Images are just as important as your blog content. Pixelated, poor quality images ruin the aesthetic attractiveness of your blog. There are dozens of stock photography sites online, but paid images are costly, especially if you need a logo or trademarked image. For instance, a general smartphone image might cost you $3, but buying rights to an Android logo image costs you about $25. These costs add up when you post daily. You can optionally find sites that provide high quality free stock photos. You might be required to post credit to the photographer or website, but it’s a nice trade for having free images on your blog.
Photo Pin leverages the thousands of images you can get under a Creative Commons license from Flickr. Of course, some people still own copyright when they post to Flickr, but others allow you to freely use their images provided that you give them some kind of attribution. Photo Pin’s rules state that images are for personal use only and not for commercial purposes, which makes them perfect for bloggers.
If you run a WordPress site, you can add a plugin named Pixabay to your blog. This plugin searches among the several public domain image sharing sites. You have access to over 80,000 images, and you can edit them within WordPress’ own photo editor. This site is great for people who don’t have any photo editing programs on their local computer. The entire process of finding and editing images is accomplished in the cloud.
Compfight is similar to Photo Pin, except this software uses the Flickr API. The Flickr API allows developers to customize the way search works within the Flickr domain search. In addition to using the API, Compfight also has a plugin module that you can install on your WordPress blog that makes it easier to search and add images to your posts.
Google Image Search
Probably the best search engine that spans any site on the web is Google’s image search. With Google’s image search, you’re not limited to just one site or one API. The search engine also has advanced image search settings. You can search by image type, size, colors or even similar images. With Google’s image search, you must be careful about the rights on each image. The downside to Google’s search is that there is no limitation on the result’s copyrights. You must click through to the image and read its copyright message before you can just take it to use on your own blog. Some image owners want money but others just want credit associated with the photo.
Morgue File is probably one of the oldest image sites on the Internet. This site has long been known among writers and bloggers as a great source for free images. Morgue File has been around since 1996 as a source for free images. It’s also a source for photographers and image owners to get their name out and to build reputation with bloggers. Image owners can ask for a link back to their site or Morgue File profile. Morgue File also offers larger images, which some sites don’t offer. You can get images of up to 800 x 600 pixels, which means that you can add images for any number of sized slots on your pages.
EveryStockPhoto searches a number of sites for royalty-free images. The search includes Flickr, Morgue File, Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia as well as some lesser known websites. EveryStockPhoto has almost 20 million images available, and the number continues to grow as more photographers contribute to image sites.
Stockvault has fewer images, but the search for images is better when you want to search certain categories. Stockvault has 40,000 images available with variable license options. This site is beneficial when you want to mix free images with some paid images. Stockvault lets you upgrade your images with paid versions, which are higher quality and usually larger.
Wikimedia Commons is an extension of the popular Wikipedia repository. Wikimedia Commons is specific to images and content in the public domain. Most images are freely-licensed to personal sites such as bloggers and content sites. Some images have stricter license agreements such as corporate logos and designs. Check the copyright page for each image before you use it.
Free stock photos are great when you just have a quick blog post you want do without expensive overhead. They are also great for new bloggers with little startup costs. Use these sites with some paid sites to offer high quality images for your readers.
Robert Joyce has been blogging since before the term existed. With a knack for attracting readers and assisting fellow writers, he enjoys sharing his insights and tips with the blogosphere.