When blogging, you normally think of writing. But having images in your posts that demonstrate what you’re talking about is important for a good user experience. Also, let’s not forget the all important blog post feature image.
Your content needs a feature image and while I do suggest you create and design your own images, sometimes having that right stock phone is actually the perfect fit for your content. Now, I know the word “stock photo” conjures up lame images of smiling people in business suits pointing at things.
In reality, there is a wide array of websites offering totally copyright free images that you can use as a feature image for your blog posts or to enhance your content because good design should enhance your content.
So the problem most have online is where to find images to use on your website and how to edit them. You can’t just steal images from other websites, well you can but then you’ll get a copyright take down request from the photographer and may have to pay any fees incurred.
Image attribution explained for bloggers
Some images from some websites listed below require you to attribute the author if you decide to use their image. That means you don’t have to pay licensing fees, but you need to link to something—typically, the photographer’s profile or the website from which you got the image.
Again, each website has its own rules, so follow them as required when using any images online. There are quite a few places where no attribution is required.
Resize images for optimal performance
Many of these excellent resources provide massive images; 10,000 x 10,000 pixels are uncommon. Please reduce the file size of any pictures you upload to your website, as you don’t want your website to load slowly.
You’ll also want to save all images as a .jpg and use a WordPress plugin like Smush to optimize the file size of your pictures further.
Use SVG or webp file format
The .svg image format is pure data and is the most optimal format for images. However, platforms like WordPress don’t allow SVG images because of the potential for malicious code (not an issue if you’re creating your SVG images).
A good alternative is the .webp format. It maintains images in a crisp and sharp form like a png file without it being a massive file size. You can use any image program editor (like GIMP, for example) to upload a jpeg or png file and export it as a .webp file.
The 15 best websites for stock images (free and paid)
We all know that finding the perfect stock image can take time and sometimes cost money as a blogger. This is why having a list of free alternatives for your blog posts is essential. There are many sites out there where you can find high-quality images, without having to spend any money or even credit the author.
The following websites have an amazing amount of diverse photos for any niche that you can use for your blog posts and the feature image. The images are modern, professional and are of a high quality. Here is what we suggest you checkout.
Canva – My go to graphic design tool
Canva.com is a website and cloud software tool that allows you to make trendy looking images and graphics using images you already have, or images provided by Canva using fun, creative looking templates.
They were founded to solve a simple problem, make graphic design easier for the average person. Canva currently operates on a freemium model with a large amount images and graphic being free and others costing a small one time fee, or you can upgrade to Canva Pro and get all premium graphics as well as helpful graphic design features like “remove background” for example.
Canva allows the average internet user to create professional looking graphics for blogs, YouTube thumbnails, social media and even ebooks for free or at a fraction of the cost of using a designer. Unless you plan on hiring someone to do your graphics for you, Canva is a must have tool.
Not just an image editor
Last, I want to mention that Canva is no longer just a poor man’s Photoshop. It’s a powerful software tool that allows you to create presentation slides, animated explainer videos, PDF’s for digital downloads, short form content for social media and thumbnails for YouTube.
- Excellent selection of stock photos.
- Can upload your own photos to edit.
- Ability to add graphics and text in order to create compelling feature images for blogs or YouTube thumbnails.
- Make PDF’s, explainer videos, vertical short form content and more.
- As an image editor it’s good, but it’s not a replacement for learning Photoshop. But Canva is still quite powerful.
Unsplash – My top choice
Unsplash.com is simple; they post ten new high-res, high-quality images every ten days. The photos are free; you can do whatever you want with them. They also have an ever-growing archive of free, beautiful images you can use. Use the search function on the home page, and you’ll find something decent.
You can download images from Unsplash.com totally for free with no attribution required, though it is encouraged. All photos on Unsplash are high-resolution, professional-grade photography. That means the images you download will be prominent and need optimization for your blog.
They provide images you can use as a wallpaper, feature blog post image, product image and they offer a very effective search function to help you find the image you want.
As Unsplash has grown, they have begun incorporating ways to monetize their website. First, they offer a low cost subscripton to get exclusive, members only content and enhanced legal protection as well as unlimited royalty free downloads. Unsplash + is perfect if you’re an agency that will be using a lot of photos regularly from Unsplace.
- Simply the best free website for images for bloggers.
- A wide range of professional, quality pictures across diverse topics.
- Due to their popularity, many bloggers tend to use the same images.
- As they’ve grown, they started incorporating affiliate marketing for marketplaces like iStock photo.
Pexels – Excellent stock photos and videos
Pexels is stock photo and stock video website that offers free stock images and videos to bloggers, YouTubers, and creative professionals. With Pexels you can find high quality photos for personal and commercial use without attribution or permission from the author.
Pexels is one of many alternatives to expensive photo agencies like Getty Images or Shutterstock. With this free stock image website you can find images for all sorts of niches from travel to food, to personal development or tech oriented blogs.
- Excellent source for both high quality pictures and videos.
- Nothing particularly unique about the offerings here.
Freerange Stock – Free textures and free illustration
Freerange Stock Images is a stock photo collection that features photos of animals, people, textures, illustrations and natural landscapes. Freerange Stock photos are designed to capture the elegance, beauty and creativity of photos and provide bloggers and online content creators with high-quality images for their own projects.
Free Range Stock provides high-quality free stock photography to their thriving community of over 750,000 users. All images are licensed for broad commercial use without attribution, providing dynamic visual tools to fuel your business.
- Excellent choice for textures and illustrations.
- Must have an account to download images.
Pixabay – Free images and video
Pixabay is a search engine for fair use images, No attribution required. That means, you can find various images and use them in any way you like without giving the content creator of the image credit. Pixabay works the same way as UnSplash.com.
Pixabay.com offers a variety of different types of media for you to use in your projects without having to worry about any sort of copyright infringement or expensive licensing fees. They are dedicated to providing high quality, creative commons licensed content for bloggers to freely use for both their commercial and personalprojects.
You can get free stock photos, video footage, vector graphics, audio files and more Pixabay. They are able to be free because they are an affiliate for iStock Photo and routinely integrate iStock into their search listings.
- Free stock photos, vector graphics, audio files and music.
- An excellent compliment to Unsplash.com for multi-media.
- The images are not as good as what can be found at Unsplash.
- The stock videos are also mediocre.
Gratisography – Unknown and under-rated
Gratisography.com is a website that provides free high quality, high res pictures that you can use for your personal use. No copyright, and new pictures are added weekly.
Launched in 2012 by photographer Ryan McGuire, Gratisography features creative, professional shot images from animals and people, to urban settings as well as whimsical creative shots.
New images are added on a monthly basis so take note of this website for for high quality free stock photography that doesn’t have to be licensed or paid for. This website is able to remain free due in part to an affiliate relationship they have with shutterstock.
- Free, creative images and vector graphics.
- An excellent alternative to know about.
- Pictures are of an artistic nature an may not work with more conservative websites like a legal blog for example.
Life of Pix – Life, architecture and more
Life of Pix offers high-resolution photographs and HD quality video with no copyright restrictions. The photographs found on Life of Pix were contributed by Leeroy Advertising Agency and its large network of professional photographers.
The site contains hundreds of images and videos so much so that Life of Pix has branched off into a companion website, Life of Vids, that provides access to video clips and loops for professional or personal use.
- Good, professional selection of pictures and video clips.
- Life of Pix has a fairly small collection compared to others on this list.
Burst – HD public domain pictures
Burst Photos is part of Shopify surprisingly. They are designed for store owners to find high quality, colorful and dynamic images for their ecommerce stores. Of course, anyone can download their images so they are ideal for bloggers.
Like all the other options on this list you can download images for free with no attribution and they provide an ease to use interface to search for specific topics.
- A wide range of images ideal for blogs and ecommerce websites.
- A lot of the pictures can be found on competitor websites.
Kaboom Pics – Lifestyle, interior design pics
This website started as a one woman show, a single photographer uploading pics. Fast forward, Kaboom pics has an extensive library of free stock photos but are best known for their excellent lifestyle pictures as well as their interior design pictures.
Even though Karolina is still the sole photographer of this website, she now as a small team of people to help her manage this wonderful creation with the world.
- Excellent lifestyle and interior design pictures. There are some good images for niche specific bloggers too.
- As there is only one photographer, all these images have a certain, specific style.
Vintage Stock Photos – Old pictures of the past
Yep, vintage stock photos is exactly what it sounds like. Need pictures of life in the 1970’s from Thailand? What about New York City in the 1980’s? This creative website has various vintage photos spread across a wide span of time and make for a fun an interesting visit, even if you’re not a blogger looking for stock photos.
- Old photos of the not to distant past.
- None, if you need vintage photos this website is outstanding.
Reshot – Free icons, illustrations and photos
Reshoot allows you to design excellent images and graphics for your blog with curated SVG icons, stock photos and vector illustrations. All for free with commercial licensing and no attribution.
The images are uploaded by users but are vetted by a creative team to maintain quality. That means you can expect professional level quality when sourcing images, vectors, icons and illustrations from Reshot.
- A wide range of creative offerings from images to graphics for bloggers.
- Instant downloads, no account required.
- The graphics and vectors are excellent, the images are on par with all other websites.
Wikimedia Commons – Photos from Wikipedia
Photos from Wikipedia that are free to download and use. Please take note of any attribution requirements because these are photos that are in the creative commons, but attribution to the author may be required.
With Wikimedia, as the name implies you can search for images, videos and sounds to use for your blog. An often overlooked, unused option by creatives.
- Extensive library of creative media including photos, videos and audio clips.
- Most items here are not intended for commercial purposes.
Instagram – Excellent place to embed images from
Instagram has become a powerful tool for marketing, branding and showing a more personal side as a professional creator. It is a free, easy to use social media platform that offers plenty of features to allow you to interact with your audience, particularly when you get above 10,000 followers.
One aspect a lot of creators forget is that you can embed images from Instagram on your website. If you’re a travel blogger or food blogger for example, Instagram is an invaluable resource for finding great images to enhance your blog posts.
- A lot of fantastic images for a variety of niches.
- Can easily embed images from any public account.
- Can not be used for feature images on blog posts.
- If you embed images from accounts that decide to turn private, any image you embed won’t be available.
Flickr – The pre-Instagram photo sharing website.
Flickr predates Instagram and used to be the most popular photo sharing website. With Flickr, users create accounts, upload photos and create online communities around certain topics
Many may not know this, but there are many free stock images available on Flickr and like Instagram you can easily embed images on your website and blog. However, Flicker is at the bottom of the list because it’s not ideal for feature images for blog posts and their licensing changes per image which gets confusing.
- Flickr literally has billions of photos to use.
- Can embed directly from Flickr to your website.
- Not ideal for feature images for blog posts.
- The attribution license is simply confusing and the requirements change per image.
Find Free Stock Images For Your Blog Conclusion
You have a large array of various websites that offer free stock images, video, audio clips, vector graphics, illustrations and more. Make sure to use images on your blog for the feature image and images in your blog post that help to demonstrate something specific.
David UtkeDavid Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 27k+ YouTube subscribers!
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