Here’s part two of my notes from our Meetup on September 4, 2017. I covered photo-related topics that day: where to source stock photos; how to prep them for upload and managing image sizes; and compression, which I’ll cover in a future post.
Where to Find Photos
First of all, it’s important to remember that copyright infringement can bite you in the keister, and things can get ugly if you use images that are not yours or are not released under some type of license or agreement. In the simplest terms, whoever takes the photo owns the copyright(1)Though it appears this protection may not extend to monkeys.. That is, they alone have the right to reproduce the photo; create derivative works of it; distribute copies by sale, transfer of ownership, rental, lease, or lending; and display the photo publicly.(2)Here’s the US government’s take on it.(3)Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. I don’t even play one on TV. This is not advice, it’s information. Here’s a cautionary tale for you. There are plenty of more if you feel like searching for them.
Because copyright is a thing(4)That’s a great link. You should read it., the first rule of finding photos is usually: never never ever use Google images. It’s a good rule of thumb, but in reality, it can be fine to do this—as long as you narrow your search a bit. Google has a few nifty Tools you can use for this. In our case, we’re going to filter by Usage Rights and choose something like Labeled for Reuse.
It’s a handy way to narrow things down. Click on the photo you’d like to use, then click the Visit button to jump to the site the image is from. Here you’d want to use your judgment about whether the site is legit and check the terms under which you can use the image. Some images will be completely free and clear for use without conditions. Oftentimes you’ll have to attribute the creator, and the site will spell out those terms for you.
Okay, fine, I’ll behave. So where do I go?
In this post, my target is public domain / Creative Commons Zero (CC0)(5)Pronounced see-see-zero photo sites. If you have a decent budget for your project and can pay good money for images, check out Getty Images. You can find other expensive resources, but since Getty’s business model is pretty much to acquire all of their competition you might as well just go there in the first place.(6)As I went through my bookmarks, checking to make sure they were all still viable, I wasn’t surprised or shocked to see how many of them have been swallowed by Getty Images. (By my count, over a dozen of the resources I bookmarked at some point have been assimilated.) They’re voracious.
Still, discounting Getty and their next victims, there are plenty of sites that are decent resources for modest budgets. Like most topics, there are plenty of blog posters out there offering their opinion on “the best.” That’s not what I’m going to do here because I don’t know how I’d determine who’s The Best™. These are just some sites I use when I need to grab photos and other graphics, in no particular order:
- Pexels.com and Pixabay.com: All photos on these sites are CC0 licensed, so they’re free to use for “any legal purpose,” whatever that means. No attribution required, but they do appreciate linkbacks. The images for both sites are contributed by their community. If you’re the sharing type and have a bit of talent, they’ll be happy to receive your images as well. The same is true of many of the sites on this list.
- Stockio.com. Like the two sites above, this one is community-supported and offers free images – with attribution to Stockio.com. This site offers free vectors and icons in addition to photographs.
- StockSnap.io has a lot of really nice stuff. The header image on this post, by Lisa Fotios, came from this site.(7)Note that, though attribution is not required, it’s often considered good form to add one when you can.
- Burst, by Shopify.
- Gratisography, all shot and offered free of charge and copyright restrictions by one awesome guy, Ryan McGuire. This site is especially great if you’re looking for something strange, offbeat, or downright weird.(8)Feel free to mentally rearrange those links as you will.
- Negativespace.co releases 10 new photos a week, all free on a CC0 license.
- Death to Stock is a bit different subscription model in that they send you a photo pack of 25-30 once a month to download, produced in a theme. There’s a premium version as well.
- Freestocks.org and Picography.co have some really beautiful photos and great off-angle and depth of field shots.
- Tasty Foodiesfeed has great food shots.
- Picjumbo has over 1800 free photos(9)as of the day I write this and a unique feature – the ability to download them all at once. The curator will happily takes a name-your-price donation, which seems pretty fair! Check out his blog when you’re there.
And since I’m tired of writing up descriptions, here’s a dump of more links:
- MMTStock. New photos added each week
- Life of Pix. Seriously gorgeous stuff.
- New Old Stock. When you need to go old school.
- Kaboom Pics
- Epicantus. All by Daria, who, if her pics are any indication, travels a lot.
- Shot Stash, which I would guess are shot by somebody in or near Singapore.
- Styled Stock bills itself as “feminine stock photograpy,” which I didn’t think needed to be a thing until I saw the site. There isn’t a ton of shots there yet but I can see it growing into something cool.
- Foter claims 335,000,000 premium royalty-free stock photos
- Visual Hunt says they have 354,191,553 Creative Commons Photos and 135,794 CC0 images. Not sure what the difference is there.
Update 9/9/19: Just happened across this article that lists some more resources that you might want to check out.
So those are some free options. Of course, there are plenty of reasonably-priced resource sites out there: I tend to use StockUnlimited and Depositphotos. I liked Adobe Stock until they jacked their prices up and then started swallowing other sites like Getty does. So I’m done with them.
Finally, there’s a cool, cheap app called Zoommy that’s set up so you can search many sources at once for free images that’s worth checking out.
Have any sites you’d recommend? Comment below!
|↑1||Though it appears this protection may not extend to monkeys.|
|↑2||Here’s the US government’s take on it.|
|↑3||Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. I don’t even play one on TV. This is not advice, it’s information.|
|↑4||That’s a great link. You should read it.|
|↑6||As I went through my bookmarks, checking to make sure they were all still viable, I wasn’t surprised or shocked to see how many of them have been swallowed by Getty Images. (By my count, over a dozen of the resources I bookmarked at some point have been assimilated.) They’re voracious.|
|↑7||Note that, though attribution is not required, it’s often considered good form to add one when you can.|
|↑8||Feel free to mentally rearrange those links as you will.|
|↑9||as of the day I write this|