‘There’s a concept in my head… if only I had the right photo to illustrate it!’ How many times have you browsed through dozens of photos in search of that one killer photo? If you’re a web designer or a blogger, you most probably often search for images that resonate with your work.
There are plenty of stock photo sites out there, offering both general as well as specialty or niche stock photos. But there are other great online resources for stock photos (Flickr, for one, is a great example). Before using the resources listed in this post, take a minute to read this photo licensing guide. It will save you lots of time and trouble later on.
Creative Commons Licenses:
Many photos that are protected under a Creative Commons license can be used for free (or for a very low fee). However, using CC-licensed photos means that you have to credit the photographer. Flickr is an incredible place for finding CC-licensed photos: it has great selection and intuitive search options.
Royalty Free License (RF):
Royalty free has become the default license type for selling stock images. “Free” here means free from paying royalty: while you pay for the photo once, you can use it many times. However, if you’re planning large scale use it’s important you read the License Agreement prior to purchasing.
Rights Managed License (RM):
With a rights-managed (RM) license, reproduction rights are usually limited to a set period of time. A RM license typically contains a group of defined usage rights specifying size, media, and duration of the agreement. This license is more rigid than a Royalty Free agreement and you also need to be aware of when it may expire.
Royalty Free Extended License:
Some stock photo websites allow you to purchase an Extended or Enhanced license. And, as the name suggests, you get extended rights that usually include resale benefits (calendars, t-shirts, mugs, greeting cards, etc). Uses vary from site to site, so again, it’s a good idea to read the licensing agreement.
Here are a few great sources of inspiration and use for all you photo needs:
Special Niche Stock Photography Sites:
Members of this stock-image social network upload awesome and diverse art work.
History is cool! This is a great stock photo site specializing in historical photos. You can get some great ideas and styles here.
Check out Nasa’s image library, this non-profit digital library (a partnership between NASA and the Internet Archive,) brings public access to NASA’s image, video, and audio collections in a single, searchable resource.
Studio7 design has a small though beautiful nature based photo collection, for non-commercial use.
Category-based Stock Photography Sites:
All Flickr photos are protected under Creative Commons licenses.
On iStockphoto you can find royalty free stock photos, illustrations, audios and videos. iStock photos are not free, but many great quality images are available for as little as $1.
Photogen has a good collection of free images. You can also select multiple images and download in a ZIP file, so depending on your needs, it can save you lots of time.
FreePixel is not huge, which means you won’t get lost:) It’s easy to navigate through, and offers a nice selection of categories.
Woophy stands for WOrld Of PHotographY and was designed with the aim to create an accessible, visual, and collective database of images from everywhere on the globe. Want to see what that means? Visit Woophy and click on different locations on the Map.
As the name “FreeRange” states, all images are offered for free. Quality may range (pardon the pun), but you can definitely find some great photos, especially when it comes to scenery and objects. Worth checking out.
A morgue file is a term that has been used in journalism to describe any file that holds past issues. The website uses the term to describe its database of free images, available for use for personal or commercial use. The collection of images is pretty big and you can definitely find some awesome photos for any purpose.
Free Stock Photos has a huge collection of images, including many clip art illustrations. If you’re looking for a nice & simple illustrated frame to photoshop a message into, you can find it here.
Great collection, and high quality photos. When you pay a visit to DreamsTime, remember to click on their new Map tab, you can find amazing scenery photos there from around the world.
Members of FreePhotosBank can also give photos a rating. Top rated photos make it to the Hot List. Great when you’re not sure what you’re looking for, and you just want to browse through high quality photos.
Alamy offers some stunning photos. The site claims to have 15,000 new photos added daily, an impressive number that assures we won’t get bored. When you’re there, don’t forget to visit “Wonders of the World” category and indulge your eyes in beautifully constructed photography.