A picture is worth a thousand words. No wonder why a lot of SEO experts advise using Images in your Blog posts. According to Jeff Bullas, articles with Images get 94% more views. However, since most of the Images available on the internet are Copyrighted, most people are confused about where to find Free Images which they can use on their commercial Blog.
Luckily, there are many websites which offer Free as well as Paid Royalty Free Images. However, some of these Images comes with certain usage restriction based upon its license. So let me first brief you about various types of Image Licenses
TYPES OF IMAGE LICENSES
1. Public Domain Images
Public Domain Images are free from any copyright because of lack of any known author or because the author himself forfeited all his rights. You can use and modify public domain Images as you wish even for commercial use.
However, Public Domain Images are usually of low quality and good Images are really hard to find.
2. Creative Commons License
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that provides licenses to all types of creative works including Photographs. There are various types of Creative Commons License which are classified depending on its usage rights that the author grants you. Let us briefly go through each one of them.
Types Of Creative Commons License
1. CC0: CC0 is not exactly a creative Common license. It is same as Public Domain. However certain authors label their image as CC0 to retain authorship. You are free to use, modify and redistribute CC0 Image as you want, for commercial as well as non-commercial use. No attribution is required for these Images.
2. CC BY: Like CC0, you are free to use, modify, distribute CC-By Images commercially. But you must attribute the author wherever you use the Image. However, If you modify the Image, you may change its license to whatever you want.
3. CC BY-SA: This license is very similar to CC-BY except that even after modification, the modified Image has to carry original license.
4. CC BY-ND: You can use these images commercially, however, you cannot modify the Image and have to use the Image in it’s original form. Attribution to the author is also necessary.
5. Non-Commercial License: Rest of the Creative Commons license which includes CC BY-NC, CC BY-NC-SA, and CC BY-NC-ND are all Non-commercial license. Some author may allow paid commercial use. However, you must avoid all such images.
3. Royalty Free Images
These are paid stock Images clicked by Professionals which are Free from Royalty. This means, once you purchase the Image, you may use it as you want.
4. Rights Managed Images
These are paid stock Images with limited usage Rights. You may use the Image only for a certain period of time and for a particular project you the Image for. You must totally avoid these Images as a blogger. This is because you cannot take down the Image from your Post once the License expires nor does it makes sense to keep buying the license for the same Image every time.
Based on the above information, if you are looking for totally free Images, you must use Images Licenced as CC0, CC BY, and CC BY-SA. You may also consider using CC BY-ND Images in certain cases. And if you are keen on using high-quality Stock Images, you must go for Royalty Free Images which I feel, you may not need after reading this article.
So let us find out various sources which provide Free Images for Commercial Use.
TOP 10 SOURCES FOR FREE IMAGES
With over 5,55,000 Images, Pixabay has one of the largest collection of Free Creative Commons Images. All the Images are licensed under CC0, so no attribution is required. At Pixabay, most of the pictures are of high quality and comparable to Paid Stock Photos. You can easily browse the Images by Category or search them by keywords.
Apart from Images, Pixabay also offers free vector graphics and Videos, which makes it a complete package for all your needs.
Pexels is another awesome source for Free Images licensed under CC0. It has a fairly big collection of high quality photos, with 20 high quality Images being added each day. If you are looking for business photos, Pexels should not disappoint you.
At Pexels, you can search Image by Keywords, however, Images are not classified in categories which make browsing a little difficult if you do not have a particular keyword in Mind.
DesignerPics may not have a collection as big as Pixabay or Pexels, but it does provide some really beautiful CC0 Images. Images are well-categorized making browsing through Images easier. A Search option is available too.
Flickr, as most of you know, is a venture by Yahoo! which offers a platform for photographers to share their work. Images at Flick are licensed under Creative Commons. However, not all Images are available for commercial use and many of them do require attribution to the author. So make sure you read the License for each Image before downloading.
To filter your Images by license, click on advanced settings and then select a suitable License option. For commercial use, you can filter it by either of the 3 categories marked. The names of each category are self-explanatory.
5. Google Image Search
Google Image Search, as we all know is a great way to find Images. As with Flickr, Google allows you to filter out Images by License.
As shown in Screenshot below, Juts click on Search Tools > Usage rights and select either “Labeled For Reuse With Modification” or “Labeled For Reuse”. These Images may or may not require any attribution. Please check individual Images for License terms.
Gratisohraphy offers high-quality pictures without any restrictions. All the Images are clicked by photographer by Ryan Mcguire who was kind enough to make them free for everyone to use.
Morguefile has a rich collection of over 3,00,000 Images which can be used both for commercial as well as Non-commercial purpose. No attribution is needed either.
The Interface, however, is not very user-friendly and you cannot browse Images by categories. Though, it allows you to search Images by keywords. You can also sort the Images by Popularity and Most Downloads.
Unsplash has a decent collection of CC0 Images. It adds 10 new images to its collection every 10 days. You can also browse the earlier archives or search Picture by keyword.
Stocksnap may not be as famous other Websites here, but it certainly has some really amazing pictures. It does not have any sort of restrictions for using its Images. Though, it does not categorize the Images, which makes it difficult for browsing.
Splitshire offers some amazing high-resolution pictures which are licensed as CC0. More Importantly, your can browse the Images by categories and can even search them.
There are many websites which offer Free Stock Images, However, I have only shortlisted the ones which have a fairly big collection of High quality Images. Except for Flickr and Google Image search, all the above sources provides Free Images licensed under CC0. So, you do not have to worry about attributing the author every time you use these Images.
Hope you found my article to be helpful. If it helped you, please consider rating our article with 5 stars.
If you have know of any other good sources or have any feedback about the article, do let me know through the comments form below.