The images you include on your website are probably more powerful than the content you write. People are very impatient when it comes to reading these days, but the right images will make visitors more likely to read your content and make a genuine connection.
Finding great images for your site is easy if you know where to look. We’ve put together a roundup of the best places to find free, high quality stock images for use on your WordPress site.
Given that WordPress powers roughly 19% of the web, many of these image services have accompanying WordPress plugins to make it easy for publishers to find and post images. We’ll make note of those wherever available.
Photo Pin is a site that offers “free photos for bloggers & creatives.” It allows you to search millions of Creative Commons photos from Flickr. The search allows you to specify the license type and hover over thumbnails for image previews. One of the most convenient aspects is that each photo includes the proper attribution link on the download page so that all you have to do is paste it into your post.
Pixabay is a curated repository for finding and sharing public domain images. The site is available in 20 languages so that people around the world can sign up to upload their images. All of the images on Pixabay can be used freely in digital and printed format, for personal and commercial use. Attribution to the original author is not required.
Pixabay Images is a WordPress plugin that you can install to add images with one click. The plugin works seamlessly with the WordPress media library:
- Search Pixabay’s public domain pictures via “Add Media” button inside the editor.
- Filter search results by image type (clipart, photo) and/or orientation (landscape, portrait).
- Preview images in paginated search results.
- Direct image uploads to WordPress’ media library.
- Use of standard media dialogues for editing and inserting images.
Once you install and activate the free plugin, you’ll have access to 80,000+ quality public domain images and will be able to search, edit, and insert images inside the WordPress content editor.
Compfight makes use of the flickr™ API to pull in images. Search capabilities have several unique ways for tailoring your searches, including searching by tags only vs. all the text, licenses, the option to show or hide originals and turn on/off the safe content filter.
The Compfight WordPress plugin was created by the developers at Compfight. Installing this plugin makes it easy to search Creative Commons images and insert them into your content with the proper attribution. It’s important to note, however, that this plugin does not download the image. Instead the images stay hosted on Flickr.
Google Image Search allows you to use advanced options to narrow your results, including:
- Image Type
- Geographical Region
- Site or domain
- Face search
- File type
Although the advanced Google image search doesn’t seem to have a lot of frills, it gives you the full power of the search engine narrowed specifically for images.
MorgueFile has been around since 1996 and is a well-known source for free high resolution stock photos. You can use the images however you like with the exception of claiming ownership. The images you find will not be smaller than 800 x 600 pixels so you’re guaranteed to find a decent size that isn’t too terribly small.
Everystockphoto is a search engine for free photos and includes images from many different sources and licenses. The site currently contains 19,438,685 free photos and allows you to search by resolution, license, shape and size. You can search the following sites on Everystockphoto from one integrated search bar:
- Wikimedia Commons
Stockvault boasts 40,000 free images. Most of the search is category driven. Mousing over images pops up a larger preview. The licensing is a little bit more restricted than some of the other sites as Stockvault focuses on medium and high resolution photographs that designers and students can share and use for their personal and non-commercial design work.
Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository for public domain and freely-licensed educational media content, including images, sound and video clips. It currently contains 17,913,670 files and 111,703 media collections with some very unique historical images.
Wikimedia Commons has some very useful category searches to help you find the right images. For example, you can search by Public domain or People, Images or Photographs, with even more specific subcategory breakdowns on each page.
Fotor currently contains 228,452,941 free stock photos and hosts over 190 million free Creative Commons images from many online sources. Adding an image to your blog is easy. You simply grab the embed code for your selected image and the code will contain all necessary CC attribution.
The official WordPress plugin is called Free Stock Photos Foter. It makes it easy to search, manage and add free photos to your site within the dashboard. The Fotor plugin features:
- Image resizing: flexibility and preview feature
- Image download: you can use plugin or simply download image from foter.com website
- Attribution info: all attribution information is automatically added to the photo, so you don’t need to add it manually
- Search photos: you can search photos by tags or keywords
- Speed: very fast and easy to use
Flickr has a great creative commons search feature as well as multiple plugins that bring images directly into your WordPress site. The Creative Commons photostream includes all the images that Flickr users have elected to have included. You can narrow your search by license type.
Flickr – Pick a Picture is one plugin that lets you search Flickr Creative Commons in your dashboard and select images to use anywhere within your WordPress site. It also includes the ability to embed html in image captions and generates the required attribution to the original Flickr author.
Flickr Photo Post is another very similar WordPress plugin for adding Flickr images. It includes an Ajax-powered search box for keywords. You can preview thumbnails, select an image and then easily include it in your content. Inserted images include the required copyright note and a nofollow image link to the author’s Flickr page.
Chances are that you aren’t always going to find exactly the image you want by only using one source. Make sure to bookmark all of your favorites so that you can quickly jump around to multiple image sites when you’re on the hunt.