Don’t steal images from Google.
That’s it. Blog post done.
Okay, that might seem harsh. But it’s true – you absolutely cannot just take an image you found on Google and use it on a blog post. Can you imagine being fined $8,000 for a crappy photo of Nebraska? Well, it happens. But it doesn’t have to happen to you!
There are so many options for finding free photos and images and we want to share them with you. Because we like you, and rather see you spending $8K on chocolate covered almonds or gummy worms or hiring us. So without further ado, here are better sites to get pics from than Google:
PicJumbo has some of the most beautiful photos of any of the free stock photo sites – creative, interesting and artistic. I find they have a particularly large select of photos that relate to technology, laptops and cell phones which is useful if you blog about social media as I often do. However, in other categories, they are much more limited. The big benefit is that there are no limitations – you don’t have to worry about attribution, you are free to edit and remix, and commercial use is a-okay. Plus, the database is searchable! Yay!
StockSnap.io has a great selection. Not all of the photos are as beautiful as PicJumbo’s, but overall they are good quality, and there is a lot more variety to what they have available. Like PicJumbo, StockSnap.io images are free from any copyright restriction and you don’t need to attriute them. They are also searchable, which is so important for making your day easier.
Unsplash is the holy grail! Not only is it free from any restrictions, has gorgeous photos, is searchable and has a great selection – they will also email you 10 new photos every week. Just for free. Right to your inbox. How rad is that?
Gratisography has super quirky, fun imagery. All the photos are all from one cool cat, Ryan, and definitely bear the stamp of his whimsical style. If you’re looking for something offbeat and funky, this should be your first stop. Downfall: the selection is a bit limited (Ryan can only do so much, guys!) and search capabilities are restricted to categories, which is a bit of a pain.
New Old Stock is a repository of vintage photos from the public archives. This means that they are free for personal and non-commercial use (like your personal blog). Things get a bit more tricky around for-profit use, but there is more info about that on the site.
These old timey photos are great for adding a different feel to your post, and can be used in some fun, ironic ways. This might not be your staple stock photo site, but for sure worth a spot on the list.
Also, the captions are pretty hilarious, so there’s that.
Other Free Stock Sites to Try
The above are sites that I personally use a lot and have looked into their useage rights. I can vouch for their selection and searchability. But, I want to give you options. So here are four more options that are popular, but I haven’t used them yet myself.
Death to Stock: Allows you to get free photos emailed to you monthly. Also allows you to sign up for a premium membership for a cheap $15 a month, which they use a percentage of to fund the photographers who contribute. Pretty rad.
Negative Space: All photos are released under Creative Commons License and as such have no copyright restrictions.
SplitShire: Splitshire photos are cleared for commercial use and have no copyright restrictions. The site is run by one photographer who has decided to give away all his photos for free. How cool is that?
Life of Pix: Life of Pix is curated by Leeroy Advertising Agency. All images are donated to the public domain by the agency and their network of photographers. And if you don’t need stock photos, but just want to see the most attractive group of staff ever, check out their team page. It’s like they only hire models.
But do you really need a stock photo? Or would a graphic be more useful? Do you need an icon or symbol? Can you create an image with some awesome font?
Canva is your one-stop design tool. It allows people who have no idea how to use Photoshop or Illustrator to make professional and well designed images. They have both a free version and a pay-to-play work version, and both are fabulous. They also offer stock images and pre-made templates that you can purchase for the low price of $1 to add to your design.
Pixlr is a like Photoshop for people who can’t afford Photoshop. It is a free online image editor, and allows you to edit images, add text and resize images. Although it does not have any stock imagery, it will allow you to edit the stock imagery you’ve found on other sites and make it exactly what you need.
“Umm, hey Kassia, didn’t you just write a whole blog post about how I can’t use Google to steal images?”
Yes. Yes I did. But, there is one sneaky trick I will teach you so that you can defy my first rule.
- Hop over to Google Images
- Search for the thing you need
- Click on the gear in the top right corner, and select Advanced Search.
- Scroll down to “usage rights” and select “free to use, share or modify, even commercially.
- Click “advanced search”
The images from this new search will be much more limited, but these are images that Google believes are free for you to use.
Note: Although we’ve done our best to be accurate in our advice, as we always do, websites change their usage policies all time. Laws also change and we’re not lawyers. We can’t promise you’re NOT going to get sued, and we strongly advise you do your own research before using an image you didn’t pay for. But these tips should help you get started.