Whether it’s on your website, on social media or digital advertisements, in a presentation or in other promotional materials — big, beautiful images are incredibly effective in capturing your audience’s attention. But producing or finding the perfect image online can be a challenge, in particular for those who are working on a tight budget. Here are 6 great sources of free imagery to use on your website or in your digital campaign.
A note on licensing
Part of finding that perfect image should include considering how that image is licenced, and the impact this has on how you can use it.
When a photographer takes an image, they automatically own the copyright to that image, regardless of if that photographer was commissioned and paid by a client to take it. Photographers can licence others to use their work for their own purposes.
Sometimes this license comes in the form of a paid agreement, where a client pays a photographer for the rights to use their image. Other times, the photographer can licence their work under a Creative Commons licence, which means that others can use their work for free as long as they adhere to certain rules. For example, depending on the type of Creative Commons licence a photographer chooses, the end-user may only be permitted to use a photo for non-commercial purposes, or may require the end-user to provide attribution to the photographer. You can learn more about the different variations on Creative Commons licensing here.
One type of Creative Commons licensing called Creative Commons Zero (or CC0 for short), means that the photographer has dedicated their work to the public domain and has waived all their rights to the image worldwide. This means that you are free to copy, modify, and distribute the image, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission or needing to provide attribution to the photographer. Images licensed this way are ideal for use on your website or in other promotional materials, as you can use them any way you want to.
Most of the free stock imagery sources listed here offer imagery that has been licensed under CC0, but we recommend that you do your own research to confirm how these images can be used.
Without further ado, here are 6 great sources of free imagery to use on your website or in your digital campaign:
Pexels provides high quality and completely free stock photos licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. All photos are tagged, searchable and easy to discover through their discover pages.
Unsplash offers over 200,000 free “do whatever you want” high-resolution photos brought to you by the world’s most generous community of photographers.
Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free photos, vectors, art illustrations and videos. All content is released under Creative Commons CC0, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist.
Stocksnap curates and adds hundreds of beautiful high-resolution photos weekly from a pool of submissions, and features them on their site free for download. All photos uploaded on StockSnap are released for free under Creative Commons CC0 and do not require attribution.
Burst is a free stock photo site powered by Shopify. All the photos on Burst are offered under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, which means you’re able to use the photos for any purpose.
Negative Space offers beautiful, free high-resolution photos with no restrictions for personal or commercial projects.
Gramforacause connects nonprofits and social enterprises with a passionate, curated group of volunteer instagrammers to tell stories together through photography. Photography projects can range from an event, commissioned photo for website use, to an Instagram campaign. Simply submit a project request, and Gramforacause will handpick and match you with visual influencers to help tell your story.
What are your favourite sources of imagery for your website or campaign? Share them in the comments below.