The question of where to find free, high-quality stock photos is a constant concern. Many bloggers want to focus on their writing and storytelling, and would prefer not to have to run out with a camera to take photos for every post. This is fine, but you still have to grab people’s attention with a great image for posting your work to social media.
This list going to help you with that. Bookmark it for later, as you will definitely be coming back to it.
In the last few years, the quality of free stock images out there has exploded. You’ll still have to do some digging to find the perfect image, but the breadth and depth of options is truly staggering.
KEEP IT LEGAL
We’re all creatives so it goes without saying that taking other people’s work without permission is absolutely unacceptable. If you’re unclear on the law, it’s simple: you can not use any images – even if they are on Pinterest, Facebook or Google – without permission. The fact someone else is using them doesn’t mean it’s fair game. That’s why free stock photo sites are so important because they are only offering images that are clear for any kind of use.
If you steal images, you can be sued. Recently a blogger had to pay $8,000 for using a single image. It’s like Russian Roulette. You might not get caught at first, but if you do, it could be devastating. There have been cases where people used 10 or more photos and the bill wiped them out. There’s no wiggle room in the law.
What about Creative Commons? It is a viable path be be careful, not all images can be used for “commerical use” and even if you’re not making a living from your blog, if you derive any income from it, the photographer could object from your use as not being purely “non-profit”.
When you want to be fully in the clear, anything in Public Domain or using CC0 is completely in the clear. Most photos require attribution (credit) to the photographer, whish is not only fair, but just general good practice to do (you don’t have to go crazy about it and give attribution in social media posts but within the post/page should be fine). Anything with no Creative Common designation anywhere should be treated as something to avoid.
Below we’ve put together a list of all the free stock photography services that we could find, but please update us in the comments if you know of something else.
On to the list! (It’s obscenely long.)