The only problem is, you’re just starting out in your writing career and now you need stock photos. You don’t have money to spend. You’re not a photographer. Or maybe you are, but you don’t have time to run out and get a photo for every topic you’re writing. So what do you do?
This was a recent problem in the Facebook group, Earn Your First $1,000 as a Freelancer, I belong to. And one I’m sure plagues many new starting out writers.
But with a group of over 1,700 members, plenty of helpful responses came through. I decided to compile their answers into an easy to read list for all of those who are seeking free stock photography, commercial use allowed for their articles. And included a few basic manners for using free stock photos or photos of any kind.
Manners for Using Other’s Photos
- Always give credit to the photographer. Even if the listed photo is completely free in the creative commons public domain, if the photographer is listed, you should give credit. After all, you wouldn’t want anyone using your work without giving credit. This also works in the event, the photo may have been incorrectly listed as free without credit, and can help keep you out of trouble because you gave credit.
- If you can, provide a link back to the photographer. It’s about helping out others who have helped you. Call it karma. If you do good, good comes back to you. Plus, it might even gain you some traffic from the photographer who visits your article and decided to share it.
- Always check to see if the photographer gives you rights to use for any purpose and the rights to change the photo as you want. Some photographers only allow you rights to use the photo as is for personal services, while others allow commercial use and the rights to edit the image.
- In the majority of cases, you cannot sell the photos. Free photos are exactly that, FREE. So if you are including them with a package to your client, you cannot sell the photos. Only your writing is sellable!
This list is just a sample of the many sites providing free stock photos. A quick Google search can provide you with hundreds of more. Please feel free to share your favorite place in the comments.
Places to Find Free Stock Photos
I did not include Google search because quite often photos listed there are not free to use. If you are using Google search, please make sure you check out the sharing details closely before using or you could end up in deep shit with a photographer over copyright issues.
The information shared in this list was correct at time of writing. Since things change rapidly on the Internet, do make sure you check the sharing rules on the sites themselves before using any photographs.
An excellent source for high-quality free stock photos. No attribution needed.
Millions of great creative common photos available, although you have to filter through a mixture of paid ones from Shutterstock, attribution required, editing allowed, free for commercial use and those with free non-commercial use.
All the photos on Pexels are offered with a completely free to use and edit for any purpose. No permission or no links needed. The only request is that you not use their photos in an offensive way, such as for porn, hate crimes, etc.
Many photographers on Flickr offer up their photos for free use. Just make sure you pay attention to the creative commons uses allowed by the photographer. Using the Flickr filters is the best way to narrow your search to free commercial use photos. Many photographers on Flickr require credit and a link back to their photo.
Over 700,000 free stock photos, vector images and art illustrations, which you can use for anything you like.
A good place to find decent stock photos that you are allowed to use for free. They even allow the selling of the photos if you edit them and make them your own. If not, you will need to provide links and credits to the owners.
Offers over 600 free stock images of excellent quality to use as you please and the option to sign up for their Premium service for paid photos.
A collection of photos by a young guy named Nic, who died in 2013. His photos are free to use as you please, but you can donate to a fundraiser for Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (S.A.D.S.) opened in his memory, if you choose.
A collection of photos taken by Ryan McGuire, offered completely free to use and edit as you see fit.
A nice collection of stock photos with creative commons zero policy and attribution required offered.
Offers hundreds of high-quality photos for free use, on one condition, you are not allowed to sell the photos.
Hundreds of free to use and edit stock photos with a commonly free creative commons license commercial use allowed.
An excellent source for beautiful free to use for commercial purposes or any way you choose stock photos, including people, and graphics. You do have to signup but that is a small price to pay for access to good free stock photos. There is also an option to sign up for a premium service.