As a blogger, you probably know how important it is to use high-quality images in most of your posts. You hopefully also know that you can get in a bad situation if you rip images from Google, even if you link back. The problem is, it can be hard to find websites that provide great images for free with the right kind of rights. Since I started blogging, I started keeping a list of my favorite sites to get images from. Then it hit me: Why am I hoarding this list? Surely someone else could use some handy dandy links too!
So roughly in order or my own preference, here are some sites to check out next time you need a photo.
By far the favorite site for bloggers. Free, high-res photos with rights to copy, modify, distribute and use for commercial purposes with no permission or attribution required. If you like scrolling, you’ll love Unsplash. It didn’t used to be searchable, but looks like it is now. Lots of landscapes and a few neutral settings that are great if you need something general as a backdrop to overlay some text on. I subscribe to their emails to see all new photos added every 10 days, which is handy to save the ones you like most to use later.
Very Unsplash-like, but a wider range of images, and easier to search and filter. Totally free and you can do anything with them (with the Creative Commons zero license that almost all the sites on this list also use). Super easy to use.
Lots of nice neutral food or workspace photos, free for personal or commercial use. Searchable or browse photos by category. No download limits or hoops to jump through, and no attribution required.
Has a huge database to choose from. Most are Flickr-type photos, not professional or editorial quality, and a lot of duds in there, but you can find some gems. Free to use, even commercially, though credit is required. Once you select your photo though, they generate HTML code for attribution you can just paste in your blog right under the photo, which makes it really easy.
Let me be blunt: These photos are seriously weird, but in the best way possible. Like, wacky and fun. Not searchable, but you can filter by category, and either way there’s a lot of scrolling involved, but also some chortles. I’ve only found a small handful of photos from them I ended up using, but I adore this site just for its quirkiness. Free, high-resolution for personal and commercial use, no copyright restrictions.
Searchable or by category. Wide range of image types, tons to choose from, and they accept user-submitted ones, which can be a good and bad thing. Totally free though and easy to use. No copyrights – you’re free to adapt and use for commercial purposes without attributing the original author or source.
A little laborious to use and haven’t yielded many winners to me, but there are a few gems here and there. Mostly artsy photos. I subscribe to the monthly emails to get photo packs delivered where you can download the zip folder. Totally free, no restrictions. Otherwise you can’t download or view photos from their site unless you pay for an account, which is kind of a bummer.
Site itself a little more cluttered and not as easy to use, though it is searchable, but I often don’t get any results for specific words (like cider. WTF.). If you don’t anything specific though, they have some great photos just by scrolling their page or filtering by category. Can get new photos emailed to you, or pay for a premium account for access to even more. I think there’s a limit on downloads for free.
High-resolution photos with no copyright restrictions for commercial use. Unsplash-like, but searchable, though no category filters. Library seems smaller than other sites. A lot of nature and city photos.
So this is kind of the mother bear, I think, and obviously has the largest library to pull from, but just like a Google search, you may have to scroll through a lot of duds to find the right image. The plus is that you’re more likely to find specific images you’re looking for here, including pop culture photos instead of generic background images. The con is that not all results will be licensed with Creative Commons Zero, so you may still need to link back or follow certain rules to use some of these photos, and I’ve found it super confusing to figure out which I can alter, which need attributions, etc. To play it safe, I generally keep this one as a last resort, and I’ve certainly gotten to that point before.
Where do you get your blog photos? Am I missing a great site?