If you’ve ever tried content writing or web designing, you probably know by now that you can’t just take pictures from other websites or from Google Images and use them for your articles or banners without the author’s permission. There are copyright and infringement implications and I’d suggest to avoid such actions as much as possible. You don’t wan’t to end up like this guy who had to shell out $37,000 in legal fees and settlement for using an image he found in Google for his online store.
Some authors allow you to use their work however, as long as you credit them or provide attribution in one way or another. That’s why it is important to always read their terms first.
Does this mean we’re doomed to create our own images or take our own photos with our 5MP mobile phones? Well fortunately no! Luckily for us who don’t have access to a good camera or Photoshop skills, there are sites that offer non-copyrighted images that require no attribution. Which means that you can download and use the images for personal and commercial use without getting into trouble and without attributing the original author or source. It is important to note that even with such freedom, you are still bound to some conditions like claiming the picture as your own is not allowed. Below is my list of best image sites that offer attribution-free images which you can modify and use.
Pixabay has a wide collection of images that cover different categories. From beautiful high-res stock photos to vector-drawn images, the list goes on. I personally use some of the images here, mostly for thumbnail purposes. However, you still need to comply to some of their terms like how it’s not allowed to show the person/s in the image in a disgraceful light. In other words, don’t insult or talk trash of whoever is in the photo.
You can read some of their terms here.
When I was just starting out with my blog and until now, Pexels has been my go-to place for high-res stock images. I just love their collection because I always find what I’m looking for. Since it’s released in the same license as Pixabay, most of the same terms apply. Again, don’t put the characters in a bad light! I can’t stress that enough.
Read their license page here.
Another gold mine of amazing stock photos for your project or site. Unsplash is very popular to content writers and bloggers that you’ve probably already seen one their images being used in an article or blog somewhere. I haven’t downloaded any images from Unsplash yet because I already get my photos from a different source but I may in the future after looking at their huge library. There has been some chatter about their new license though so be sure to check that out.
Unlike the first three sites I mentioned where all the pictures and images come from different authors, PicJumbo only has one author who took all the photos… by himself! What’s even more amazing is that they are all equally beautiful. His name is Viktor Hanacek and based from his story, his work was rejected from different stock sites due to lack of quality so he decided to create his own. Now his collection has been downloaded over millions of times since the site was launched. Talk about a fairy tale ending.
Remember Microsoft Word 2003 where you could insert those funny cliparts to your document to make it more appealing? Millennials might not be familiar with it but it was the hype back then. Clkr offers exactly that. The site is full of downloadable cliparts and vector images ranging in different categories. There are thousands of images and although most of them look cartoonish, you will always find something perfect for your content.
I just recently heard of this site but I’m glad I did. PublicDomainVectors, like Clikr, offers vector images which you can modify and use for commercial purposes. The images are well-designed and I like that you can also download some AI (Adobe Illustrator) source files from their collection which makes editing more convenient.