If you’re a photographer, you probably want to use your own images & know all about model release forms, etc. But if not, how do you get great photos it’s ok to use on your website, without spending a ton of money?
There are a ton of online resources, and a lot of them have used the word FREE so that they’ll come up in your search, but the actual terms are actually often a bit more complex.
For this website, I used Pixabay. I found a photo I liked quickly, and it didn’t require me to signup or pay – it simply let me download, in the size I chose.
All the images on Pixabay are released under Creative Commons CC0. https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en
They offer even more information about what that means, here: https://pixabay.com/en/blog/posts/public-domain-images-what-is-allowed-and-what-is-4/
Side note: The Pixabay explanation of “what that means” is great reading if you are an amateur photographer not familiar with model releases, etc. & want to use your own photos.
Additional Photo Resource Websites
Here’s a very brief partial list of some of the other sites I’ve looked at. There are many, many more out there.
It appears each image is licensed differently, so you’ll need to check if its ok to use commercially (they have nice simple interface to make that easy), and some require attribution, but it did let me download an image in one of 2 sizes with no signup & 100% free
I found their license confusing. I think it means that the photos are meant to be altered before you use them, or else require attribution. it did let me download an image (no size options) with no signup & 100% free, after I agreed to their Terms. If you ARE a photographer, this one has some neat aspects, like #Quest, a daily photo challenge. http://morguefile.com/quest/1
This site says “Stock Photos & Video Footage for as low as $0.20USD/download or free” what does that mean? Why is it worded that way? All the photos I looked at were listed as “Royalty Free License”, when I hit download, it wanted me to signup, so I moved on.
The free version of the photo I looked at was small size & required attribution, “no attribution required” started at $3 for small (400 x 266px) and went up to $10 for Hi Res (5600 x 3721px) and $75 for “Extended License” Hi Res. An explanation of the “Extended License” can be found here: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/terms-popup.php
The first few images I looked at were all CC0 license & downloaded with no registration or fee. A little strange thing to me is that each picture lists a different photo website as the source (they don’t all list the same one). Also, the downloads have no sizes, and just open in the browser as a .jpg.
This site has much more than just photos (icons, vectors, etc.) but their are “plans” you need to join & choose from, as well as 2 different licenses. Read more here: http://www.shutterstock.com/subscribe
The first few images that caught my eye were all listed as “Premium Collection” $499.99. Again, there are multiple plans: https://stock.adobe.com/plans and some specifics to their licensing: https://stock.adobe.com/license-terms
This site has a credits system, so pictures are priced in credits (many I looked at were 3 credits, for example, and had an option to add an “extended license”) If you only want 1 photo, the minimum plan was $33 for 3 credits, but if you needed multiple images and would have more needs every month, there was a $99/year subscription with 10 images/month, so the pricing varies wildly. Read more here: http://www.istockphoto.com/plans-and-pricing