Let me tell you a story about the time I paid Getty Images $500 for one photo…
I’ll spare you all the details, but let’s just say I learned my lesson about sharing a photo. Yeap… the image in question was paid for, but the license was in my name. I gave this image to a client to use on their website. So technically, the client’s website had infringed on the photo’s copyright.
The Getty Gods quickly found them (their legal team is good at that) and of course I paid the $5000 copyright infringement fee.
From that point on the days of doing anything with a photo without reading the license came to an end. Fast forward a few years and my marketing agency was now spending thousands of dollars per month just on photos.
Our CFO (also my husband)… was not happy about the amount of money being spent on photography. I knew there had to be more cost-effective way to get beautiful and authentic looking photography to use in my marketing. I started researching and crawling the web, and before I knew it, I had created my own little collection of free photos that were licensed for personal and commercial use.
Now… I don’t pay a dime, ever, for a photo. Legally, of course.
Just because I said the word “free” that doesn’t mean I meant cheesy, or staged, or awkward. I’ve collected real photos by real photographers that are an integral part of my marketing strategy.
[bctt tweet=”Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.” username=”tierramwilson”]
Here are 5 of my favorites websites:
Cupcake, by 28-year-old photographer Jonas Wimmerström, is a tiny but beautiful collection of compelling original photos. All the pictures on Jonas’ website are free to copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking for permission.
Jeshu is a web designer and developer from the port city of Kochi in southern India. After the frustration of trying to find free quality photos, he decided to capture his own and give them away for free. All the photos on the website can be used personally, or commercially, with no attribution.
Epicantus is a website by Daria, a Visual & UX designer who created the website to share all the photos she has taken in her spare time. As a designer, when she launched the site she wanted to “make things FAST yet still beautiful” while still keeping the photos free for personal and commercial use.
Fancycrave is a collection of travel photos by designer and photographer Igor Ovsyannkov. Like many web designers, he created the website so that others can find beautiful and free high-resolution photos they could use in their projects. Updated daily, Fancycrave images are free of all copyright restrictions.
If you read this far, you are in for a treat. This site is the best one! Gratisosgraphy is another website with beautiful, and often hilarious, images free of copyright. It was created by photographer, visual artist, and web designer Ryan McGuire. Ryan is a unique spirit who shares his love and passion of art to the world. New pictures are added weekly.
These are only five of the incredible photographers I’ve come across! If you want a larger list, over 40+ free photography sites to be exact, check out my Strategy Toolkit for Sourcing Stock Photography.