Searching for images on the Internet is not a difficult task. Today the number of platforms with images to use on sites and blogs is very extensive .
In this post, we are going to show 57 free and paid image banks that you can use to choose the best graphic option for your content. Most of these sites have high resolution images for download .
Taking advantage of the opportunity, it is valid to contextualize a little about :
- how images can seriously influence (for better or for worse) the quality of your content ;
- how to use these images without infringing copyright and types of license (copyright, copyleft, creative commons and public domain) ;
- c How to make good use of visual material on your site, using images that are contextual to the content .
The initial idea of the post was to bring a large list so that you have several image search options. And this list is below. But before going directly to the list, it is worth making some reflections .
Image is not everything, necessarily. But it is a lot. Really a lot. It would be contradictory to put full responsibility for the content in the images and test it by writing a… text .
Here in the RD Station blog we always talk about the need, above all else, to produce quality content. And among all the points that need to be joined for the content to be effectively of quality is the good use of images in blog posts and on websites .
Think about your online browsing and try to identify some websites that are purely blocks of text. Do they still exist? Yes, in fact there are, but they are not the ones that promote the best visitor experience. Now think about the internal links on those pages. Are there image blocks leading to new links or just text? If you stop to reflect, you will easily perceive that, in recent years, the use of internal links such as image blocks, or thumbnail views – and not text – has increased considerably .
Even Google, which basically shows titles, links and descriptions in its results, has the famous image search. And no, it is not such a new service in itself, it was implemented in 2001, three years after its foundation .
Another interesting factor for you to reflect is also on the content shared on social networks. Think of a link shared on Facebook and the strength of the associated image. Placing the correct image in that field is essential to increase your click-through rate .
Other social networks based primarily on the attractiveness of images – such as Instagram and Pinterest – have grown by leaps and bounds. Twitter itself, which started as a purely text tool, has already made serious changes and each update becomes more visual .
This contextualization is important so that you understand and see the importance of using images in content published on the Internet and how spending a little more time in this regard can generate better results .
In this context, we will leave here the reference of 56 places where you can find and download images to publish on your site or blog. The image banks were divided into two categories: free and paid images. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages .
Ranking of the 11 best paid image banks that you can access
In the list below, we have made a ranking with the 11 best paid image banks that we can find. The criteria chosen were: size of the database, variety of images and quality of the files. All sites in the ranking offer downloadable images, videos, audio, and vectors. Check it out!
Shutterstock – http://www.shutterstock.com/
More than 125 million files divided between images, videos, music and vectors. It is one of the largest image banks in the world, and has a plurality of plans for large and small companies .
Fotolia – https://www.fotolia.com
Image bank with more than 7 million subscribers and 92 million images, vectors, illustrations and video clips .
iStockphotos – http://www.istockphoto.com/
A Getty Images company, iStockphotos sells photos, illustrations, videos and music. It has a collection with millions of files to buy and also offers weekly some free photos to subscribers .
Getty Images – http://www.gettyimages.com/
Getty Images is a market leading photographic agency, founded in 1995, and one of the world’s leading providers of journalistic and editorial images. It has an archive with more than 80 million images and illustrations and more than 50,000 hours of filming .
123rf – https://es.123rf.com/
Commercial and editorial image bank with more than 80 million files. It also has videos and audios to download .
Dreamstime – http://www.dreamstime.com/
An extensive bank with more than 61 million images and 18 million registered users. It also has free options, but registration is required .
Deposit Photos – https://mx.depositphotos.com/
Deposit Photos offers more than 60 million photos, graphics, vectors and videos. It was founded in 2009 and has clients in 192 countries .
Bigstock – http://www.bigstockphoto.com/es/
More than 50 million images in the database. Bigstock was founded in 2004 and purchased in 2009 by Shutterstock. Photographs, videos and vectors are available .
500px – http://500px.com
The online community of photographers with more than 80 million images in the cloud. A kind of social photography network, with the difference that the images can be marketed .
Canstock Photo – http://www.canstockphoto.com/
Photography agency that releases 22 thousand new photos every day. It has more than 64 thousand collaborators and more than 700 thousand subscribers .
Creative Market – https://creativemarket.com/photos
More than 900 thousand photos by independent photographers available for acquisition .
Ranking of the 21 free image banks to download images and videos
Paid image banks are excellent platforms for image search. But if you don’t have a budget available for this area, you can also work with free image banks .
Next, we made a selection of the best free image sites on the internet. The criteria used is the same (base size, variety and quality) .
Freepik – http://www.freepik.es/
Site with more than a million free resources such as photos, icons, illustrations, vectors and PSD files. It also offers vectors and images for “Premium” users .
Pixabay – http://pixabay.com
More than 990 thousand free images to use anywhere with a search system that distinguishes photos, illustrations, vectors and videos .
Free Images – http://es.freeimages.com/
Getty’s free image bank with more than 300 thousand download options. The “Premium” option offers more than 2 million photographs and illustrations .
Unsplash – http://unsplash.com/
One of the most visited free image sites in the world, Unsplash started in 2013 as a Tumblr and today it has one of the largest free photo banks. According to the site, more than 3 photos are downloaded per second. Unsplash also has a developer API. More than 9 thousand applications are integrated with Unsplash (Trello, Momentum, Slack and Weebly are examples) .
Pexels – http://www.pexels.com
More than 30 thousand high resolution photographs, all free and with permission for personal and commercial use, without the need to assign credits .
IM Free – http://www.imcreator.com/free
I’m Creator site builder resource, with free images for everyone to use. It also offers templates and icons for use on any site .
StokPic – http://stokpic.com/
A giant free photo download site, created by photographer Ed Gregory, which is growing and consolidating itself as a great platform to encourage photography, with new collaborators .
Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/
The Wikipedia of networks has a database with more than 39 million files available for use. Not all are for commercial use, you have to examine what the description of each image says .
Freerange – https://freerangestock.com/
Freerange has a large database of photos and illustrations divided into several categories. Useful for different types and themes of content
Refe – http://getrefe.com/
Photo files of various categories to download for free. Also available as a paid option .
Stock Up – http://www.sitebuilderreport.com/stock-up
High-quality image search mechanism that unites more than 30 other free image banks .
Splashbase – http://www.splashbase.co/
In this search system you will find more than fifteen platforms in just one. It has videos and photos in high resolution free to download .
Plus: 19 free thematic and personal image banks
This category is related to the most closed sites in relation to categories of images, more thematic, or personal sites maintained by photographers who freely share their photographs with everyone .
In this list we have not made a classification, since the sites have different proposals and audiences. Use what has the most related topic to your business .
Bucketlistly Photos – http://photos.bucketlistly.com
Free collection of travel photos taken by Pete R., founder of the Bucketlisty site .
Cupcake – http://cupcake.nilssonlee.se
Images captured by photographer Jonas Nilsson Lee, all released for free use .
Designers Picks – http://www.designerspics.com/
Site created by Hindu web designer and developer Jeshu John. All photos are his authorship and are free to be used for personal and commercial purposes. The author requests that credits be granted, but does not make it an obligation .
Foodie’s Feed – http://foodiesfeed.com
A resource to find real food images with high resolution .
Free Nature Stock – http://freenaturestock.com
Site created by photographer Adrian Pellert, who uploads a new photo related to nature every day.
Gratisography – http://www.gratisography.com/
Design by photographer Ryan McGuire. All photos are free to be used for all purposes .
Jay Mantri – http://jaymantri.com
Tumblr by designer Jay Mantri. Basically it brings together photos of travel, nature and urban aesthetics .
MMT – http://mmt.li
Site updated weekly with images taken by photographer Jeffrey Betts .
Moveast – http://moveast.me
Portfolio of photos of the Portuguese designer João Pacheco on trips to the East .
New Old Stock – http://nos.twnsnd.co/
Platform with historical and old photos that are already in the public domain .
Snapographic – http://snapographic.com
Free photos in various categories for personal and commercial use, captured by photographer Thomas Mühl. For the price of $ 15 you can download all the images at once .
Splitshire – http://splitshire.com
Site run by Italian photographer Daniel Nanescu, full of free images to be used anywhere. There is also a “Premium” option that offers additional benefits .
Startup Stock Photos – http://startupstockphotos.com
A tumblr that brings together high-resolution photos related to startups and new businesses .
Super Famous – http://images.superfamous.com
Site with the photographs of the Dutch designer Folkert Gorter. It has variety, but in summary it brings together images of nature, architecture, abstract and aerial .
Travel Coffee Book – http://travelcoffeebook.com
Collaborative Tumblr of travel photos sent by people from all over the planet .
Life of Pix – http://www.lifeofpix.com/
Site maintained on the air by Montreal’s Leeroy agency and its network of photographers. New high resolution photos are added weekly to the free portfolio .
Barn Images – http://barnimages.com/
With high-resolution, royalty-free images, released by Lithuanian photographers Igor Trepeshchenok and Roman Drits .
IRegioes – http://www.iregioes.com.br/
IRegioes is a free image bank where you can find photos of various locations in Brazil .
Libreshot – http://libreshot.com/
Image bank with photos completely released for use. They are public domain images, made by photographer Martin Vorel and his wife .
Question: but if there are several sites that offer free images, why use paid image platforms?
It is true, there is a large volume of free images on the Internet, but compared to paid image banks, this number is more limited. The variety of images also tends to be less .
Those who subscribe with paid image banks have the advantage of having a larger portfolio of options and probably their competition will not use the same image for a similar topic .
Extra: find free images on Google and Flickr
To find images that can be used for free by Google, you just have to first enter a keyword of your choice in Google Images. Then click on “search tools”. A new tab will open and you will have the option “rights of use”. Select and choose the license filter you want .
The Flickr search engine has a filter option that shows you images that have been licensed for reuse. Perform a search normally and, in the upper left corner, change the option “Any license” to the desired option .
Flickr also has a segment called The Commons, which is nothing more than the collection of several images found on the internet and that are not copyrighted. Access in https://www.flickr.com/commons .
Copyrights: what are copyright, copyleft, creative commons and public domain?
One detail that you need to be aware of is the one that refers to the copyright of each image. Despite the fact that copying images without prior authorization from the author is a common practice – and unethical -, the legislation provides fines for those who commit the crime .
The infringement of the copyright of another is a crime foreseen in the law. Therefore, if you appreciate your business and do not want to take that risk, it is mandatory to know the distinction between the four licenses below :
The license most used by artists and creators of intellectual material. Photographs, illustrations and images of any nature are included in this role. The copyright is a protection so that only the owner of the material can distribute and commercially use the images .
When you find a copyrighted image and see the need to use it, you will have to buy it. This image may belong to a photographer, an agency or an image bank .
It may happen that the owner agrees to transfer the images. In any case, it is always safer to ask the author for authorization by email .