Everyone likes nice images for their blogs. Good images can help pace a long post, illustrate what your article is all about and the Creative Commons Zero license can save you a world of grief. But sometimes getting your hands on the right image can be tough–especially when you realize that your snapshot photography pales in comparison to some of the better-lit, more cleanly composed shot that you found somewhere online.
There are a growing number of kind photographer souls who are putting their works online for your free use. How do you know you can use their work freely? They usually say so, and will make their work available under a CC0 (Creative Commons Zero) license. This means the artists are waiving their copyrights over the work.
So, where can you find CC0 images?
Out of all the photos listed here today, this site may have the fewest images–but it makes up for this limitation with originality and creativity. Ryan McGuire who shoots, posts and offers these images on his site to be free (yes, they are CC0), might be the only one who has a “whimsical” category with cleverly photoshopped images, such as the one shown here. Definitely swing through here for a browse. McGuire’s sense of humor is definitely apparent in his photography. I usually visit this site first when I’m looking for something.
Pexels.com appears to be an aggregator of CC0 images as well as a hub for photographers to submit their own images. Images can be searched with key words, but if you’re just curious to see what’s out there, you can also visit the homepage and see some of the new and recent images added to the site.
Because hundreds (maybe thousands?) of photographers contribute loads of images to this site daily, there are often a number of images that span a range of styles, so you might be able to find something that suits your brand personality (quirky, retro, minimalistic, etc…)
Sign in to Unsplash.com and you can receive 10 new photos every 10 days, or you can also visit the site and wander through the images. In my opinion, many of them seem to be of a landscape nature and can “go the distance” for those images that are hard for me to capture with my handheld or smartphone. When I’m looking for something that has a sense of vastness to them, like “solitude” or “staggering heights” I will definitely visit this site.
What I enjoy about Kaboompics.com is its assortment of abstract photos. Abstract photos can be tough to identify or categorize as “useful” or even relevant, because they are… well, abstract. But sometimes, when I don’t know what I’m going to write about, I may rifle through some of these abstract photos just to get my creative juices flowing.
These are the four sites that I visit on a frequent basis to find photos. I’m sure there are others, but a minimum requirement for me is that they have CC0 photos available.
Bonus Site! Pixabay
This site has a number of searchable CC0 images available for downloading, but it also houses several free, CC0 graphics that might be more along the lines of what you’re looking for. In case you didn’t know, vector graphics are special designs that can increase in size without getting grainy. They look like computer graphics and can sometimes demonstrate a concept–like the image here.
(With Pixabay, beware of the row of copyright protected images there too. They are displayed somewhat close together and the stock image might have just that extra something that will entice you to click.) 🙂
As with some of the sites mentioned above, you can register to pull images from the site. All the ones I mentioned make it possible for you donate a cup of coffee to the image provider. If you plan on using photos from any one of these sites, or any one photographer (even hobby photographers) with frequency, consider donating–I’m sure they’d be thrilled.
Do you have any favorite places to get CC0 images?
Whatever you do, unless they are CC0 images, do not succumb to the urge to put any amazing image you found online on your blog post or repurpose it for your Pinterest or Instagram page, because you will suffer the consequences. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. (I am hearing from fellow bloggers that they are getting emails with invoices about their unlicensed use of stock photography. Let me warn you that even if you remove the image from your site immediately, you still have to pay the fine.)
Let me know in the comments below. Also, share this blog post in your social media–let your blogger friends know about these excellent image resources.