FREE STOCK PHOTOS • The Best Sources & Must Know Terms
What to know to keep you out of trouble and find the best images for your website and content marketing.
The difference between commercial and editorial use images
Image use definitions that will keep you out of trouble
Where to find free images with no copyright
At some point in online business we all need to know…
Where can I get free images for my website?
If you’re starting out, spending frugally or being as minimalist as possible in your business, free stock images are going to be very useful. Even if you don’t use them for your website there are tons of image needs in social media and content marketing.
BEWARE! There’s a bit of a learning curve and fine art to picking stock photos…. Free or paid.
If you’re wondering…
"Can I use images from Google on my website?”
The answer is: NO. NO WAY.
Google is a search engine and will show you mostly things that are the intellectual property of others. My motto is if you play with fire, you will get burned. So let’s just do it right the first time and save a legal hassle later.
When looking up free images to use it’s important to review licensing rules on every site.
While photos may be free, sometimes giving credit to the source or photographer required.
Descriptions of terms and types of images you will find online.
Creative Commons copyright licenses and tools forge a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates. Their tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work.
There are different kinds of licenses within this term so read more carefully. You’ll likely need to give credit unless the license is: CC0 (meaning Creative Commons Zero – No Rights Reserved)
Means you will need to give credit to the author on or under the image when using it.
Royalty free means that you will not have to pay royalties or license fees to use this image.
Purchased – Not free. You purchase a license and right to use the image as dictated by the license. Check to make sure you are allowed to use it on the web, and commercially.
Any image created in the United States before 1923 is part of the public domain. You can use these images in however you like.
You will need to give your information to the site to become a member in order to use their images. Most of these are paid as well but not all.
Used for your personal needs. Not distributed in the public. Example: Printing an image for your vision board, baby shower invites, kids project, or saving as your screensaver. This doesn’t include sharing to your social media feeds, or Pinterest boards, although that can become a very grey and messy area. If someone claims to be the owner of an image and asks you to remove it, best just to do so.
Use of intellectual property that directly or indirectly is in connection with any business, or any undertaking intended for profit.
Can only be used to illustrate news or for education. In magazines, newspapers, textbooks, documentaries, or website posts. They can’t be used advertise or promote with. You also can’t edit them excessively except some cropping and small lighting adjustments. You can run into Editorial only images in paid and free sources.
If using them you must include a proper caption below that includes the location, date and description of scene or companies & celebrity involved if there is any.
Don’t limit yourself to one resource whether it’s free or paid.
Check and read license rights, follow them, and you’ll do just fine! But you still need to know: “Where can I find free images to use?
Here’s a list of some of the best free stock photo sites.
All of these are CC0 or Public Domain at the time of this article. Always check for yourself! Things can change.
There are many other free images for website and marketing needs out there and google can lead you right to them.
The hard part is reigning in your options and creating a cohesive and professional look when choosing your imagery.
I’M MONICA FAWN ORTO
I care deeply about your daily life satisfaction, health & happiness while you’re chasing your big dreams.
I give solo entrepreneurs that are stuck in start up mode simple step-by-step trainings that maximize their time & effort so they can make more money while living healthy, peaceful & passionate lives.