The 5 Best Websites for Royalty Free Images

The importance of imagery

A website can be quite a boring place if you don’t include some visuals to spice it up and keep users engaged. You could be writing the best content around, but if your visitors may have short attention spans they may not be reaching the end. Using photos to break up your text is a great way to give your potential customer a breather and provide the best experience possible.

Not only do images help the reader assimilate your content they’re also liked by Google. Mark them up with a relevant “Alt Tag” to ensure Google’s bots can see the imagery and you’ll be sure to get a thumbs up from Google who sees you producing good quality readable content.

Why pay when you can go free?

Photos can be very expensive assets if you go through the likes of Shutterstock, iStock or Getty; costing upward of £7 per image. The good news is that there are plenty of websites and more importantly photographers who are happy to give away their art for free.

We’ve shortlisted a handful that we think are great:

1) Pexels

All photos on Pexel are categorised under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license which means it’s the go-to place if you want to be 100% certain you aren’t going to breach any pesky copyright laws. The site has an excellent site search function that allows you to find exactly what you’re looking for with just a few clicks. You can also download photos in customer dimensions so they fit your blog without manipulation

2) Unsplash

The best thing about Unsplash is that the catalogue is helpfully sorted into various folders including:

  • Computer
  • Nature
  • Health
  • Office
  • Happy
  • Reflections
  • Earth Tones
  • Frozen In Time

Along side the great cataloguing the photos are high resolution and the requirements to have an image featured are high.

3) Gratisography

Gratisography has carved out it’s own unique niche by focusing on weird and wonderful photos. If you’re looking for a straight-laced stock photo then move along; but if you’re looking to find a cow wearing shoes, highly stylised urban shots or a kid dressed like a traditional Mexican wrestler then this is the place for you.

4) SplitShire

SplitShire does a great job of curating stunning photos with an artistic edge. Whilst some of the other sites on this list have photos that will blend into the more traditional website, SplitShire provides a wealth of images that are striking and make a statement. They sort their photos into helpful categories and also have an increasing number of free videos.

5) StockSnap.io

If you’re looking for a wide selection of photos that will suit almost any blog post you find yourself writing, then StockSnap.io is a great place to start. The site has one of the most diverse collections and is helpfully categorised for your browsing ease.

Others to consider:

  • com
  • Negative Space
  • Little Visuals
  • picjumbo
  • org
  • jay mantri
  • Picography

Things to remember

Before using an image on your website always check what/if any attribution is required. Some photographers/websites will simply let you use the image for commercial purposes and other request a shout-out in the form of a link back to the source.

So be sure to follow these rules otherwise you could be lumped with a firmly worded letter asking you to take the photo down.

What next?

Why are you still here? Go explore these treasure-troves of visual delights and start hosting beautiful (and helpful) blogs to inspire and engage your audience.

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