Free Stock Photos: Introduction
Buying great photos and images can get costly and downloading them from the web could get you in a whole bunch of legal hot water. So in this article, I’m going to show you how you can get free stock photos that will make your blog really shine!
Why using great photos can make your blog shine
A photo will grab a reader’s attention right away. If the right photo is chosen it should effectively deliver the message of the blog. The main photo you use will set the tone of your blog. The image must either create curiosity, invoke an emotion or explain a point. If your image does not do this, then the image is going to negatively impact on your post. When you choose an image for your blog, make sure it has a purpose and it’s not there just because it looks pretty.
Using images correctly will boost your SEO results
Images have several attributes associated with them which are actually intended to help blind and visually impaired people. Screen readers will read, these attributes out loud to help the user understand what the image is about. There are two attributes or “tags” that you need to pay special attention to. The “alt” tag (short for alternative text) and the “title” tag are not only used by screen readers for the visually impaired, but also by Google and other search engines to help them better understand what your article or blog post is about, by looking at the keywords contained within these tags. Make sure you take the time to write a meaningful description in these tags when adding images or photos to your blog post. Typically 3-10 words (including your keywords) is sufficient.
Image Naming Conventions
Another important factor which is often overlooked, is the actual name of the image file. You want to make sure the name of your image file also includes keywords that describe the image and how it relates to your blog post. For example: if you’re writing a blog post about the hotels you stayed at while travelling through Greece and you want to include an image of one of the hotels, make sure you name the image something like “The Athens Gate Hotel.jpg” instead of just “image1.jpg.
Google will read this and automatically know that this picture is about a hotel in Greece which will add weight to your post in the search engine results when people are searching for hotel reviews in Greece.
The web is about making useful information accessible. If a search engine can’t work out what your website or blog is about… it will pass you over.
Why Can’t I just grab images from Google Images?
It is against the law to download an image off the internet as all images from the time they are created, whether it’s a photo or an image is automatically protected by copyright. When you do a search through Google for ‘free images’ all these images most likely are royalty free or rights managed. If you copy an image illegally you may be charged with copyright. This may result in monetary damages and even a lawsuit that could lead to criminal charges.
Why Royalty Free is not free!
An image that is royalty free still requires you to pay a small licence fee. Once you have paid this licence fee you get nearly unlimited use of the image. This means you can use the image for nearly any application and for any length of time you require. Once you have purchased the licence you are free to use the image.
Images that are rights-managed will most likely have restrictions placed on them as well as limitations as to how long you can use the image, where you use it and maybe even based on industry.
If you do decide to purchase a royalty free or rights-managed image make sure you read the licencing agreement properly and always keep a copy of your receipt.
Why Risk it when you can get great stock photos for free
There are a number of sites that you can now obtain free stock photos legally without any cost. Below are a few of our favorites. These sites have an extensive range of photos for different categories, easy to download and most importantly free.
PhotoPin – Ideal for Bloggers
PhotoPin is a great sight for bloggers. PhotoPin have a great range of free photos that are ideal for your next blog. Be aware though that at the top of each search the images displayed are not free. if they have a ‘sponsored’ banner on them you need to pay for those images. However there are a lot of free images to choose from that are easy to search and find.
Pixabay – Great variety of images, excellent search function and easy to use
Pixabay has over 660,000 free stock photos, vectors and art illustrations that you can download for free. All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CCO. You are permitted to download, modify, distribute them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. This site allows you to search by category, size, orientation, transparency and colour. Just simply click on the picture you like and on the next page click on the download button. Too easy!
FREEIMAGES – High quality images, 26 categories and great search function
FREEIMAGES has over 388,000 free images to choose from in 26 categories. You can either use their search function or click on the category in the menu. Most of their images are of high quality and can be used for your website.
FREEIMAGES also have a premium photos that you will have to pay for so make sure you select the right link.
Unsplash – Great images for website banners
All photos published on Unsplash can be copied, modified, distributed and used for commercial purposes. The photos on this website are best used for a website for banners etc. You can download them and then crop them to any size you require. Check back regularly as every ten days Unsplash add 10 new photos.
Using your own photos
When writing blogs for travel using your own photos is an awesome thing to do – it makes the story your telling completely unique to you and your experience. By using your own photos you know that you are not breaking any laws and they will tell YOUR story. Make sure when using your own photos that they are clear, good quality photos. If your photo has people in it, make sure you get their permission to use that photo as they may not want to be splashed all over the web.
So what are you waiting for? Go and grab some totally free stock photos and images and make your blog shine like a pro!
Where do you get your free stock photos and images for your blog? Leave a comment below and let us (and everyone else) know!