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Spice up your Website with Free Images

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Beware of Borrowing Any Image

If you are just grabbing images off the web, from google image search, other blogs etc, and think that there is no copyright!! Beware. A change to the copyright act some years ago means that there is always an implicit right on images. So……..Stop it!!  Read on for the solution to this problem.

Creative Commons Licenses

One of the best ways to find free images is to use images licensed under the Creative Commons License. These are licenses that allow photographers to choose how they want their images to be used.  Many websites offer such photos which are free to be used, as long as you abide by their licensing requirements.  This usually means in the worst case that you have to attribute the photo to them, and/or you cannot change it. Their are varying requirements and you should check them when you use an image.  The link below is to the licenses and their exact meaning.

Creative Commons License Terms

Websites with Free Images

Free

The following are a list of pages, searches and information you might find useful in the search for Free Images!

Create Commons

Creative Commons Search Page
– this provides a common page with links to site that have Creative Commons Images, and their searches

Flickr

Flickr Creative Commons
– this is a specific link to the Creative Commons section of Flickr

Flickr Advanced Search
– a more useful link, this is the advanced search for Flickr where you can specify the type of license

* Note at the bottom of the search is this section, where you can choose “Creative Commons” or more specific parts of the license

Flickr Advanced Search

Photo Pin
– Still on the Flickr Theme, this is also a Flickr Creative Commons search tool/website, but the usability is a bit better than the flickr standard site

** I have since played with this a bit more and found that they are a bit sneaky and the images appear under a heading “Sponsored Images” and are not free, look below them (below the dotted line) for the free images

Wikipedia

Obviously Wikipedia is a bastion of openness, and their section Wiki Commons has many images you might find useful

Wikipedia Commons
– the majority of images on Wikipedia have also been released by their owners for usage, just double check before you use it what license it has

Other Options

Outside of these main areas are a range of other sites, some I find quite hard to navigate, others promoting paid images in the search results, and some that I find it extremely messy and confusing. Therefore, the following are the ones that I personally use as they are simple and don’t seem to have a hidden agenda.

Morgue File
– I have used this search a lot and found some nice images for simple meanings (Flickr on the other hand has a lot of photography you need to sift through)
* the other tabs on the search results clearly divide and show other results, which I believe are all pay options (Dreamstime, ShutterStock etc)

Pixabay
– Another nice interface with a great photo selection of Public Domain Images, but also shows some “sponsored images” so be aware of that

Stock Xchng
– a reasonable option, but you need a login

Free Digital Photos
– by popular demand (ie. comments from readers) I have added this great resource.
* things to be aware of: smallest images is free, but usually enough for bloggers.  You must acknowledge the image – read this  for info on how to acknowlege

 

This is of course just the tip of the iceberg on working with images, finding images, using images and I will write some further posts to help you through the madness.

What images sites do you find useful?

About the Author Ashley Faulkes

I am an Aussie WordPress Web Designer living in Switzerland. My goal is to make your WordPress website awesome, and get you more customers via SEO and amazing content. I am also a huge fan of the outdoors, so I am often in the mountains doing crazy stuff. I discovered blogging and online marketing while recovering from a shattered leg I got while skiing, and I have not stopped learning since! Join me in reaching for the top!

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18 responses to “Spice up your Website with Free Images”

  1. Thank you! Great information and useful to me from a number of perspectives. In addition to being useful for my own blog, I work for a charity and we always struggle with finding low cost or free images.

    • No worries Debra, always a pleasure to blog and for others to find it useful. Let me know if you stumble across any other gems in your image travels.
      cheers
      ashley

  2. Great post. Images make a HUGE difference on a site. They make or break it, really. Great post!

  3. Johnny Bravo says:

    Images are an essential part of any post or article. My favorite site to use is freedigitalphotos.net. Great images and you simply need to add an attribution.

  4. Jeri says:

    I’m always on the lookout for free images, and I see a couple of links above I did not know about yet, so thanks so much for that. I think a lot of people get confused by what is okay to borrow image-wise. It seems like many image borrowers confuse “public domain” with what is publicly available on the web, when that is not the case at all. Also, simply giving credit to an image is not enough as well, which is why it’s a good idea to understand the type of license an image has. I try to watermark the photos I put on my blog. That way if they are “borrowed” they have my web address embedded on them.

    • Hi Jeri, thanks for the comment. A good idea there with the address. Protects your image and promotes it at the same time. Of course you could allow usage of your images and get a back link which is also useful.

  5. Christine says:

    thanks very much for this info. I need to learn a lot more about this sort of thing. Also, when I download “free wallpaper” from Google for a new Header, why does it not fit half the time? The picture comes out blurry even thought the pixels say it’s bigger than I need.

    • Hi Christine, glad you found it helpful. Images can be a bit tricky, and I have seen the same issue once myself. It can be due to many things, actual size, compression, etc. Feel free to send it to me if you need help

  6. Diana says:

    Great post – great resources, too! I don’t like flikr very much – i hardly ever find something useful there :( But i might give a shot some of the sites you listed toward the end of the article.

    I saw someone in the comments already mentioned FreeDigitalPhotos.net – i use that one, too and i am loving it! For the needs of a blogger like myself, the smallest version of an image is just fine – and it’s free, just need to give a photo credit.

    Anybody knows if/how the pics from pinterest can be used? Never thought about that before and maybe it’s good to include the site in this list, too 😉

    Thanks again for sharing your wisdom :-)
    Diana

    • Hi Diana, glad you found some wisdom in the post. I will have to do an update with the FreeDigitalPhotos link. As for pinterest, be careful as the photos are user added, which of course means little or no regard for copyright.

      • Diana says:

        wait, what? does this mean that i can use freely pics from pinterest without worrying about copyright? hm, couldn’t be true (too good!) – probably i have misunderstood you 😀

        • Indeed that is too good to be true! So is trawling Google Images. Perhaps many people are guilty of that, but hopefully the above suggestions will lead us down the right path.

  7. Thanks for the helpful post. Lots of ideas to get pictures. Too many people on the web just use any pic they want – even when there are so many alternatives out there.

  8. Thanks for the very helpful blog post. I wish I had it when I was a newbie blogger. I agree that photos are key to the popularity of blog posts—or even FB posts. The most viral of my posts on my blog or on FB have largish photos. I try to use just my own, but if I have to, I try to find one where I can ask permission of the photographer or the website. No one has turned me down yet nor asked for compensation. I always give them a shout out with a link if possible.

    • Hi Suzanne, thanks for the extra tip on how to get images. Of course if you have one handy, it is always great. Asking photographers and giving them a link is also fantastic, as I am sure they appreciate the exposure. Thanks for dropping by

  9. […] you pay for them or use some of the free sites I suggested you will probably need to adjust them a bit. Especially if you want to improve your site’s […]