One of the most essential elements to any website these days is imagery. Everyone has graphics for everything. Logos are everywhere, pictures accompany every blog post, and everyone has a profile picture stapled to their account. Not everyone takes their own pictures, however, and many people simply search up an image and download it for their own use.
The problem with this method is that such photos may not be available for use. Online copyright is a sticky business, and it’s virtually impossible to determine from search results what license a photo falls under. Most of the time no one will care when you use such a photo, but you never want to deal with the hassle of having someone send a cease and desist order or worse.
To avoid that problem, the best option is to use stock photographs that are specifically published under licenses for use. These photos can have varying use agreements. Some allow only the stock image, while others allow editing. Still others require a copyright to be added to the post the image is attached to. It’s important to view these license agreements before you use a stock image. Of course, you also have to find the stock images you want to use in the first place. Here are a few good places to look. All of these stock photo websites provide free stock photos, meaning you don’t have to pay a cent.
Stock.xchng is the best of the best when it comes to free stock photos. They have over three hundred thousand images available to be searched for and used for whatever project you might require. More are being added every day. While you have to make an account to access the images and use them, it’s free and well worth it.
What’s more is that Stock.xchng is owned by Getty Images, who are the leaders in stock photos and other such websites. They offer high security to ensure all of their images are safe. Their servers and hardware are powerful and ensure the site will never go down when you need it to be up.
They also offer a number of tutorials and other helpful resources, which are excellent for anyone in need of a little help in their blogging or web presence. Altogether they are one of the best sites available for stock photography and images.
Morgue File is another excellent stock image resource. Every image on Morgue File is covered under one license, which allows a number of things. All images can be altered to any degree and used for any purpose, even commercial uses. In addition they don’t need to have their copyright information or backlink added. The ‘strings’ attached are: you cannot resell the image without alteration and cannot claim ownership of the unaltered image. Any or all of those caveats can be waived with permission from the image owner.
Morgue File does not have the same number of images that Stock.xchng offers, but their license is simple and easy to comprehend. This makes them an ideal resource because you know the deal won’t change between images. Plus they have the occasional contest and prize for budding photographers to contribute.
These two sites aren’t the only ones by far, but they’re simple and excellent choices. Other sites offer small images and require money for larger versions, or have paid subscriptions, or charge for every image. Compared to those alternatives, these two options are the best. Never pay for a stock image again and make your blog posts and websites filled with attractive images.
Although most of Flickr’s photos are copyright protected, there are ways to fine-tune your search so you can access images that fall under a Creative Commons license. Don’t pass up this option- you’d be surprised at the volume of great pictures at your disposal! Click here for specific instructions on how to do specific searches in Flickr.
What tools do you use to access royalty-free images? Let us know in the comments.