HOW TO SOURCE FREE IMAGES
Writing excellent content is important. Second to that is adding wonderful images to complement your written content and to keep your audience’s attention.
People have short attention spans and our brains process images 60 000 times faster than it comprehends written content. This means that we need to keep our online presence eye-catching, engaging and visually pleasing.
However, obtaining images from the usual places like Shutterstock can prove expensive, and it is not appropriate to just run a Google search and grab an image you happen to like. Here are some great options available to get great images.
There is a plethora of websites that offer awesome free, downloadable and high resolution images, if you know where to look. As an overview, free images come from a few categories-
- Creative Commons
- Public Domain
- Free For Commercial Use (FFCU)
This basically means all other images that are not under copyright (you cannot just use a copyrighted image without express permission), however there may be other rules to using these images. Creative Commons images that have “some rights reserved” often fall into these four categories-
- Attribution (BY): which means that you can copy, redistribute, remix and transform a piece of work as long as you give appropriate credit for it. It is advisable to seek out what is meant by “appropriate credit” on the artist’s site or link.
- No Derivs (ND): which means you are not allowed to change or alter the image in any way.
- Non-Commercial (NC): which is as it sounds, you cannot use the image in any way where you will be obtaining money.
- Share-alike (SA): which means that you are free to use the image and transform, change, manipulate in whatever way but the image that you produce after that is under the same share-alike license of the image you based it on.
Most creative commons image require the attribution in the least, and some have these restrictions or others not mentioned. It is always good practise to find out what the particular artists desires are for use of their images.
These images have absolutely no restrictions to use- no licensing or purchasing requirements, so when you find an image that is applicable and relevant to your content- it’s brilliant. Caution should still be used to make sure that the image you are wanting to use does fall into this public domain category. Increasingly, the quality, variety and search ability for these images is getting better, so check out Public Domain Photos , PD Pics , Photos Public Domain , PD Photo , Old Book Illustrations and Public Domain Vectors .
FFCU Stock Images
As you navigate through these sites you will no doubt come upon others that take your fancy and deliver images that complement your needs. Pop a bookmark in them and enjoy the miasma of colourful images that will spice up your content. And how can I not finish with…A picture does paint a thousand words!
These are images that have specifically been put out there for people to make use of commercially. Sometimes they require attribution, but often they don’t. Again, it’s a matter of checking out what the artist desires. Often websites that offer FFCU images require you to sign up for a free account. Not always a bad idea as they often email you of their latest free images. One of my favourite sites for dramatic scene images is Unsplash which says “All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.” Splitshire is similar in lack of licensing to Unsplash. Check these out Unsplash , Stock Photos For Free , Free Images , Splitshire , and Death to the Stock Photo .