You probably know better than to steal images you find on Google for your content marketing work by now, and if you don’t you should! If you already know to be cautious about copyright, here are some great resources for free or close- to-free images for the content you develop for your social media accounts or blog. As you’ll see, there is a growing trend away from traditional stock imagery towards artists providing copy free images to download as a way to give back, and also to promote their own work. I for one applaud these artists for their generosity!
StockSnap.io Displays Creative Commons CCO universal licensed images for download. You can submit your work here for use by others as well. They share the best of the best on Twitter too, and you can often find easily shareable unusual images there, click the link to go to the source.
Unsplash goes against the stock repository concept by releasing just 10 high-resolution images to the world each day as public domain. The images are fresh and almost always extraordinary.
Splitshire also has lovely and unusual images free of copyright and downloadable. Images are sorted by category and browsing has been more fun than searching for specific topics. Let your eyes guide you to the right image instead of a preconceived idea based on search results.
DeathtoStockPhotos was one of the first sites I found with this idea of a photographer generated subscription service. Sign up and get images delivered to your in box on a regular basis. Images are fresh and trendy and beautifully shot. Again, you have to get out of the stock photo mentality here. These photos are abstract and unique. They also have occasional odds and ends like handwritten fonts available through partnerships. All in the spirit of supporting creativity.
Pablo is part of the excellent Buffer application where you can create images to share on social media and draw from a wonderful library of free images, re-sized to suit the platform you are posting on. Then you can schedule those images to go out on your social accounts, even Instagram (through the buffer app on your smartphone). Super cool and easy to use.
Canva offers quite a few free images and others as low as $1 each for use within their app. I include Canva here because it is my main go-to for creating ads, artwork and images for my work using some of the free stock images provided here. It’s replaced Photoshop in my arsenal!
Pexels offers a searchable database of free stock images. The only restriction is that identifiable people may not appear in a bad light or in a way that they may find offensive, unless they give their consent. The database is diverse from more traditional stock to organic and personal style photos.
Pond5 is a stock media site and includes images, video, music, 3-D, After effects templates and audio clips. Some are for sale and others are in the public domain. The site is really fun if you’re looking for something different than the usual stock clips and licensing is very clearly defined on each item complete with source and use guidelines.
JayMantri is a photographer who posts 7 images once a week for download with a CCO license. Free to use for any purpose.
NewOldStock is a vintage photo collection thought to be free of copyright. Many are from recognized institutions including the National Library of Medicine and e3ach provides their copyrights for easy decision making.
PhotoPin. This site searches creative commons photos and allows you to download them in a variety of formats for use. This site also allows you to download the necessary text for attribution on the image to give proper credit to the creator. Be sure to do that. You can also buy images here starting at $1.
Flickr is a photo repository and allows you to search by license, so you can find images that fit your needs. Read the copyright notices before you use the photo. Many are open source or attribution only. Some authors write their own rules here, including where you can and cannot use the image.
You can find and follow this list on my List.ly account too. I’ll be adding more there as I find them. If you have some favorites add them in the comments or on List.ly.