Are you using interesting images in your marketing?
Visual content is becoming more important these days. Social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram are becoming popular ways to share information and even Twitter posts with images get higher engagement.
It can be daunting to find high quality images that compliment what you're trying to say whether on social media or your own blog. There's a lot of cheesy stuff out there that you'd be better off avoiding. There's actually no shortage of image sites and I believe more will be popping up.
What are Licensing and Attribution?
The license simply refers to what you can do with the image. They can be for personal or commercial use and anywhere in between. Be sure to read the license requirements and understand what you're allowed to do.
Attribution is giving credit to the photographer. Some sites do not require an attribution but you may want give one anyway especially if you find a photographer you particularly like. If one is required be sure to put it in a prominent place.
Now on to the photo sites. I have an affinity for nature images that's why the examples are all, well nature related.
Free Range Stock is a free image site. According to their about page the photos are free for personal and commercial use. Attribution is appreciated but not necessary. You do need to create a free account to download images. Basic search function.
RGB Stock has pretty straight forward licensing. Social media and blogs are no problem but read their terms to be sure that you're not violating any licensing terms. You need to register for a free account. Basic search function.
Pexels has what they call a Creative Commons Zero license meaning you can pretty much do whatever you want no attribution necessary. 5 beautiful high resolution photos are added daily. Basic search function. No account registration needed.
Pixabay has a Creative Commons CCO or public domain*. Images can be modified and used freely. There are exceptions to public domain photos read about them here. Pixabay does offer different size images and a basic search. Registration is not required but you'll need to enter a captcha code. Registration bypasses this step. Basic and advanced search function.
Unsplash has a Creative Commons Zero license (do whatever you want). They have beautiful high res images. The biggest downfall is there's no search function. There are unrelated sites available to search Unsplash use them at your own risk. No registration is needed.
I couldn't resist this picture. Gratisography has very interesting and fun images. The site is made up of photos taken by Ryan McGuire and are copyright free. He adds new pictures weekly. Drawback-no search functions but well worth looking through.
Pick up image is another site with public domain* pictures. They are free to use and modify. They are available in various sizes. Basic search and free registration required.
Life of Pix images are public domain*. Beautiful high resolutin photos. Draw back-no search function. New photos are added weekly. No registration required.
Okay, not nature but very cool. Stokpic images are public domain*. Registration is not required but you have the option to receive a zip file of ten new photos every two weeks in your inbox. There is a basic search and a list of categories.
Death to the Stock Photo is unique in that you can't get images directly from the site for free. Registering a subscription will get you images emailed to you on a monthly basis. This is a good way to build your image database.
When you get your image pack just store them in folders by category or whichever way is best for you. They do offer a paid subscription if that's a good fit for your needs. The license is pretty straight forward. It's available on their website. You can't claim it as your own, redistribute it (give it away in a photo pack) are part of the license.
There really is no shortage of free images out there. Using images in a manner that's not in line with the licensing can get you into a lot of trouble. I see tutorials out there for various things that tell you to get images from a Google search. Spare yourself the headaches (or legal problems) and do it the right way.
The image examples I've used here were resized only. There's no other modifications. This is by no means an exhausted list but should keep you going for a long time.
If you have any awesome free image sites that you use share them in the comments.
*Public Domain-Do not assume that public domain means you can do whatever you want. Public Domain Sherpa has a good article on the subject of the use of public domain content.
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