12 Places to Find Free Images for Your Website and Social Media

Increase Traffic and Profits with Great Free Images

Free Beach Graphic
••• PublicDomainPictures | Pixabay

There was a time you could get away with providing text-only content on your website. Today, pictures are not only worth a thousand words, they can also increase traffic and income. Graphics attract readers and add appeal to your website and social media posts. The problem is getting high quality photos at an affordable price.

One option is to take your own photos or create your own graphics, but that is time consuming and requires you know something about photography and graphic design. Fortunately, many free and affordable image resources are available.

Here are 12 resources for finding images that you can use on your blog or other resources.

Read Terms of Use!

For each photo or image you want to use, read the license and terms of use carefully. Many sites have standard terms, but some sites allow the owners of the graphics to set the terms. To avoid getting in legal trouble for misuse of the photo, be sure to read all the terms of use carefully.

1) Bing Image Search

Bing is a search engine, and like Google, you can use it to search images. The problem with using a search engine to find images is locating those that you can use without copyright infringement. Bing helps with this by allowing you to filter for images that are free to use. Use your image keyword to search Bing, select Images from the top menu of your results. Then click on Filter in the right corner to get the menu where you can select image size and other attributes including License (appears under the image menu). Select the License option and you'll get a drop down menu where you can choose from several free options.

If you're using the image for your business, choose one that allows for commercial use. Be sure to research the terms of use for the image. You'll notice a "i" on the lower right of the photos you pick that will provide you with links to copyright information. 

2) Canva

Canva not only offers free and paid graphics, but also, an online editing service so you can create blog and social media graphics, book covers, printable materials such as business cards and brochures, and more. If you don't like Canva's graphic options, you can upload your own. 

If you can't find a free graphic you like, Canva has many more graphics for $1 which is affordable compared to other non-free photo and image sites.

Canva's Design School has a list of 74 other free stock photo sites to help you find the right photo.

3) Dreamstime.com

Dreamstime offers over 26 million free and paid photos. You need to create an account before using photos, but registration is free. Note that they have limited number of free images, but it does offer a free trial for it's paid option if you'd like to have more image options.

Read all terms and conditions for using free and paid photos.

4) Flickr.com

Flickr.com started as a digital source to store photos, but many photographers have made their photos available for free under a creative commons license.

You need to read the terms of use for each photo as the owners will have varying requirements or restrictions. For example, some cannot be used for commercial purposes. Many photos will ask for attribution, whereby you provide information about the photo’s owner. On occasion, the owner also asks that you let him/her know where you’ve used the photo.

You can visit Flickr’s creative common information page for details and photos.

5) FreeDigitalPhotos.net

FreeDigitalPhotos.net offers free and paid photos for personal and business purposes. If you use free photos, you’ll need to provide attribution to the photo’s owner. 

6) FreeImages.com

FreeImages.com was created as an alternative to more expensive stock photo sites. You’ll find over 350,000 photos in many categories that you can use on your website, book covers and more.

Be sure to read the terms of service carefully, as there are restrictions as to how and where you can use graphics, and in some cases you need to ask the photograph’s owner for permission to use the image. 

7) FreeMediaGoo.com

FreeMediaGoo.com offers free photos, including backgrounds and textures that you can use for personal or commercial purposes. There aren’t as many photos as on other sites, but there aren’t any hoops to jump through or extensive restrictions to use them either.

8) FreeRangeStock.com

FreeRangeStock.com provides many photos for free that don't require attribution. It uses ad revenue to support the site and it’s photographers. You need to become a member to use photos, but registration is free.

9) Pexels

Lots of royalty-free images licensed under creative commons that can be used without attribution for commercial purposes.

10) Pixabay.com

Pixabay.com is a popular free image site offering royalty-free images, vectors and art illustrations that don’t require attribution for your personal or commercial digital content (i.e. websites) or print items. There are over 250,000 photos is a variety of categories. There are a few limitations and restrictions, so read the terms of service carefully.

11) Unsplash.com

Unsplash.com offers free-to-use creative commons graphics that you can copy, modify and distribute for personal or commercial purposes. Permission and attribution are not required.

At one time, the site had limited photos that weren't organized or searchable. Today, they offer a greater number of photos that are organized by category or you can use the search box.

12) WikimediaCommons

WikimediaCommons has over 23 million photos you can use submitted by photographers all over the world. They are offered under a creative commons license, but be sure to read each photo’s requirements before using. Like Flickr, each photo will have its own rules for use.

Most of these resources allow you to manipulate photos such as resizing or adding text, but again read the terms of use before modifying images.

Modifying Or Editing Photos and Images

Read the terms of use for each image you obtain through these sites before modifying or editing. Some may have restrictions to how can use or change the graphic.

If you are allowed to modify or edit the image, there are a variety of free image editors you can use. You download a free image editing software, such as GIMP,  which is similar to Photoshop, to make changes to your photos to use on your website. Another option is Canva which includes a variety of free and paid templates you can use depending on your needs.