite sites. You can search for photos and videos using keywords or by using the browse feature and also sign up to receive photos in your inbox.
This is one of the most creative and visually beautiful sites. The curators of Unsplash take care in picking photos that are creative and “stock” in nature. A vast collection of high-quality photos, including per, curated collections. You can also create an account with them and add photos you like to your collection for future use.
All images by Folkert Gorter. You DO need to provide credit for using their images. The Superfamous Images are available under the conditions of a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. This means that you can use the work for your purposes as long as credit is provided.
Gorgeous photos but not all are free. Click here to go to the ample free category with an ample variety of subjects. They don’t have a search feature, so you need to go through the images to find the one.
Free photos by Jan Vašek from the Czech Republic. On Jeshoots, pictures are published and shared under Creative Commons CCO. Meaning you can copy, modify, distribute and use images, even for commercial use without asking for permission and paying attribution.
This site has a large selection of free images that can be searches based on category or keywords. However, they are more on the typical side, and I recommend paying attention to the free categories as part of the site has paid photos.
It is an archive of images for historians, genealogists, and anyone undertaking family history, ancestry or local history research. Some of their images are free to use. The site is a bit hard to navigate when looking for free images but since free antique images are no plentiful it is worth a look. It is important to credit the images used to ancestryimages.com or antiqueprints.com
Finally, The Photo Bay is a weekly subscription of images for commercial use, to use for website, blog posts, social media, and mockups. You receive seven new photos every seven days straight to your inbox.