If you’re looking for free images for your blog, this post is a complete guide on where to look for free blog images and how to use them effectively.
When you start a blog, you can’t give your readers blog posts that are walls of text, that’s boring! You need to add images to your blog posts.
Adding images will make your blog posts more visually appealing for readers.
Plus, adding images to your blog posts will make your blog more successful overall; you’ll attract more readers to your blog, increase your subscribers, and generate more leads.
How? According to OptinMonster, content with images get more views and shares, and can even increase your conversions by over 300%.
Adding images to your blog is a must!
In this article, I’ll share the best sites to find free images for your blog. Plus, we’ll go over other topics like copyright restrictions, choosing images that fit your brand and sizing, editing, and optimizing images for the web.
In This Guide:
- Where to Find Photos and Images for Your Blog
- Legally Using Photos and Images on Your Blog – Understanding Licenses
- Picking Images That Fit Your Brand
- 15 Best Sites to Find Free Images for Your Blog
- Resizing, Editing, and Optimizing Your Blog Images
Let’s dive in!
Where to Find Photos and Images for Your Blog
First, let’s go through and look at all the different options available for your blog images.
Take Your Own Photos
If you’re a good photographer and own a camera or a decent modern smartphone, consider taking your own photos for your blog.
For example, a lot of food bloggers usually take their own photos:
Taking your own photos means that every image you take is your own property and is a unique piece of content for SEO purposes.
Check out some of the other benefits of taking your own photos:
- Decreased costs
If you don’t already own a camera, of course, it will cost a bit of money up front to start taking your own photos. But, you’ll save money over time, as you aren’t paying for each shot that you want to use on your blog or marketing materials.
- Increased brand presence
If you take good photos people will share them around. It will enhance your blog and take it to the next level. Many successful fashion blogs take all of their own photos and become known for their unique style.
- More content
Photos are content too. If you are putting your own photos online you are adding to the number of places that people can find you and your work. That’s a good thing right?
- Good on social networking sites
Photos work. They get attention. Even if you are just using a high-quality smartphone camera with a funky filter, you are likely to attract new blog readers on social media.
- No copyright headaches
Can bloggers use copyrighted images? Can you use that image you bought in your logo? Can you sell it? If you took the photo (provided it’s not a photo of something dodgy) then you can do whatever you want with it. Easy.
- You can make extra money
Put your photos up on a site like Dreamstime and if people buy them you earn a commission. It’s not a lot of money but if you are good at it and take a lot of photos it might add up.
Remember, you can also take really good photos with your iPhone if you spend a bit of time researching how to compose a good photo.
Commission New Images
If you’re not interested in taking your own photos, you can commission an artist to create unique, new images for your blog.
In this case, you can use a site like 99designs that allows you to create a job and have different designers, artists, and creatives work for a solution.
It’s a buzzing community and there are a lot of talented people working there which means you get access to a large variety of styles.
Commissioning original artwork and images for your blog will make sure your blog stands out from the crowd.
What if I don’t want to take photos or make my images?
Let’s be honest—we don’t all have the time, money, or inclination to take photos or commission new graphics for every blog post that we do.
Sometimes you just want to go on to a website and find the right photo and publish as soon as possible.
Which brings us to the next option…
Use Stock Images From a Photo Download Website
Luckily, there are a ton of websites that offer free photos for blogs.
And of course, I’ll share a list of those awesome sites with you later on in this article.
On many of these photo download sites, you can simply search for an image for your blog, download it, add it to your site, and voila! Now your blog looks awesome!
But, it’s important to remember that you can’t just use any photo you find on the web and there are certain conditions you need to keep in mind when using stock photos.
Let’s take a closer look at using photos and images on your blog—legally.
Legally Using Photos and Images on Your Blog – Understanding Licenses
When you run a blog you have to actually know quite a few legal concepts.
What follows is an overview of the main concepts and traps that you need to be aware of when using images on your blog.
When you’re talking about the legal aspects of photos and images the main thing you are doing is navigating the varying licenses that are attached to the images.
Each photo could be different, each photographer is different, and the consequences of getting it wrong can be bad.
It basically works like this in most places around the world: when a photo is taken the person who took the photo owns the copyright to that photo.
There are some exceptions (like journalistic photographers who are employed) but mainly it’s the gal or guy who took the shot that owns the rights.
That photographer can then grant licenses where other people can use that photo in certain circumstances and under certain conditions.
Images in the public domain are works whose copyrights have expired or whose creators have relinquished all rights to the works. These are free for personal or commercial use.
There is only one exception to the “free for all use” policy for public domain photos: If you’re using an image of a recognizable person, you may need to get his or her permission to use the photo.
When images are offered royalty-free, this simply means that the purchaser pays a fee and can then use the image without paying additional royalties or licensing fees.
This also means the purchaser doesn’t have to give attribution. This is the model used by paid stock photo sites.
Photographers who license their images under Creative Commons (CC) can choose how their images will be used by specifying a particular CC license.
For instance, a CC0 license means the owner has relinquished all rights to his or her works, while CC 2.0 requires the user to provide attribution. Flickr has a really good summary about it all.
There are many other types of licenses out there.
Figuring out which license a photo is under can be tricky and that’s why it’s important to get your photos from sources that you trust where you are sure that you know what is going on.
What Can Happen If You Don’t Get It Right
Many new bloggers ask: Is it OK to use Google Images on a blog?
It might not be okay and, honestly speaking, it’s not very fair to take a photographer’s work and use it without compensating them.
Sadly, some photographers make their money through lawsuits. They spend their time searching for improper uses of their images and then use lawyer’s letters to get money out of website owners – sometimes it’s upwards of $5,000 per image!
Other photographers will ask you to give a credit or request that you take the image down, which is a much kinder route for bloggers who may not be aware.
But, all of this means that it’s best not to use an image unless you are sure that you can, and make sure you give a credit where you’re supposed to.
How to Be Safe
This is one of those situations where it is better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t use an image unless you know its license, and always give a credit by default.
It’s important to try and get your head around the different options as best as you can and make sure that your own specific country or state doesn’t have different laws.
And again, if you want to be super safe then make your own images, take your own photos or have someone make them for you using a site like 99designs.
Now that you’re up-to-speed on the legal aspects of using free images on your blog, let’s discuss how to choose the best images for your blog.
Picking Images That Fit Your Brand
When choosing images for your blog, don’t just choose any old image. You need to pick images that fit your brand.
But what is a brand?
David Ogilvy defines it as:
The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised.
As soon as someone lands on your blog they will get a particular feeling and impression that has a big impact on how much they will interact with your content, whether they will subscribe to your mailing list, and so on. Photos play a big role in this.
The first thing you want to do is avoid stock photos that everyone can tell are from a stock photography site and feel cold, clinical, and quite dull.
For example, avoid choosing a dull, obvious stock image like this:
Instead, go for an image that’s more interesting and engaging, like this:
Next, be sure to pick photos that reflect your brand and your blog content.
To define your brand, think about what you want readers to think of or feel when they visit your website.
Is your blog playful and fun? Or is it informative and serious? Then, choose blog images that represent those feelings.
Try to plan out what you want to communicate with your photos.
Choosing blog images that represent your brand will make your blog look more cohesive and inspire trust with your readers.
Now, are you ready to find some awesome images for your blog?
Here are some websites you can use to find free blog images!
15 Best Sites to Find Free Images for Your Blog
On FreeImages, formerly known as stock.xchng, you can browse over 300,000 free stock photos and quickly find high-quality, royalty-free images for your blog.
You can search FreeImages by keyword or browse through their collections to find the perfect image.
Collections include food and drink, business and finance, landscapes, transportation, sports and fitness, and much more.
The images on Unsplash are so beautiful, people often wonder, is Unsplash really free? It is!
Unsplash is a great place to find free blog images that are creative commons licensed or public domain.
They offer a wide variety of free stunning photos that you can download and use for any project, including your blog.
They have built up a library of over 1 million stock photos and they add 10 new images to the site every day.
Pixabay has over 1.620752 millionroyalty free images, free of charge that you can use on your blog. Aside from stock photos, they also offer illustrations, vectors, and videos.
You can easily find the exact type of blog image you’re looking for with a simple keyword search.
Plus, Pixabay lets you filter the image results by orientation (horizontal or vertical), size, and even color.
PicJumbo has 1000s of beautiful, free blog images to download. All of the images on this photo download website are royalty-free and have no watermarks.
You can search for an image by keyword or browse through their image categories like business, abstract, traveling, flatlay, people, and more.
Want to find some really quirky images that will make your blog stand out from the crowd? Check out Gratisography.
Some of the quirky images you can find on this site include photos of garden gnomes, people making funny faces, a cool teddy bear wearing sunglasses, and more.
All of the photos are totally free to download, without any copyright restrictions.
You can also subscribe to their weekly email newsletter to receive updates about new free image downloads.
Want free images, no copyright restrictions? On Pexels, you can find loads of free stock photos that you can use anywhere. They’re free for commercial use and no attribution is required.
Finding the perfect image is a breeze on Pexels. You can search by keyword or browse through specific photo collections like “Cacti,” “Back to School,” “Tasty Tea,” and more.
You can even browse photographs by color if you have a particular color scheme for your blog.
PhotoPin is an awesome photo download site for bloggers. They have millions of high-quality, creative commons photos that you can add to your blog posts easily.
PhotoPin uses the Flickr API to search the web for creative commons licensed photographs.
Simply type a keyword into the image search bar and in an instant, PhotoPin will provide you with a ton of relevant images you can use. Most photos you find on PhotoPin do require attribution.
The StockSnap.io website has hundreds of beautiful free images for your blog that you can download, all free from copyright restrictions.
Hundreds of new images are added to StockSnap.io weekly. Plus, it’s really easy to find the exact type of image you’re looking for because StockSnap.io has highly-specific categories like love, sad, beach, family, kitchen, yoga, and more.
LibreShot is a website that offers free blog images for download. All of the photographs are taken by Martin Vorel and can be used for commercial use, they have no watermark, and require no attribution.
The majority of the images on LibreShot are landscapes, architecture, animals, and nature-shots, which is perfect for travel blogs.
Skitterphoto is another great site to download public domain images for free.
Skitterphoto was launched in 2014 by a group of photographers. They upload their own work onto the site so you’ll find free images here that you won’t find on other free picture databases.
On SplitShire, you can find amazing royalty free photos for your blog. Currently, there are 1,111 free stock photos you can download on the site and more are added nearly every day.
These high-quality photographs are by Daniel Nanescu and they’re released under the creative commons license.
Categories include animals, fashion, automotive, wedding, landscapes, and much more.
Pickup Image offers a ton of royalty free images, free of charge, on their website.
You can copy, modify, and add these free images to your blog, you can even use them for commercial purposes, all without asking for permission.
Simply type in relevant keywords to find the images you want and Pickup Image will show you high-quality images that match your search.
Foodiesfeed is a goldmine of delicious-looking, free blog images for people that have a food blog. All of the images are free to download for personal and commercial use.
They offer over 1500 free food photos on the site. You can search by keyword or explore popular tags like coffee, pizza, cake, healthy, and others.
New Old Stock is a bit different from the other free photo download websites on this list because they offer vintage photos—it’s like looking into the past.
If you have a history blog, or your blog has a vintage-feel, this stock photo website is a great choice for you.
These photos are public domain images, free of known copyright restrictions.
Wikimedia Commons, which is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, is a free pictures database you can use to easily find free images for your blog.
On Wikimedia Commons, you can also find sounds and videos. According to the site, they currently have a collection of 59,658,846 freely usable media files you can browse.
Be sure to check the information underneath each photo to find out if the image is public domain or if they require attribution.
Is ShutterStock free to use? Sadly, no, it’s not. But ShutterStock is definitely worth a mention on this list.
ShutterStock has some of the highest-quality stock photos you’ll find on the web. Aside from stock photographs, they also offer illustrations, vectors, music, video footage, and more.
Worried about the cost? Luckily, ShutterStock offers a 1-month free trial so you can test out the site to see if you like it.
That’s it! Those are our top picks for the best sites to find free images for your blog.
Once you find some great free blog images to download, your job isn’t over. It’s important that you edit, size, and optimize your blog images for the web.
Let’s take a closer look at that in the next section.
Resizing, Editing, and Optimizing Your Blog Images
Okay, now we are going to get into the stuff that a lot of people might think is boring, but is actually really important when it comes to using images and photos successfully.
Resizing, editing, and optimizing your blog images is important and it will help:
- Make your blog images look good to readers
- Improve the performance of your website
- Increase your SEO rankings and get more traffic
First, let’s start with the basics.
Types of Image Files That Bloggers Should Use
The first thing we need to talk about is the file type itself. When you create an image you obviously need to save it so you can upload it and use it on the web.
There are really only three file types that are relevant for bloggers and that’s the PNG, JPEG and GIF.
Here’s a quick summary:
Which File Type Should I Use For Images and Photos on My Blog?
- JPEG – Good for Photos but loses quality
Stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. This isa lossy compression method which means it loses quality in order to make the file size smaller.
Good for photos and online use but will lose quality if edited and re-saved over and over.
- GIF – Mostly used for animations
Stands for Graphics Interchange Format and is widely used for animated or moving images on social networking sites like Reddit. Limited to 256 colors but still the main choice for small animations that aren’t movie files.
- PNG – Good for Illustrations and Chunks of Color
Stands for Portable Network Graphics and allows up to 16 million colors. Very good choice for graphics where there are large chunks of a uniform color.
Allows for transparent backgrounds. it is lossless compression meaning it won’t lose quality when edited and saved.
Resizing Your Blog Images
The next thing you want to think about is the size of your blog images. There are 2 types of images you want to add to your blog posts:
- A featured image – The featured image typically appears at the top of your blog posts and acts as a teaser for the content that follows.
- Images within the post – Images within your blog posts break up the text and can be used to demonstrate concepts in a visual way.
When you download free blog images from stock photo websites like the ones listed above, the file sizes are usually very large.
These large images can slow down your website and take up space on your website’s hosting server. So, you need to resize them.
But, make sure all of your blog images are the same size.
Using different sized images can really ruin the visual appeal of your blog and make it look scattered and messy.
Where possible you should try to keep all your images in the same dimensions so that your layouts are clean and become easily recognizable.
Luckily, WordPress makes resizing your images easy. Simply upload your stock photo, click Edit Image, and choose your new dimensions.
You can also resize your images before you upload them to your WordPress site using a tool like Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, or another image editing software on your computer.
Want more blogging guides like these? Make sure to subscribe to my email newsletter so you can get the expert advice you need to grow your blog.