Use Free Stock Photos & Graphics For Your Blog

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This is step 9 (out of 14) in a “how to start a blog” content series. See all steps here.
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If you want your blog to be successful, you need it to stand out from the crowd. Most niches that are profitable are competitive.

If you want to stack the odds in your favor, you need to make sure your blog isn't forgettable just like all the other blogs in your niche.

The easiest and the fastest way to do this is with the design of your blog. If your blog's design stands out in your niche, your blog will stand out and will be easy to remember for your readers.

Although the theme that you use for your blog is important, it is also important that you make your content visual.

The theme you use on your blog will help your website's overall design to stand out but adding images to your content will help your content to stand out and make it memorable for your readers.

Types of images you'll need to run a blog

Before we dive into the tools and tips about designing images, here are a few types of images you will need for your blog.

lifeofpix

Now, of course, you could hire a designer to design these images for you. But if you are low on budget or are just starting out, I highly recommend getting your hands dirty and learning how to create these graphics on your own.

In the sections that follow, I recommend some sites and tools that help you easily make professional-looking graphics on your own.

Blog Post Thumbnails

This is what people will see on social media when your blog posts are shared. A thumbnail will help you stand out by making your content more visual.

canva blog designs

I highly recommend that you create a blog thumbnail for all your images if you want your blog to stand out.

I recommend Canva for creating blog post images. Check out my guide to using Canva ⇣ where I show you how to create a blog thumbnail image.

Now, some bloggers like to design their blog thumbnails with beautiful typography and icons.

I recommend that if you are just starting out, you should simply upload a stock photo that best represents what your blog is about.

For example, if you are writing an article on “13 Running Tips” just use a stock photo of a person running as your thumbnail.

Once you start to gain some momentum with your blog, you can look into creating custom graphics that help your blog stand out.

Social Media Images

Whether you want to post a quote or a tip for your followers on your social media accounts, you need to make sure it is beautifully designed and helps you stand out.

If you want to build a presence on social media sites for your blog, you will need to post a lot of content.

The easiest way to create content for social media is to create “rich media” content such as images and videos.

Not only are they easy to create but they are also easy to consume and increase the odds of your audience actually consuming your content.

I recommend Canva for creating social media images and banners. Check out my guide to using Canva ⇣ to learn more.

Infographics

Infographics make it easy for you to explain things to your audience. It is much easier to read a beautifully designed graphic than a block of text.

A study from WishPond found that bloggers who use infographics see traffic grow an average of 12% more than those who don't.

Infographics can help you get more shares and keep your audience hooked to the content.

I recommend Canva for creating custom infographics. Check out my guide to using Canva ⇣ to learn more.

A note on licensing and terms of use

Most images on the Internet are protected by copyright law and as such, they cannot be used without permission. Using an image that is not licensed for free, unrestricted use without permission from the author of the image is illegal.

However, there are a lot of free stock photos that you can use without asking the author for permission.

Most of these stock photos are licensed under the CC0 license or are released under the public domain. These images can be used and edited however you like.

Now, keep in mind, that you can always buy rights to premium stock photos. Sites mentioned in the coming section allow you to buy rights to stock photos so that you can use them legally.

Note: Before using any image you find on the Internet on your own blog, be sure to check how the image is licensed.

Where to find free stock photos for your blog

Those days are long gone when you needed to pay thousands of dollars to get stock photos. There are a lot of photographers and designers on the Internet who love sharing their creations with others in the community.

These photographers license their images under the Creative Commons Zero license which allows you to use and edit images however you like without asking the author permission.

The following websites all offer images that are free and most of the images offered on these websites are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero license. But be sure to check the license for each image you download before you start using it.

I have curated a huge list of free stock photo and videos resources, but here are some of my favorite stock photo websites:

Pixabay

pixabay

Pixabay is home to over a million free stock photos, videos, illustrations, and vectors. Whether you are looking for images for your food blog or a blog about fitness, this site has you covered. They offer dozens of image categories to choose from.

All the images on Pixabay are free and are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero license. That means you can download, edit, and use the images on this site however you like.

Pexels

pexels

Pexels offers thousands of beautiful, high-resolution stock photos for free. You can download and use them however you like. Almost all of these images are licensed under a custom license that allows you to use these images for both personal and commercial use.

However, there are a few simple restrictions that you need to keep in mind when using images from this site. You can also find thousands of free videos on this site licensed under the same license as the stock photos.

Pixabay and Pexels are my two go-to sites when I need a high quality (and free) stock photo.

Unsplash

unsplash

Unsplash offers hundreds of thousands of free high-resolution stock photos you can use on your blog without asking the author for permission.

This site offers images under all the categories and industries imaginable. You can find images for all types of blogging niches including health, beauty, fashion, travel, etc.

The search engine on this site allows you to search for images based on tags such as ‘Sad', ‘Interior', ‘Christmas' etc.

Stokpic

stokpic

The team behind Stokpic adds 10 new photos every 2 weeks to the website. Although it may not sound like a lot, you need to keep in mind that this site has been around for a very long time.

This site offers hundreds of free professional-looking images to choose from. If you want premium stock photography for free, the images on this site are the closest you can get to it.

New Old Stock

newoldstock

Looking for old images? New Old Stock may be the perfect choice for you. It offers vintage photos from the public archives. As these images are really old, most of them fall under the public domain and can be used without restriction but it still doesn't hurt to first check the license.

Premium stock photo sites when you want to up your game

If you want to stand out of the competition, you may consider using premium stock photos. These stock photos are shot by professional photographers and are royalty-free. Once you buy a license to a premium stock photo you are free to use it for both personal and commercial uses.

Here are some premium stock photo sites that I recommend:

Adobe Stock

adobe stock photos

Adobe Stock isn't limited to just stock photos. They offer all types of stock assets such as Graphic Design Templates, Videos, Video templates, Vectors and illustrations, and stock photos.

The best part about Adobe Stock is that they offer monthly subscriptions that allow you to download a certain number of images for free every month. Their starting plan at $29/month allows you to download 10 stock photos every month.

Shutterstock

shutterstock

Shutterstock offers all types of stock assets including Video, Images, illustrations, Vectors, Icons, and Music. Whatever creative project you are working on, this site has everything you will need to make your work stand out and look beautiful.

Their monthly plans start at $29/month and allow you to download 10 images every month. They also offer prepaid packages starting at $49 for 5 images.

iStock

istock

iStock has been around for a long time and is now a part of GettyImages. They offer stock assets including images, videos, vectors, and illustrations.

Although they do offer monthly subscription plans, they also allow you to buy credits you can redeem for stock assets on the site.

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