You may have noticed that the image credits on these blog posts often credit Morguefile, an excellent source of royalty-free images by photographers from around the world that can be used on websites or in marketing materials. There are many other sources of free images that are shared under a creative commons license or other distribution model that gives you the right to legitimately use the images in your Internet marketing however you like, without needing to pay the original image creator.
Stock image databanks
Two of the largest and most well-known databanks of stock images are Morguefile and Stock Xchng, although you can find other databanks by searching for “royalty free images”. Both of these databanks allow you to search images by keywords. Stock Xchng additionally allows you to specify image details such as colour or composition to find the perfect image. All of the images in Morguefile are free for use, while you need to consult the individual licensing agreement for each image in Stock Xchng that you are interested in using. In addition to the free images both of these services provide, they are both affiliated with paid image databanks. So if the perfect image is not available for free, you can find a low-cost option in the affiliated databanks.
Government image files
Governments and governmental organizations maintain large collections of images, generally of historically significant people and events. These images are available for your use, even if you are not a citizen of that particular government. Depending on your industry, you may find these online indexes to be a treasure trove of images. For example, anyone looking for images of stars, constellations, or other heavenly bodies can use the publicly available images from NASA. If your industry involves pop culture or fashion trends, on the other hand, you’re unlikely to find anything in these online image vaults.
Google image search
It comes as a surprise to many people that you can easily find legally reproducible images via Google image search. After all, when you view any of the images in a Google search, the first thing you see on the page is a copyright warning. That’s true for the standard Google image search. However, if you go to the search settings pulldown and select Advanced Search, you can scroll down to the bottom of the list of options and sort your results by usage rights. Select the usage rights “Free to use, share or modify, even commercially” and you’ll be able to legally use any of the results from the Google image search as part of the content you create.
The Internet Marketing Academy