Successful web sites integrate both text and visuals to make their content appear easily accessible to readers. Creating unique textual content can be accomplished at no additional cost and from the convenience of home, but creating photos that are both royalty-free and relevant to the accompanying content is a more time-consuming task. Not everyone is a photographer, nor do they own photography equipment.
Fortunately, there are many resources for royalty-free photos, which can be accessed either for free or at a paid rate depending on the resource. Choosing the best resource for your site is contingent on its type of content. If you’re a blogger seeking a simple accompanying image to a blog post, then free Creative Commons images from sites like ImageBase and FreePixels would be the most practical. If you’re working with a client on a more specific project, more premium pay-for sites with elaborate search functionality would provide a better solution.
Imagebase provides entirely free photos, simply categorized on the front page by people, objects, nature, PowerPoint templates, cities and Israel. Many of the photos are stock images that are straightforward and non-specific, though searching for specific emotions or locations via the search bar can provide a variety of pictures ideal for an engaging blog post.
Another free photo source, FreePixels has even more specific categories than Imagebase. For example, instead of just a broad ‘Objects’ section, FreePixels divides that section into sub-groups like medical, tools, toys, electronics, household, kitchenware and more. FreePixels has over 5000 images available for free download.
Unsplash is a great resource for beautifully vivid photos, primarily of natural landscapes with the occasional person or animal. These are offered in large, high-resolution quality, so it’s especially useful for sites or blogs seeking a captivating background image to their post or web site background. Check it out for ten new images every ten days.
Updated daily, Picjumbo provides an eclectic range of photos, from the abstract images to snapshots of fashion, food, technology and people. In addition to landscapes, Picjumbo tends to specialize in high-quality close-ups of objects, such as the back of an illuminated computer or the tip of a pencil touching paper.
MorgueFile is especially useful if your web site or blog deals with animals in some way, as this resource features plenty of content in that niche. Its search engine is also very useful, since with one click a MorgueFile search can also be used to explore the archives of other photo sites like Dreamstime, iStock, DepositPhotos and Fotoalia. Many of these are fee-based, but if you’re set on finding the perfect photo for a project then that is a route you must consider.
U.S. Government Photos and Images
The U.S. Government photo archive provides a reliable source for many photos from various government databases, such as General Government, Public Safety and Law, Science and Money. Their accessibility varies from free-to-download to fee-based, so be sure to check the guidelines for the specific image that interests you.
If your site is running a feature on something from the distant past, this Old Pictures database is an ideal resource. The database spans from 1850 to 1940, touching on topics ranging from Native Americans and British Imperialism to specific locations. It’s a must-see for history buffs, or specifically for bloggers and journalists seeking royalty-free photos from that date range.
The seven resources above show that there are a wide range of royalty-free photos available online. What is your favorite? Explore the variety of options above to see which photos fit your site or project best. Although specific projects may call for purchasing a specific photo, there are enough royalty-free photos available online at no cost to satiate most photo-seekers.
Want to see even more free photo sources, including alternates like embedded photos, and some free image search engines? Click the image below to see tons of free image sources.