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Where to Find Free Online Images for Commercial Projects

Did you know that when we’re presented with new information, we’re 65% more likely to remember it 3 days later if it’s presented with an image?

Where do you go to find great photos? Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Content presented with visuals doesn’t just make remembering info easier. Pairing words with a relevant picture makes it significantly more likely to get viewed in the first place.

According to this study of over 400,000 random Tweets by then-Hubspot social media scientist Dan Zarrella, “tweets with images are 94% more likely to be retweeted than tweets without.”

Adding an image made it NINETY-FOUR percent more likely to get engagement??

What?! 94%? No… waaayyyyy…!! Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

So, um, yeah. We all need to have a bunch of great images to make all kinds of content (blog posts, social media, presentations, websites, newsletters) more engaging and memorable.

But, where can you find great images to use — without breaking the bank? That’s what we’re going to get into in this post.

Actually, before we jump into the fun world of images, a word of caution:

Remember to attribute photos!

Be sure to check the Creative Commons License of each photo you use — and give photo credit to the photographer. Like this: Photo by Umberto on Unsplash

Most of the sites listed here are free to use, but each one has a slightly different User Agreement. You do NOT want to get busted for copyright infringement, so be sure to use each site as per their Terms of Use. The bulleted list below links directly to how you can use the pics on each site.

(And… above and beyond the legal reasons… these photographers are nice enough to lend us their creative work for free. The least we can do is give them the credit/linkback or whatever they request.)

Top 10 Sites for Free Online Images

Unsplash

Unsplash is ALWAYS my first stop when looking for amazing stock photos. You can find some really high-end photos of all kinds here. (If you go there and start searching, you’ll probably recognize some pics — I’ve used many on this blog!)

Resting on Lake Lucerne by Aaron Andrew Ang on Unsplash

Pexels

Pexels has great photos and videos to help designers, bloggers and business people looking for visuals to use everywhere — for free! I mean, look at the pic below; it’s practically Groundwork!

Coworking Office Space from Pexels

Stockvault

Yes, they have some wonderful quality royalty-free stock photos. But Stockvault also has vectors, textures, and illustrations! What I like most is they have these FAB curated collections and categories, making finding good pics super easy.

Stockvault has lots of interesting illustrations and photos

Pixabay

The community of contributors at Pixabay has created over 1.6 MILLION high-quality stock images and videos – and counting! There are all kinds of photos; some aren’t the best, but the good ones are really good!! Crediting isn’t required, but linking back is greatly appreciated and allows image authors to gain exposure. 

Groomsmen Gumdrop Stripes by SnapwireSnaps from Pixabay 

Life of Pix

Free high-resolution photos, no copyrights restrictions for personal and commercial use. New photographs added every week and all images are donated to the public domain. However! You can only distribute/repost a maximum of 10 images without the written Life of Pix consent. (So, you can use them for your own projects, but if you’re going to mass distribute, do only 10. Read the fine print here.)

Fairytale (Type) Writer from Life of Pix

Snapwire Snaps

Snapwire is a (rather pricey) site that connects brands with a pool of 200,000 pro photographers, who work on commission. But! To promote their site, they offer “Snapwire Snaps” which is a collection that posts “7 free beautiful photos every 7 days” — to use for free! Subscribe to their email at the top of their Tumblr page to get new pics each week. And be sure to check out Snapwire Snap’s page on Pixabay for some great images.

Rainbow Umbrellas from Snapwire Snaps

Free Nature Stock

Royalty-free nature stock photos and videos, all taken by one photographer, Adrian Pelletier. He has many of the usual nature shots, and you have to check out his sweet time-lapse & landscape astrophotography.

Startup Stock Photos

Specifically curated for business, tech and startups, this site may be hit or miss with quality, but the hits are great. And all the misses are made up for by the fact that ALL pics are what you’re looking for: business.

Board (Not Bored!) Brainstorming from Startup Stock Photos

Dreamstime

Not all Dreamstime offerings are free (and not all of it is good! So it can take a little extra time to search). But they do have an extensive collection of free stock images, which you can start searching for here in their Free Photos section.

Colors of Possibility from Dreamstime

FreeImages.com

Make sure you check for their Free Photos section – coz not everything is free. And despite their name, FreeImages.com actually has stricter requirements with their licensing than other sites. So make sure you check each image before you use it.

Dude Looks Like a Ladybug from Free Images

Et, voila…!! Ten awesome sites to help you find photos. (Now remember: give credit where credit is due!)

Happy image hunting! Hope this list helps you find TONS of amazing, free stock images.

Noi Sabal

Chief Executive Ninja at Bloggin' Ninja
The daughter of a New York City ad man, Noi grew up breathing marketing. From her first job laying out newspaper ads, through her career as an editor in TV and commercials, and ultimately to national viral marketing campaigns, Noi has spent her life brainstorming creative ideas and helping companies sell their brands. Now she’s bottling her creativity and putting it into Bloggin’ Ninja, an online platform that helps small businesses develop, optimize and organize amazing content for digital marketing.
Noi Sabal