If you want to make your website more visually appealing, you need to be adding images to your articles and posts.

Images help tell the story before a single word has been read, make the text more understandable by adding a visual reference and they’re worth a 1000 words – according to everyone I speak to anyway :)

So where do you get images from?

Without a doubt, you should always try to use your own images when it’s suitable.  A photo of you or what’s going on in relation to what you’re writing, screenshots from your computer if you’re writing a computer-based tutorial, or even simple diagrams and graphs is more personal and effective than a stock photo.

But you can’ possibly supply every single image, there’s too much out there to cover.

What really sucks is that most of the best images are protected by copyright, so you can’t use them.  But this is completely understandable if you took an awesome photo for use on your website alone and everyone copied it – you’d be verbally abusing your computer screen!

So you’ve got to find solid resources for images you can actually use freely.

This means public domain images, restricted use or royalty free. Public Domain can be used as you see fit really, but royalty-free or restricted use may carry certain limitations you’ll have to check at the source (when downloading) and may even have to leave attribution to the photographer.

This may be reason enough to go with a premium stock photo site so you can simply pay your tiny amount of cash and have free reign over the image you bought – understanding, though, that other people can buy and use the same image.

But enough blabbering on and boring talk (sorry guys!) let’s get down to business.

Below is an extensive list of photo sources, starting with my top 5.

Top 5 Places to Find Photos online

Below are my personal recommendations, where 99% of my images come from if I don’t have any of my own:

Shutterstock

Yep, the premium service is without a doubt the best source of images, that’s why it’s premium. Shutterstock does have an excellent selection of 40 million plus photos.

You can signup for a handful of images or one of their subscription services (if you use a lot of images, a subscription could be the best value) and then you’ve got a solid resource of professional images you can access at any time.

This is where you’ll find the highest quality images, and like all other premium stock photo sites, you can use the photos as much as you want without attribution.

Check out Shutterstock

Free Images.com (formerly sxc.hu)

If you don’t want to pay for stock photos, then freeimages.com is a great place to start looking.

The photos are 99% high resolution, all you need to do is sign up and you’ll have unlimited access to these images. Different images do have different licensing and restrictions and you may have to reference the photographer.

This place rocks, check it out.

Pexels

This website has a tonne of quality, non-stocky looking, images that are completely free.

The images there are high resolution, easy to download and I quite often get pictures there better than Shutterstock or other paid Stock Photo sites.

They also offer some royalty-free video footage! This place has it all :) Check out Pexels

Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr is a great source of images, but you can’t just use any image you find.  Instead, you can search through the Creative Commons.

When you arrive on the site, search for a photo in the top right corner.

Flickr Search

Once you see the results, click on the menu item ‘License’ above the results, and click ‘Creative Commons only’ (and ‘commercial use allowed’ if you plan on using the image commercially).

Choose the appropriate License on Flickr

Then click on the image and it will be displayed on the screen as below, then click the download symbol in the bottom right, click a size and you’ll have the image!

Download the Image!

That’s it! You’ve got your image :)

Just make sure you show attribution to the photographer with a link to his Flickr page somewhere – under your post is fine!

Google Image Search

Google, once again a terrific source but not all photos can be used. Just visit Google.com and click the images link at the top right, then search for your image.

Once your results show up, click ‘Search Tools’.  You can choose image size (resolution) and a few other options to filter the images, but you want to click on ‘usage rights’ and click the appropriate option.

Google Image Search

You can then save any image you want by clicking on the thumbnail, then ‘View image’ to see the raw image – then right click and ‘Save As’.

Premium Stock Photo Sites

There are countless premium stock photo websites out there, but there’s no point in signing up for several. It’s best to just pick one and stick with it, so here are the best choices out there:

  • Shutterstock (mentioned earlier)
    As I mentioned earlier, Shutterstock has possibly the best selection around, with several options from ‘per image’ to subscription based. Definitely worth checking out!
  • iStock
    iStock would be my second choice.  iStock also delivers top quality photos through as per credit system or via subscription.
  • Deposit Photos
    Another top choice for premium stock photography, once again both subscription and per image based pricing.
  • Can Stock Photo
    Another big stock photo site with a few good options – either pay by credit or subscribe!
  • Stock Photo Secrets
    A Stock Photo Subscription site which can be useful if you use a lot of images.

Free Stock Photo Sites

There are bucket loads of premium websites out there, but these days just as many free stock photo sites are popping up. These websites all have their own selection of free images well worth looking at if you’re willing to spend time but not money tracking down your image/s.

Some of these are collaborations, uploaded by hundreds or thousands of photographers, and a few are from a particular photographer. Either way, the websites below are a valuable source of free photography, just double check the license before using.

Also, we have Every Stock Photo – which searches a number of free stock photo sites all at once.

Free Stock Photos by Email

The following websites offer a selection of stock photos by email.  If you subscribe you’ll receive the images in your inbox!

Public Domain / Commons

These images are public domain, which means the copyright never existed or has since expired.  So check these websites out for free photos!

The list is always growing.

A simple Google search for “free stock photo site” will list more free photo sources than I ever could. But these websites listed will get you good results.

These websites make decorating your posts very easy, so check them out! I’m certain you’ll find a few which seem to cover all of your needs (like the top 4 at the beginning of this post).

If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below!  Otherwise, feel free to share this post below or subscribe for more useful tips!  Thanks for reading.