You might have written a great essay or article, but it’s still incomplete without an image. Images have the ability tell a story, and they form an integral part of the many articles we write.
The Web is a trove of terrific images, but not all of them are free. The challenge lies in finding the right images at the right price; generally they are classified as premium, “freemium,” or free images.
Before we dig into the best resources for free images, here are the classifications you should know about from Google:
Labeled for reuse
Your results will include only images labeled with a license that allows you to copy and/or modify the image in ways specified in the license.
Labeled for commercial reuse
Your results will include only images labeled with a license that allows you to copy the image for commercial purposes, in ways specified in the license.
Labeled for reuse with modification
Your results will include only images labeled with a license that allows you to copy and modify the image in ways specified in the license.
Labeled for commercial reuse with modification
Your results will include only images labeled with a license that allows you to copy the image for commercial purposes and modify it in ways specified in the license.
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Here is another great resource on copyright guidelines.
As for places to find images:
1. Google Images
Google Images is one of the best places to search for compelling images. For free images, look for the small gear icon on the right side of the screen and select “Advanced Search.” Select the correct image use type from the blue sign that says “Usage Rights,” and you’re set.
Warning: Do not just grab an image from the search result; the images are protected by strict copyrights.
To pick up free images from Flickr, put the image subject in the search string and click the “Advanced Search” on the upper right corner of the screen. On the Advanced Search page, select “Creative Commons” at the bottom.
One of the easier ways to find free images from Creative Commons is to search Photopin. It finds images with all the attribution license details, making it easier for you to plug in the image to your content.
This site has one of the best stocks of images. Free images are lower in size, apt for blogs, but if you want bigger photos, they are offered at a premium. It is often my go-to site.
5. Create your own
Yes, this could one of your best ways to get free images. I often end up making my own images when I am unable to find a suitable image on the Web. With cameras on most phones now, it is pretty much easy to click a snap and use it on your content. You can even add some beautiful text over it using image editing tools like PicMonkey.
This article originally appeared on social media consultant Malhar Barai’s blog.