Images are everything online, something that savvy bloggers have known for some time.
But even if you’re new to blogging, I’m sure you’ve noticed that images and photos are all the rage right now, especially on social media. Remember that old adage, a picture says a thousand words? Images can convey instantly what may take half a page to explain.
There’s no doubt that using an eye-catching image in your blog posts and social media can grab attention, generate excitement and motivate readers to share your posts and status updates.
Images Are Key For Social Media
It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about Pinterest (my personal favorite), Facebook, or Twitter, visual marketing is one of the top trends for 2013. You just can’t afford to ignore the power of photos and images if you want to get your content retweeted, liked, and repinned.
For Pinterest in particular, images are essential. If you don’t include a photo with your blog posts, any time a visitor tries to share your content using either the Pin it button or Pinterest bookmarklet nothing will show up. This doesn’t make for very exciting pinning!
So, where can the budget-conscious blogger or business owner find engaging images without spending a ton of money? Carry on reading to find out my #4 favorite resources to get you started.
4 Places To Find Free Images And Photos
#1 PhotoPin.com (Quality Images)
Photo Pin is one of the best sites to find beautiful, high-quality, eye-catching photos.
All the images come under Creative Commons licensing, which allows you to use them on your blog as long as you attribute correctly.
It also has a user-friendly interface. Just pop your keyword into the search bar and wait for the images to load. You can preview an image and then download it directly to your desktop in a range of sizes – small, medium or large, and in some cases extra large.
To make things even easier, Photopin also provide you with the html code to help you give credit to the original creator of the image at the end of your post.
#2 Foter.com (WordPress Plugin For Free Images)
It works in a similar way to Photopin in that it lets you to download the photos in various sizes and add the attribution URL in a discreet style.
The key difference is that not only does it let you pin an image directly to Pinterest but Foter also has a nifty little feature that lets you add photos directly to your blog.
And if that doesn’t bowl you over, then they also offer a cool WordPress plugin that lets you do all this wizardry from within your dashboard.
Just click on the link on Foter to download the plugin (remember where you saved the zip file!) then sign into your WordPress dashboard and install it using the “add plugin” feature. Now, whenever you create a new post, the small Foter icon will appear to the right of the add media button.
In just a couple of clicks, and without even leaving WordPress you can scour Foter’s library of over 180 million photos and add a high quality image including a subtle attribution.
It doesn’t get much easier than this!
#3 Compfight (WordPress Plugin For Images)
Compfight is another cool site that makes finding Creative Commons-licensed photos for your blog and social media, and citing them a breeze.
The key difference is that this service searches from Flickr and displays all the photos that match your chosen search term.
Even though Compfight has been around for a while, I was only introduced to it recently by the marketer and blogger, Nathalie Lussier.
Like Foter, WordPress users can install the Compfight plug-in to search for Flickr images right from the “Add new post” screen.
I suggest you try them both when searching for images and go with the one you like best.
#4 Stock.XCHNG (Getty Images)
SXC has been around for years and is now owned by Getty Images.
It is largely made up of a community of photographers who share their work mainly free of charge for use as stock imagery or on the condition that you accredit the owner.
Be sure to check the licensing rules on the site though as there are varying permissions.
And watch out for the much higher quality iStockphoto thumbnails that get posted alongside the free stock.xchng results.
These do require payment so it’s best to avoid them if you are on a budget.
Now that you know where to source images legally and without charge, here’s one last thing to think about. Why not try editing them and giving them your own unique spin?
Taking Your Images To The Next Level
Original photography and images can certainly add value to your blog and make it appear more personal. But remember if they’re free stock images, then the chances are high that other people are using them too.
One of the best ways I’ve found to personalize your images is to use a free online editing tool like picmonkey.com.
By simply adding text, say your blog title, over the image as I’ve done or even creating an inspiring quote you can really lift an ordinary photo.
You’ll be amazed but this strategy can transform a simple blog post image and help it go viral on Facebook. Or produce a cool quote that gets repinned like crazy on Pinterest.
Try it and let me know how you get on!
What’s your favorite Free Images Source? Please share and leave a comment below!