In my last blog post I talked about how to come up with fresh content ideas for your blog again and again.
Hopefully you tried out some of those tips and you are writing your new blog post by now like a pro. Creating great content is… great! and necessary if you want to build up a solid and loyal audience for your site, but you need to be able to sell your awesome piece, you need to be able to present it the right and the appealing way. One huge step towards this goal is to accompany your paragraphs with proper and quality images.
“Oh, no! C’mon man, you REALLY gonna write about THIS? I just type into Google, Yahoo, Bing or Worst Search the keywords about whatever kind of image I choose to use and bang! The magic happens and I have my images right away. Am I right!?”
Don’t be that guy
Nope. Not at all. You cannot just roam around the internet and steal every photos and images you need. You need to give credit to the rightful owners of these images or you have to use royalty free photos. Actually, you have a lot of options to find them for free. I will gather these below.
First of all as a matter of precaution, it is usually a good thing to give credits to the real owner of that image which you use in your blog post (example: “Image by randomuser. This Flickr Creative Commons photo was found through randomphotosite.com” but it is fine to use only “Image Source:…..” or “Image Credit:…..” too).
There are a bunch of sites where you can find free stock photos. These services function a bit differently though, meaning that some of them will require a link, a mention, or a byline and others won’t. Watch out for these terms and make sure you always read and follow them before you are getting your images from that respectable site you’ve chosen.
Know what you want
When you are checking out a stock photo provider as a rule of thumb you should always perform a quick test: search for a general term from your area of blogging and compare the first couple of results you get from the sites. It could happen that one provider has millions of images but they suck in your niche or on the contrary: they are generally not that great, but they can offer just what you need.
Great and free stock photo sources
Google Creative Commons – it’s Google’s advanced image search to find free photos to use. As I mentioned it before keep in mind that you can’t use just any photo in your blog post which you find via Google search. It has to be one that is labeled for reuse, commercial reuse, and/or modification – BEST OPTION
Flickr Creative Commons – many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license, and you can browse or search through content under each type of license.
Wikimedia Commons – they have millions of images. Always read the licensing information of the image for terms of reuse.
If you are not in a too narrow niche or you are writing about something not too specific these Creative Commons methods could probably cover your needs at least for a while.
morgueFile – searchable, they have a pretty good selection of photos and it doesn’t required attribution meaning that they can be used commercially – BEST OPTION
albumarium – they have only a few photos but they are offering free high-quality images even for commercial use.
stockphotosforfree.com – they have over 100,000 free stock photos that you can use in all types of commercial projects too.
One of our really-really basic custom image using a free stock photo
These sites are good to go too:
Stock Free Images – according to them they have 1,029,088 images, royalty-free stock photos and illustrations.Registration is required.
Freerange Stock– they have a smaller, but sometimes more useful collection of photos. Registration is required, searchable and you can use the photos in commercial posts.
stockvault – “a community of over 70.000 creatives”. They offer free stock photos for mostly personal and educational use. Registration needed, categorized and searchable.
It could happen that free alternatives just won’t cut it for you. The main reasons for this usually are that either you need a lot of images and / or you are blogging in a really specific niche. Don’t worry, you have dozens of options to choose from when it’s come to paid stock photo providers. There are three important questions you need to answer to yourself before you start to search for a service like this.
- How big is my monthly / yearly budget for this?
- How many images I need monthly / yearly?
- What kind of images I need and how do I plan to use them in my content?
Recently I prefere to use Shutterstock or Bigstock. Below I will break down their pros and cons for you.
image source: www.microstockdiaries.com
It’s the bigger one from the two and the more expensive too. Shutterstock offers you over 35 million stock photos, vectors, videos, and music tracks. That’s a lot. Their smallest subscription plan (besides images on demand services) offers you 25 downloads per day for a monthly fee of $249. It’s a bit pricy, but you can be sure that you get exceptional quality for your money and you can always pick from a huge pool of photos, no matter your niche. My advice is that you should use Shutterstock if you need a big amount of images (+videos and music pieces) day in, day out and you need them from various and maybe smaller niches.
They are actually owned by Shutterstock but it’s not a problem since they are targeting a different market. Bigstock has a decent pool of more than 19 million stock photos, illustrations, and vectors, but they don’t offer you any multimedia content. They have a great subscription plan which I’m currently using and it contains 10 images per day for only $99 a month. As you can see from the numbers, it’s not so in-depth as its big brother, but it will do the job for you just fine if you are working on a smaller scale.
And now… the $16,000 tip
Let’s say that you’ve found the images you were looking for or purchased the stock photo provider of your choice. In a couple of minutes you will be a proud owner of a great photo which will make it look nicer and add value to your post. What if I told you, that you can do even better and you are just a pair of clicks away from a new level of creating content?
As a blogger you can go a long way to reach a larger audience with only using free stock photos and the two tools I’m about to show you. And no, you won’t need Photoshop skills over 9000 to make this happen.
Let me introduce you to Canva. This smart little tool help you edit, design and create your own custom graphics and pictures. It has a lot of different templates and you can make a variety types of designs such as a Facebook cover picture, a Twitter header or the perfect Pinterest pin. It’s really easy and free to use, although you might have to pay a $1 fee for some custom templates. You can upload your own photos, switch the background of the image, apply layouts or add some cool text boxes. Your options are near limitless.
5 minutes custom graphic made in Canva
It’s a great photo editor tool at least as many options to choose from what Canva offers. PicMonkey let’s you make collages, edit + design your photos and after that add an extra flair to them with the Touch Up mode. You can do almost anything with it and you are allowed to use within the tool all the fonts can be found on your computer. As well as above, it’s free but you have to pay for some of the features. At the beginning give yourself one or two hour to discover it completely. Trust me, it will be worth it.
That’s it for today folks, I hope you will finds my tips useful and will create even better content for your blog from now on. If you happen to know a great source of free stock photos not mentioned in the article, let us know in the comment section below.