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Anywhere you go, you'll see the same tips and advice when it comes to your blog posts: blogs posts with images perform better. They are shared more often, they attract more readers, and they help improve your overall search engine optimization (SEO) and reach. In other words, you need good images on your blog posts. It's a requirement.
There's one problem with this: how can you possibly find that many images for your blog? For photographers, this might not seem like a big deal to gather several high-quality, interesting photographs to be used. But for the rest of us, finding commercial images for your blog can prove to be quite taxing.
Add to that copyright issues and legalities, and finding images for your blog gets infinitely more difficult.
Luckily, there are plenty of places that offer stock images for your blog.
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We covered different terminology before in regard to copyright and photographs, but a little refresher for two terms, in particular, is always useful. When it comes to searching for images for your blog, you want to be clear the images you find come with one of the following licenses:
The Public Domain license is a legal term used to describe work that is not protected by copyright laws because the copyright has either expired, been waived, forfeited, or taken away as inapplicable. The Public Domain license allows you to use, modify, and share the photograph for personal or business use in an unlimited fashion. The only thing you can't do is claim that you took the original photograph.
The only exception to this is in the case of Public Domain photographs taken of recognizable people and celebrities. Images of some people may require you to get the permission of the model before you can use that image (remember, by law the photographer owns copyrights to any photograph he or she takes, not the model).
Creative Commons Zero
Technically speaking, the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license falls under the realm of Public Domain. The primary difference is that photographers cannot release their work under the CC0 license if they are already considered Public Domain. Any photographer who releases their work under the CC0 license relinquishes his or her rights to that photograph. You can think of it as “No Rights Reserved.” Unlike other forms of the Creative Commons licensing, the CC0 license does not require attribution.
When someone purchases a royalty-free image, they are purchasing an image for which they will never have to pay further royalties or licensing fees. Although many stock photo sites sell or provide their images as royalty-free, it's important to remember that royalty free does not always mean you have permission to use the image commercially. It simply means that as long as you use the image within the confines of the license, you will not have to pay any more royalties or fees to continue using it.
Sites that Offer Images for Your Blog
Below is a list of sites that offer stock photographs and images you can use for your blog. Every site listed here offers their photographs under the Public Domain or Creative Commons Zero licenses, royalty-free, and, best of all, free. Some of these sites may also offer premium images that you can purchase, but in most cases, you will be able to find just what you're looking for free.
1. Pixabay – Download royalty free photos and videos and share your own pictures as public domain with people all over the world.
2. New Old Stock – Vintage photos from the public archives.
3. Unsplash – Over 300,000 free “do whatever you want” high-resolution photos brought to you by the world’s most generous community of photographers.
4. Good Free Photos – A large Public Domain photo repository with high-resolution free photos and vectors.
5. Gratisography – Free high-resolution pictures you can use on your personal and commercial projects, free of copyright restrictions.
6. Life of Pix – Free high-resolution photos, no copyrights restrictions for personal and commercial use.
7. Pexels – High quality and completely free stock photos licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.
8. Morgue File – Free image exchange for creative professionals and teachers to use in their work.
9. SplitShire – Free photos to be more awesome out there.
10. 1 Million Free Pictures – Repository of thousands of 100% free pictures.
11. PikWizard – A new site that offers thousands of stock photos under the Creative Commons license.
Can I use an Image if I give Credit?
No, the permission has to come from the photographer, not you. The owner of the image can chose to take legal action against you if you do so. You have to get a license to use those images.
Your company gives you permission to use their stock photos for your use as a consultant. Be sure to check what you can and can't do with those images for your blog before changing them in any way.