Tuesday, August 19, 2014

6 Spectacular Free Photography Sites for Your Blog

Writers love to paint with words. We love to create worlds and populate them with a wide variety of creatures, characters and landscapes. What we sometimes forget is that when we change our medium to the Internet, we have to change our approach.

Unfortunately the average human has an attention span of 8 seconds; one second shorter than the attention span of a goldfish (source). Using visual images in blog posts, tweets, facebook updates and other social media posting is much more likely to keep people on your page.

photo via Flickr

Here are just three statistics from a great post on the Hubspot marketing blog about using visual content (read the rest of the article here)

  1. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.
  2. 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text.
  3. Visual content drives engagement. In fact, just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content -- photos and videos -- saw a 65% increase in engagement.
A simple but eye-catching addition to your blog post is photography. If you do your own photography then you don’t have to worry about whether you can legally use the picture. There are quite a few good sources of relatively inexpensive stock photography that can provide you with beautiful pictures, either for a one-time fee or for a subscription.

Dog on the beach in Costa Rica - photo by me

I’m very thrifty, so I prefer to find the images for my blog posts through free photos with the Creative Commons license. (Click here for a link that explains the license.) Be careful that you post photos that you’ve taken yourself, or under this license only, or you may be infringing on someone’s copyright (which is illegal).

Here is a list of my six favorite free image sites.

Six Fabulous Free Photo Sites

1. Compfight 

This is definitely one of my favorite sites. It is easily searchable and brings the best quality and most relevant pictures to the top.

Kerri Lee Smith via Compfight cc
2. MorgueFile

This site has a large selection of high resolution digital photographs free to be used for corporate or personal use. The term "morgue file" comes from an old journalism term, and is now used for inactive files and documents.

Olyvia - photo by greyerbaby

Many photos on the site are shareable as long as they are properly credited on your website and not used for commercial purposes.

photo via Flickr
4. Stockvault 

I particularly love Stockvault because it not only has beautiful photos, but it also has amazing textures that you can use as backgrounds for layering images or for building your website.

Gold Hill - photo by Paul Clifton

Vintage photos and photos that look authentically vintage. Beautiful images if you are looking for something different. 

photo from lse library collection

Photographer and graphic designer Daniel Nenescu shares his images from Italy here, free of charge to the world. There isn’t a huge selection, but they are so lovely that I had to share them with you. This wedding cake photo is my favorite!

photo by Daniel Nenescu, via Splitshire.com

These six sites are just a few of the free photo resources you can find online that will give your blog or website that visual boost it needs. 

Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite site that I haven’t shared. If you found this helpful, sign up for notifications of my next post.

Related Article:  How to Spice up Your Author Platform, on readwritemuse.com

Related Article: 10 Tips to Jump-Start Your Writing Blog


  1. Definitely bookmarking this one for a later save. AND OMG. Your new banner and layout? I'm so in love. It looks fabulous, Natalie!

    Thanks for sharing this. I think it will help a lot of bloggers, especially with RWM :)

  2. Thanks, Katie! I know this kind of information has really helped me. And I love that you think my page looks good! Worked hard on all the colors and layout, and got the background from Stockvault! Haha - I practice what I preach :)