Today, we predominantly live in a visual world where beautiful imagery and video are the essential tools in creating a stunning, highly performing website.
However, some websites still oblige with sticking to the same tired old images of business people in suites and shaking hands, sounds familiar right?! Well, not only are these stock photos dated, they also cost money to licence and, in some cases, can break copyright laws. Luckily, there are resources out there for digital marketers so they can continue to create compelling content and match them with attention-grabbing imagery it deserves.
Inside this article, our Cheshire web design agency will list 7 free websites that will help you improve your content marketing that will cater to all your personal and commercial needs. We will also introduce you to copyright laws and how to search for free images.
An introduction to copyright laws
Most of the images found on the websites listed on this article fall under the category of Creative Common. This means the images are free from copyright restrictions and/or licensed under creative commons public domain dedication. This means you can download, modify, distribute these images for your own work, even commercial purposes, without asking for permission.
Now, moving onto copyright laws. If you search for a branding logo and stick it on your website, you are breaching copyright laws. If you wish to use a client logo, contact the brand/customer directly and ask them to supply a client logo as not only will you have permission, you will also meet their brand guidelines.
Google Image Search
We use Google for pretty much everything, so you will know all about Google Images. However, did you know there is a way to find free images without breaking any copyright laws!?
Simply search for the image you need, then click on “Tools” then select “Usage Rights”, where you will be presented with a number of options such as;
- not filtered by licence
- labelled for reuse with modification
- labelled for reuse
- labelled for noncommercial reuse with modification
- labelled for noncommercial reuse
To source an image that doesn’t break any copyright laws, you will need to select either ‘labelled for reuse with modification’ or ‘labelled for reuse’. Both these options allow you to download the image and use for personal and commercial uses and amend them accordingly
With over 500 million photos shared on Flickr under a creative commons licence, there are certainly a lot of images to choose from. You can also filter your image search by image orientation, image size and even choose the dates they were uploaded for both image and video.
Much like Google, you can search for any image and filter by licence type. Professionally speaking as a Cheshire web design agency, the ability to capture free video is certainly worth exploring the next time you are looking for a website refresh.
Burst (By Shopify)
Burst is a free stock photo platform that is powered by Shopify. Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows businesses to create websites containing online stores and retail point of sale systems which is used by over 800,000 businesses.
The purpose of Burst is to help businesses with free image assets so they can create better products and marketing campaigns for their e-commerce websites. Most of the pictures are original photo’s that were taken by Burst contributors so are mainly business and product related, so are perfect for online retail businesses.
Pexels & Pixabay
Both Pexels and Pixaby provide free stock photos under their own Creative Common licences. This means the images are safe to use without asking for permission or giving any credit to the contributor so you can copy, modify and distribute the images for commercial and non-commercial purposes.
When sourcing images and videos, make sure you look out for sponsored images which are marked with the Shutterstock logo as you will need to purchase these images and will break copyright laws if you use them without purchasing or with the watermark still visible.
Stocksnap contributors upload hundreds of images on a daily basis, all under creative commons public licensing’s, no attribution is required.
Taking a slightly different approach, StockSnap filters images under categories which all seem fairly generic. If any of these images you need fall under these categories then great, but speaking from a personal experience, I found the search function disappointing. The majority were all Shutterstock sponsored images meaning I would have to pay, with a limited choice on the free images.
With access to over 850,000 free images – all under creative commons licence, Unsplash favours the powerful search bar approach where images are assigned by tags. Simply search for what you are looking for and download and use for commercial use.
When downloading any images, while you don’t have to credit the photographer, you can copy some text or embed a credit badge so the photographer can gain some exposure from the image being used on your website.
Cheshire Web Design Conclusion
From this blog I hope you take away two things, the first being the difference between creative common and breaking copyright law, and secondly there are a number of free fantastic resources of stock photography
If you know of any websites, please do let us know. For more articles on the art of growing your website, don’t forget to subscribe to our Web Grower newsletter.