Forget about drugs, what you all really need to “just say no” to is stock photos. Yes, I know, they’re free and easily accessible and cover a huge range of images and situations but it’s time we all moved away from those cheesy poses and, especially, this guy:
As a blogger pressed for time and with minimal budgets, I know the draw of the stock photo better than anyone. I also know how much bootstrapping startups also need free images, for everything from social media to websites.
So here’s a list of three excellent sources for Creative Commons licensed photos and free images for blogs that will make your blog posts and websites stand out from the sea of business suits and sincerely clasped hands.
Flickr is really the godmother of all free images and is my personal favorite whenever I’m looking for an exciting image for a blog post. Before being acquired by Yahoo, Flickr was functional but took a slight learning curve to get a good handle on.
These days, the Marissa Meyer’s renovation of the site has made it super easy to not only search their massive database but also determine if each photo is cool to use. Just type your inquiry into the top left corner and you’re immediately presented with a huge range of photos.
For those of you on a budget, click the down arrow next to “license” and pick “Creative Commons.” You can also let the engine know that you’re looking for photos for commercial use or if you think you’re going to modify it.
If Flickr is the unwashed masses of the free photo world, Unsplash is like the super cool kids who know where all the best parties are and make you wish you hadn’t quit smoking because they just look smooth holding that Camel Red. The Montreal-based site offers up 10 free high-res photos every 10 days and they are stunning.
The copyright on these gorgeous, gorgeous images is… No copyright! That means that these artists are offering up their work for you to do whatever you want with it. Pay them back for their generosity by subscribing to their list and watch the beautiful images come rolling in.
Check out Photo Pin if Flickr just isn’t cutting it or is too overwhelming.
The images here can be sorted by license type, time of posting, relevance, or “interestingness,” depending on your needs. Each image is presented in a neat little rectangle, making them easy to browse and definitely more manageable than the Flickr behemoth.
The only downside on the Photo Pin site is the lack of a Creative Commons sorting option. You can go with “commercial” to find images you’re allowed to use, but that doesn’t guarantee they won’t cost anything.
And there you have it, bloggers and website builders! Three excellent resources for free photos that you are free to use. Just remember one thing: Always site the sites your photos come from so that we can all keep enjoying their services.