As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, holds true when blogging. Adding relevant images to your blog posts will encourage a higher level of visitor engagement, which in turn translates into a better blog. Due to international copyright laws, though, you can’t simply copy and paste any image you come across. To legally use an image on your website, you must download it from a source that grants such permissions.
Flickr Creative Commons
Arguably, one of the best source of free-to-use images is Flickr Creative Commons. With over 20 million images and counting, you can find pictures of anything you can imagine. It’s important to note, however, that Flickr Creative Commons has several different sub-categories, each of which has its rules regarding permissible use. Images published under Attribution, for instance, require crediting the original author. Read and familiarize yourself with the different categories before using any Flickr Creative Commons image.
Pixabay is a relatively new image-sharing website that just recently gained mainstream popularity. According to the site’s homepage, it has more than 380,000 free photos, art and vector illustrations, all of which are free to use for either personal or commercial purposes. After visiting Pixabay.com, simply type a keyword related to the image you need in the search box and it will reveal a list of relevant photos. You can then download and use the photos as you please, without attributing the original author. Visit http://pixabay.com/en/service/terms/ to view the complete terms and conditions associated with Pixabay images.
Don’t let its unorthodox name fool you into thinking it’s a sub-par image-sharing site. On the contrary, MorgueFile is one of the top sources of free-to-use images. In case you were wondering, it was given this name due to the reference of “post production materials.” “A morgueFile is a place to keep post production materials for use of reference, an inactive job file. This morgueFile contains free high resolution digital stock photography for either corporate or public use.”
Creative Commons has created a single-stop shopping site for finding free images, including clip art, music and videos. Just enter a search term, then click then “use for commercial purposes” box. Then click which site you want to search. If you don’t find something on the first site, just go back to the Creative Commons Search site and choose another site to search. You often need to attribute the image source, but this is a fast way to search multiple sites without having to launch each one in your browser.
Take Them Yourself
Of course, another alternative is to personally take the photos yourself. Even if you have little-to-no photography experience, you can still snap some basic photos using your smartphone. After taking photos, you can either upload them directly to your blog, or touch them up in a photo editing program like Adobe Photoshop. Whatever you do, just make sure the image looks professional. A low quality or poor image is worse than no image.
What’s your favorite source of free-to-use images? Let us know in the comments section below!