You know the part about blogging where you look for the perfect photo to go along with your killer post?
Hours spent scrolling through countless free stock photos, trying to find one that fits your content, looks good with your brand, AND is legal to use.
Isn’t that just the best part?
I fully admit to productive laziness when it comes to sourcing images for my blog & social media. Yup, “productive laziness!” Where I find what works and stick with it. Sadly, Netflix does not fit in to this category.
Seriously, though. Neither you nor I have the time to hunt for the perfect free stock photos every time we write a new blog post. So when I find a good source of photos, I tend to use it – a lot.
Here are three of my favorite sites for FREE stock photos.
Before we start, let me give you some quick tips to know if you CAN use an image. These tips are mainly for commercial blogs (you intend to earn income through ads, products, affiliates, etc.), but they’re good practice for ANY blog or online business.
- Steer clear of Google images. YOU DO NOT have the rights to images you find on Google. I don’t care if you’ve seen the graphic used by several blogs. No license = hands off.
- The following sites have similar licenses that allow you to use the photos for commercial use in most situations. But ALWAYS read the license for yourself!
Stick around to the end and get some tips on choosing the best photos!
OK, on to the free stock photos!
My all-time favorite source for free stock photos.
One warning – before you click over to the site, set a timer or tell a trusted loved one you’re going in. If you don’t emerge in 24 hours, instruct them to cut your internet access.
There’s some beautiful stuff here.
Depending on your niche, you may have to search a bit to find the most relevant photos, but it’s such a pretty search.
Create a free account with Unsplash, and you can use their Collection feature. It’s a great way to store photos for later. You can make private or public collections, and browse collections curated by others.
Start a private collection called “Blog Posts” to keep track of photos you’ve used in your posts (helpful if you need to remember where you got the photo).
Some samples from Unsplash:
So there was this guy who tried submitting photos to several of the big stock photo sites, but he kept getting rejected. What did he do? Started his own site of course, and gave it all away!
Thank you, Viktor Hanacek!
Enter your email address to receive new photos in your inbox. There is a premium paid selection of photos, but I’ve always found the free images to be more than enough.
Some samples from PicJumbo:
I’ve only recently stumbled on to this site, and it’s delightful.
Every photo is taken by one photographer – Karolina Grabowska. Busy lady.
A few things I love about this site:
- You can search by keyword, by color, even by horizontal or vertical orientation.
- Each photo is also part of a photoshoot collection. So if you find a photo you like, you’ve got a whole collection of coordinating photos.
- You can download a color palette to go with the photo.
Some samples from Kaboompics:
Tips on choosing free stock photos
Don’t download a photo just because it’s free
You don’t want a bloated collection of images to wade through. Go for the good quality photos that you will actually use.
Look for copy space
Big areas of light or dark, with little else going on. This is a great spot for text, also called copy.
Stay relevant to your brand
If you talk about motorcycle repair, pass on the flowers & baking. If you strive for a light, clean look, stay away from overly dark images.
Your blog is a story, and every post a chapter. Let your readers get engrossed in that story. Use colors and image styles CONSISTENTLY, and every post will feel like it belongs in your bigger story.
Use overlays to make the photo match your style
Wrong colors? You can fix that. A simple overlay can make almost any image match your brand.
An overlay is a layer of color that LAYS OVER your image. Intense, I know. It’s semi-transparent, meaning you can see through it partially.
Basically, you draw a colored rectangle and adjust the opacity. Your photo now matches your brand. Simple & effective.
Use photos with faces sparingly
We are naturally drawn to faces. Which means we’re not paying as much attention to your blog post title. Unless you’re using an overlay, stick to images without full, recognizable faces.
You may have noticed I only mentioned three sites. Definitely going for quality over quantity here.
I’m not going to give you a dozen options for free stock photos that I haven’t checked out just to “fill up” a list. Obviously, there are more sites with beautiful photography to fit your needs.
But remember – “productive laziness!”
Find what works and stick with it.
So no more excuses that you can’t find fabulous free stock photos – time to finish that blog post!
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