Using great visuals is one of the secrets to crafting the perfect blog post. Readers are instantly drawn to them and an eye-popping image is the perfect spark to draw readers into your content.
But where can you find high quality images to use?
However, if you are on a budget then why not take advantage of the growing number of sites offering gorgeous, high quality photos for absolutely free?
In this post, I’ve put together a list of the best sites offering free stock photos under the Creative Commons CC0 license. This means the images on these sites are in the public domain, which lets you use these photos with no restrictions, even for commercial work.
You don’t even have to provide attribution. Although, as my friend Kevin Duncan says, why not be a good neighbor and reward these photographers with the credit anyway. They would certainly appreciate it.
Pixabay is a great, searchable site that offers over 260,000 free photos, vectors, and art illustrations. Take a look at the Editor’s choice images for the very best, hand-picked photos.
Unsplash is one of the most popular sites offering free high resolution stock images by various photographers. They offer 10 new photos every day and you can subscribe to get new images directly sent to your mailbox.
Jéshoots offers new modern stock photos taken by photographer Jan Vašek. Types of photos you will find on the site include animals, architecture, city & street, devices, food, lights, nature and people.
Snapographic offers a beautiful selection of stock photos by photographer Thomas Mühl. Categories on the site include abstract, animals, architecture, landscape, nature, texture and things.
Travel Coffee Book is a Tumblr style blog by Joyce Huang that shares “beautiful travel moments”. The blog updates with 10 new photos every 10 days and you can even download all the photos from a single link!
Pexels is a free stock photo aggregation site that collects images from many of the sites on this list. It is fully searchable and they have added tags to each image which makes it much easier to find what you want.
Photographer Ryan McGuire offers a wonderfully eclectic set of high resolution images on his site, Gratisography. New images are added weekly.
Stokpic is an amazing site, filled with many different categories of beautiful stock photos. Images are tagged and searchable and they add 10 new photos every 2 weeks.
Public Domain Archive is run by web designer and photographer Matt Hobbs and contains a huge collection of stock images from a wide variety of sources.
Designer Jay Mantri adds 7 new high resolution photos every thursday on his Tumblr-style blog.
Little Visuals offers 7 hi-res images zipped to your inbox every week. As you are browsing the images on the site, you can download images packs from the previous weeks as well.
Cupcake is a blog by Swedish photographer, Jonas Nilsson Lee. The blog offers a small collection of free, high resolution quality images for you to download.
Crow the Stone is another Tumblr-style blog that showcases a small collection of freely downloadable photos shot by Abinav Thakuri.
Moving East is blog featuring a great selection of photos taken in Thailand by an unknown Portuguese guy.
Life of Pix is a terrific gallery of high resolution photos by Leeroy, an advertising agency in Montreal.
Picography is a blog that features a dazzling array of high resolution photos submitted by various photographers.
Customizing Your Stock Photos
Now that you have this amazing resource of free stock photos, what do you with them? While all these stock photos are beautiful by themselves, you probably don’t want to use them as-is.
More then likely, other people are also using these images on their own sites (which you can check with a reverse image search tool like TinEye).
Ana Hoffman has an awesome post about using free images as blog post images. This is a fantastic resource that explains everything you need to customize your images to get noticed and drive traffic.
If you own a copy of Photoshop, I would also recomend checking out Nathan Barry’s post on designing killer graphics for your blog post. There are some step-by-step videos that he’s put together which are excellent and quite easy to follow.
Adding high quality images to your blog posts is one of the best ways to give them that extra “pop”. Once you do this it will automatically improves your visitor’s perception of your site and it increase the likeleyhood that they will read and engage with your content.
Eye-catching images also make your post more likely to be shared. All the major social networks will automatically grab and image from your page, so spend the time and pick some good ones.
Did I miss any free stock photo sites? I plan on keeping this post constantly updated, so don’t hesistate to share any new ones in the comments below.