Publishing a business blog can score some serious benefits for your organisation. However, one of the biggest challenges is finding quality images, not only for your blog but also for the email and social-media updates that drive traffic to your new posts.
As well as attracting high-quality search traffic and generating leads, a blog will bring much, much more. It will also help you to:
- Educate your audience about your products and services
- Overcome resistance and address objections
- Establish your credibility as a ‘thought leader’ or industry resource
- Build trust and authority
- Provide a supply of original content for social media
- Build stronger relationships with customers
However, there are a few challenges to consider. The first and most obvious is resources. Someone will need to take ownership, come up with new ideas for posts, concoct a content calendar, write the posts, get them proofed and approved, and find suitable images to accompany and promote each post.
According to our students, it isn’t ideas for content or even writing the posts that causes the biggest headaches. No, it’s that last one - finding relevant, compelling images.
Of course there’s no shortage of image libraries out there packed with thousands of wonderful photos and illustrations to choose from. But they cost. And some cost big. So while it might be tempting get around this with a quick Google to see what comes up, you can’t breach copyright by helping yourself to other folk’s stuff. So what are the alternatives?
Short of grabbing a few shots on your phone, there are a few places to trawl for free images. Here’s a quick run down of some of the options. You'll probably find there’s some bilge to wade through, but you never know, you might unearth a few free gems…
That said, some free photos may require attribution, or may only be free for personal use, so it's important to always read each image's licencing details before using it.
Creative Commons Search
We've already mentioned copyright and grabbing someone else's images for nothing. Well, turns out some folk are happy for you to do this, and they let the world know there's no copyright by tagging their images 'creative commons'.
There's a couple of places to search for 'creative commons' images, including Google image search:
- Go to Google Advanced Image Search.
- Complete the 'Find images with' form.
- At the bottom of the page in the usage rights box, select free to use or share, even commercially.
- Click Advanced Search and a whole heap of images will appear in the results.
You can now save an image:
- Click the image you want to save. A larger version is displayed along with a few options.
- Right-click the image followed by Save Image As.
There are other places to search by adding 'creative commons' to your search terms, but remember to check for any specific licence restrictions. Other options include:
While we're mining this particular vein of potential gold, there are sites with nothing but creative commons images.
For more general information on the subject, along with other possible sources, take a look at Creative Commons Australia.
12 Free Image Sites
There are other sites to trawl that have nothing but free images on offer. Again, don't forget to check out whether there's any attribution requirements.
- Pixabay - over 1.4 million loyalty-free images and video
- Unsplash - more free images to forage through
- Free Images - the name says it all
- Pexels - free stock images
- Life of Pix - a smaller collection of free high-quality images
- Kaboompics - another smaller collection, but the quality is high
- Move East - simple site without any attribution requirements
- Picjumbo - sign up for free membership and free images
- Splitshire - small collection that's regularly updated
- MMT - a couple of hundred images that require no attribution
- Magdeleine - eight categories of free images
- Gratisography - specialising in 'quirky' photography
If you're still stuck after looking through that lot, then you're probably going to have to pay.
Not So Free OptionsAs you'd expect, there's heaps of image libraries to help you here - the cost of an image varies greatly depending on the individual library, along with the size of the image and how you intend to use it.
Alternatively, you can save yourself a whole heap of time and get exactly what you want by commissioning a photographer. This approach may work out a lot more cost effective than you might think. Slightly ironically in a post about where to find free images, the photos on this page were provided by Melbourne photographer Heather Dixon.