Images are worth a thousand words. People communicate a whole lot more with the look of an eye, than by just, you know – talking. You know you’ve made ‘the Mrs’ or ‘your lady’ angry when they’re ‘not talking’. Now that I have your attention, let me tell you why images are really important in any blog post/article.
- Images grab the reader’s attention (momentarily at least).
- The reader can immediately relate to your subject of content when they see a relevant image. For example, when I’m writing an article on recovering a lost WordPress password, an image with a lock and binary digits, tells me that I’m reading an article on computers (because of the 0s and 1s) and passwords (because of the lock). That’s the science behind using images – but I’m sure most of us know that.
In today’s article, I’m going to enlist some of the best online sites where you can get free royalty-free stock images and awesome free icons. I’m also going to share a trick I’ve been using for the past year on how to get premium royalty-free stock images for free. Let’s start off with the sites where you can get great, free royalty-free images. It is important to know that, all the following websites allow you to use their images for any personal or commercial project which are on the web. But if you’re looking to use it in a physical printed form – say on coffee mugs, or TV or advertisement boards, you’ll need a license for that.
stock.xchange is the word’s premier free stock photo website with over 400,000 high resolution photos. I download most of my images from here.
FreeDigitalPhotos offers you free stock images, but only for the small resolution ones – which is good enough for a ‘small’ featured image and in-article photos for most blog posts.
StockVault has a beautiful UI which makes downloading and sharing the stock images, a breeze. Although it has 40,000 free images, it certainly looks promising.
Also known as Conceptual Collections, this site archives a limited number of free images, but good/useful images nonetheless. Its got 6 broad categories – Business, City, Computers, Environment, Industrial, Office.
Sunipix is a great free stock-photo website with neatly categorized images.
Photogen is a similar free stock photo website with a rather large category of stock photos.
OpenPhoto offers a variety of images, which are however watermarked with their respective copyright holders. If you intend to use them as a featured image, you could crop out the watermark, and then mention the image link at the bottom of your article.
Launched in 1999, FreeStockPhotos is the mother of all free stock photos websites. The good thing about FreeStockPhotos is that they have a large number of links to other popular stock photo websites.
Crazy as the name sounds, morgueFile is an excellent resource for free stock images with plenty of awesome pictures to feed your hunger.
Pixabay is another great resource where you can get high quality images in a variety of hi-res sizes to use as you please.
Icons – say more with less
With the recent launch of iOS 7 beta, and the not-so-recent Windows 8, flat icons saw a huge rise. I for one, am a big fan of flat icons mainly because they look neat, minimalistic and are really really small in size. You could just Google “free icons sets,” or you could take advantage of the following useful free icon websites:
IconFinder for creating a fantastic page with a lot of free icon packs from various design companies.
Find Icons is home to loads of free icons and icon sets, just be aware that the icons in the lower section of your results are premium.
DryIcons is a wonderful resource if you need a complete set of coordinated icons.
With almost half a million icons to choose from, Icon Archive is sure to have what you’re looking for.
Iconspedia is another great icons resource with something for everyone.
Iconmonstr is home to thousands of free black and white icons in various sizes completely for free.
Icons DB has lots of great icons, and you can even search by color palette to find what you’re looking for.
Lastly, you could always have a look at PSDExplorer where we share lots of free psd resources from around the web.
How to get premium royalty-free stock photos for free
I’m a big fan of ShutterStock – one of the world’s largest royalty-free stock photo companies. But all their images come with a price. What some folks miss out, is that a lot of these stock photo companies release a weekly freebie via their newsletter. You get to download the full resolution image which if you were to buy would have costed you around 25 USD. I highly recommend checking out the weekly freebie blog and signing up for the newsletter of reputed stock photo companies like ShutterStock, iStockPhoto, and a new ones like Creative Market.
CompFight – The WordPress Plugin for Image Fanatics
CompFight is essentially a Flickr search engine. Its WordPress plugin searches for images from Flickr, right from the WordPress editor and inserts them in your post with the proper license information. Check out this example to see how awesome it is!
With the recent WordPress 3.6 upgrade, image manipulation has become a cakewalk. Kyla shows us how easy it is to edit images in WordPress 3.6. I wanted to discuss the importance of image formats, image sizes and its optimization. But it looks like I’m in luck! Tom recently wrote an article on WordPress Image Optimization discussing these very factors. I highly recommend giving it good read.
Well folks, that’s it for today! If you have any suggestions on free stock photo websites – we’d love to hear them. Paint ’em red Leo!