We have covered places to find free and legal images in the past, but with a new year comes even more reliable sources for finding free image sources for your blog. As with any creative work, even though it may be free to use, be sure to use correct attribution and make sure that you are crediting the author in all ways necessary. Not doing so may lead to legal issues, as some images are free as long as bloggers follow the proper guidelines.
Take Your Own Photos
This is the easiest and safest way to have images for your blog. If you are blogging about a place, thing, or person, what better option than to take your own photos (when you have permission)? Many people enjoy seeing the photos of the author who wrote the piece they are reading, as it personalizes the content for them and makes them feel more involved in the story.
If you are regularly struggling to find images or pay for stock images, why not take that time and money and instead invest in a nice camera? You don’t have to have a DSLR; I’ve found that subcompact (also called superzoom) cameras do just the trick for hobby, intermediate, or even professional bloggers. I recently purchased a Nikon Coolpix L820 and have loved it so far. I even snagged a refurbished model for $160, $40 off the new price on Amazon (as of 1/14/2014).
Many of the well-known stock photography sites offer free trials or introductory rates for new members. For specific images that are perfect for your blog posts, this is worthwhile. You may end up liking the service so much, you end up sticking with it. Either way, it’s great to know what is out there.
PhotoPin is a free creative commons photo search engine that searches mainly Flickr. Once you choose to download an image, it gives you a choice in sizes and also correct image attribution in HTML. It is a perfect solution for bloggers wanting to save time but still ensure they are attributing the images correctly. This is the main photo search engine that I use and almost always can find the perfect image for my own use. The only drawback is that there aren’t any illustrations or artwork, just photos.
Did you know that all of the images on Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia’s image search site have creative commons rights? Be sure you follow attribution guidelines, but this site is a wealth of photos of history, brands, and well-known people. It’s also easy to navigate and simple to search.
Stock.xchng is a free stock photo community. Each user can outline their own attribution guidelines, and some require permission from the user before inserting the image into a blog post. However, it can be a great resource for clip art, photos, and illustrations.
Kelsey Jones runs her own social media and search marketing business, MoxieDot where she helps clients grow their online presence. She was voted one of the top 100 marketers of the year by Invesp in 2009 and has worked for Yelp, Run.com, and Bounty Towels. Check her out at MoxieDot and on Twitter @wonderwall7.