Free & Paid (Legal) Images for Your Blog

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The issue of copyright and images has been a long-standing one ever since you could just search for any image you want on a search engine and copy it into your blog post.
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The issue of copyright and images has been a long-standing one ever since you could just search for any image you want on a search engine and copy it into your blog post.

That’s just not right. Someone out there probably has the rights to that image and its contents. They should be compensated or at least credited for their work. That’s where copyright laws, licenses and so on come into play.

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I’ve done the research and put together an extensive list of sources for free, and not-so-free images. Check them out below.

Google Images

That’s right, I’m starting with Google. But it’s not just about searching and grabbing random images as you wish. There’s more to it. When doing your normal Google search you need to filter your results to find images that you have permission to use.

This is done through an Advanced Search filter called “usage rights”. For more information about this have a look at this link from Google’s support regarding images you can reuse.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository of over 23.5 million freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute. You can search for images by various categories ranging from topic to location and license to source.

For a better understanding of how you can reuse the content form Wikimedia I suggest first having a look at this link. Some images are licensed in such a way that you still need to attribute the original creator, while others have other minor restrictions on them that are worth noting.

Flickr

Flickr is one of the most well knows sources of photography. The free photos do require you to attribute the original creator but this is a small price to pay for great imagery on your blog. Otherwise, if the photo is not available for download, it’s up to you to get in touch with the creator and license the photo from them.

ShutterStock

ShutterStock is another of the most popular sources for royalty free images. They’ve got different pricing plans depending on your needs. Check them out and see which one fits you best. They’ve certainly got some of the best images and photos you’ll find and they’re worth investing in if you really want your blog posts to stand out.

iStockPhoto.com

iStock by Getty Images is a super repository of millions of photos, illustrations and more, all royalty free and at decent prices. All of them are divided into categories and they even include exclusive images available only from iStock. You can have a look at their pricing plans here.

Some other great sources

Below is a continued list of even more sources I came across. Some of these have free images while others may require payment so please make sure to check each one before using them.

  • Dreamstime
    • Free – A large collection of free images
    • Paid – Credit Packages or Subscriptions
  • 123rf.com
    • Paid – Daily Subscription or On Demand
  • StockPhotoSecrets
    • Paid – Monthly & yearly plans, or image pack options
  • Unsplash
    • Free – 10 images per day, amazing photos.
  • Every Stock Photo
    • Free – Dependant on each photo’s individual license
  • Morgue File
    • Free – Just download and credit the photos
  • Photo Pin
    • Free – A sort of search engine for various Creative Commons sources
  • Free Digital Photos
    • Free – Small sizes are free of charge, often requiring credit to the photographer
    • Paid – Larger versions of the images can be purchased

Whichever source you use please make sure to read the terms and conditions as well as the license agreements for each photo. Unauthorised use of someone else’s images is not only illegal but also morally wrong.

Simply giving credit to someone for their work or paying a small fee can go a long way to ensuring you run a beautiful, yet fair blog.

For a brief explanation on image rights (for those that prefer a visual explanation) here’s a quick video. It’s not the most exciting of videos, but hey, these three minutes can save you from any legal hassles.

Have you used or know of any other image sources? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them to our list.

Mark Zahra

Mark is the CEO behind the WP Mayor project. He has been using WordPress since 2012, joining the WP Mayor team in 2014. Since then, he has helped to review, test, and write about hundreds of WordPress products and services; educating the community of millions of WordPress users around the globe.

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3 Responses

  1. Hi, very informative article.
    Please also check out for thousands of unique public domain photos, all high-resolution and free to use for any purpose.We specialize in photos by location as we document cities, national parks, state parks, national landmarks, and more. We update with 20+ photos each week. Appreciate it if you could add us to your list of sites.

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