My Favorite Seven Free Image Websites
The need for free quality images
We online media writers are always looking for images to enhance our articles. Sometimes it's more time consuming searching for images than it is to write something. Even more difficult is finding images that are free and that we don't need to scour the bowels of the website to figure out who to credit as the source of the image or to get permission to use it. But images are important. Titles are often the first draw for the person perusing for something to read. But the right image can be an even more powerful draw.
I thought I'd share just a few of my favorite web sources for images that are free and easy to use. They save a lot to time and money. If you are able to comment, share some of your favorite sources as well. We can all use a little help along the way.
Free Digital Photos
Free digital photos is one of the easiest image websites to use. Usually, it is the first site I go to to look for an image. There is no membership or registration requirements to use photos, though you can do so if you wish. The benefits of doing so are merely so you can track the images you've used or to display them in lightboxes or send to friends. There is no registration fee.
Free Digital Photos has tens of thousands of photos and other types of graphics under countless categories and subcategories. They offer the usual categories such as:
- Food and Drink
- Health and Beauty
There are several more but my favorite category is a rather unique one and that is Metaphors and Symbols. The metaphor images create a more hard-hitting, unique and creative statement for your articles, stories or poems.
The images come in a variety of sizes and a size guide is available. The standard free images are 400 pixels. If you are using them for online articles you really don't need anything more. Here on Hubpages they show excellently in quality, as you can see in the top photo and the one to the right. You can download larger sizes at a cost. The Size Guide gives you a breakdown of prices and sizes. I have never had to buy an image because they are free when using them in this venue at the standard size. Free Digital Photos allows resizing and cropping. Oh, and you don't have to deal with those annoying watermarks on the photos.
All images are copyrighted but can be used under standard or extended license. All one has to do is credit the artist and Free Digital Photos. It is simple and hassle free. When you go to download the image it gives you all the information to publish the credit.
The only downside to Free Digital Photos is that many of the images look like they are for advertisements; white background, people artificially posed. They are great for certain types of articles, it just depends on what you're looking for. Also, there are lots of graphics that are too redundant and it can be tiresome wading through page after page with similar looking graphics. Having said all this, there are thousands of varieties of photos that are creative and interesting.
Freedigitalphotos does take photographs from users who wish to contribute. See the website for more information.
This site offers around 6,000 images under 84 categories. ALL images are free. If using for online use, simply credit the website link. All of the images offered here are original and are mostly of excellent quality; however you may find some that are slightly less than the most excellent in quality. Photos can be used for just about anything, except redistribution, which is a pretty standard rule for stock photo sites.
To download a photo, simply click on the photo, right click and save as on your computer. That's it. The images on this site are much larger. The range is between 100k and 2000k and the larger ones can be up to 3000 x 3000 pixels. All images in .jpg. Images may be edited or altered any way you desire. As some of the photos may be too large for electronic media, being able to crop or resize is a great feature. Some other great news is that there are no watermarks on these photos.
It is not necessary to become a member of either sites, but there are benefits to doing so. They offer special image galleries exlusive to members. Members get email updates (if they choose) as well. And guess what? Like them on Facebook, and you will have more special images available. Such a deal.
Dreamstime Free Images
Dreamstime has a free image gallery section. Though very limited in their offerings compared to the images you pay for, they still have a good amount of categories. I go on occasionally and find some good images.
To use the free image gallery photos you will need to sign-up to be a member, which is free. Go to the Dreamstime home page. At the top right there is a sign-up link. Go to it, set up a username, password, and give your email address (which will be kept private.) Read and check off the terms and conditions and submit. Pretty easy. Now if you're interested in purchasing or contributing your own photos, it gets complicated and you're on your own. Since this hub is focusing on "Free" images, I will stick to that.
Now that you're a member you can start perusing the free images. At the top of the website you will see a green tab (it looks like the tabs on a file folder) that says "Categories." The gray tabs next to it have different categories. One says Free Images. That's where you want to go. Once you click that you will see the categories for free photos. Find one you want and click, then check the little terms and conditions box. And download.
Dreamstimes requires that you credit the artist and dreamstime with a copyright symbol. Just below the terms and conditions check box you will a © symbol with the artist or company name with a line, and then dreamstime.com. Make sure you copy it be before you download the photo, so you can paste it when you use the image on your article or website. You can see the credit I put on the photo on the right.
The image quality varies a great deal. Some are fabulous, some are really good, and some are ho-hum. There is a very good selection though, so you are likely to find something just right for your needs. This is a site you probably wouldn't use real regularly. It all depends on what you need and want.
I just discovered Pixabay and am thrilled to find every photo and image is public domain. There are virtually thousands of images -photos and illustrations and a huge variety of topics. The quality of the photographs are by and large of very good quality. Illustrations are not always the best, but there are plenty that are.
Pixabay is the most user friendly site I've come across. The search feature is simple to use and when images come up of the topic you choose, you just click on them and you will be given a choice of size. Then hit the download button and that's it.
You must have an account, that is absolutely free. Sign up will say something about sharing your own photographs, but I don't believe it is mandatory. You will be given a profile page if you care to use it, and there is a settings feature for your account.
Other features you will find are editor's choice images; latest images; leader boards; photographers; cameras; and a blog. There is also a forum, FAQ, foreign language access, and API.
I guarantee this will now be my main source of images for my writing project.
Images from Creation Swap
I write a lot on Christianity and spiritual matters and I have reaped a harvest of images at Creation Swap. Creation Swap is a church media site which has thousands of images. They have slides, photos, illustrations, logos, vector art, videos, church bulletins and more. Creation Swap offers images for free and for sale. There is a very good selection for the free images and they are easy to download. It's a very user friendly site.
To access the free images you do not need to create and account or sign up for anything. There is a search feature using key words. Each artist has his own page where you can access their own personal images without wading through volumes of images. If you wish to purchase images you will need to create and account. You can also sell images or share them for free.
Creation Swap also offers network features for it's artists. There is a discussion feature, showcase, critique, artist page with every artist, and job listings page.
Creation Swap does not just feature religious images, there are images of nature, people, objects, and more. There is quite a bit available for people who are not writers on matters of faith. I highly recommend this site.
Images from Visual Bible Alive
Visual Bible Alive
I write a lot about the Bible and Christianity. I often use Visual Bible Alive for Bible illustrations. They have photographs as well of the lands of the Bible and sometimes objects and people, and wonderful maps of the middle east from all the way back to the Old Testament to the New Testament, and here in modern times. The maps are very clearly drawn and marked and easy to read. A map is a great accompaniment to a hub on the Bible or other topics where a map might come in handy.
I like and use this site a lot when I am referring to excerpts or entire Bible stories. It's a lot easier to find an illustration on Ruth and Naomi here than on most Christian or Bible image sites. These are very specific. They have a search box where you type in key words. They also offer scripture quotes if you want one. Everything is free, and downloading is very simple. A two-year old could do it. There is also a category feature.
Membership is not required to download images. The images are non-commercial use only.
When publishing an image, you must use a copyright line such as © Joe Blow. Linking back is a good idea too. The artist info is right next to the picture when you are ready to download. Very easy to use site.
Images from Free Bible Images
Free Bible Images
I LOVE this site. Free Bible Images has amazing photos of Bible stories and characters, and also has an illustrated Bible gallery as well. The photographs come from a dramatization with actors (unknown I think). They are of such high caliber and quality it is hard to believe they are free. Every photo has the same attribution - Big Book Media. There a several ways to find the images you want.
- Book of the Bible - a drop down menu with a list of books of the Bible they have images for and how many there are.
- Bible Characters - Also a drop down with a list of character, plus at the top of the menu is an A - Z menu.
- Theme - Same as the Bible character's feature. A drop down menu with a list of themes, such as Christmas, Easter, prayer, forgiveness, etc. Also the A - Z.
The illustrated image gallery is much more extensive. I would imagine that it because illustrating is simpler and quicker than setting up actors and dramatizations to shoot. When you want to choose either a photograph or illustrated image, you simply click up top "Illustrations," or "Photos" and it will take you to the gallery. The gallery is set up by story categories. Say if you wanted an image on Noah's ark, you find that title, click on it, and it will be a series of slides that show the Noah's Ark story.
There are three download options - PowerPoint, Adobe PDF, Apple Keynote, and Jpeg. Downloading is a bit different that other image sites. First, rather than click on an image and download from there, you must download the whole story slide show. To download you simply click on one of the download options (say jpeg), agree to terms, and it will download the whole slide show into a zip file onto your desktop. Once it's on your desktop, you open the file and choose and individual image.
Here are just a few themes for the photos -
- Images of Jesus teaching
- The Christmas story: Wise men worship Jesus
- The Christmas story: An angel visits Joseph
- John the Baptist in the wilderness and the baptism of Jesus
- Jesus cleansing the temple
- Triumphant entry
- The last super
- Jesus prays in the garden
- Parables of various kinds
- Joseph the dreamer, Joseph and Potipher's wife and more on that story.
- Elijah fed by ravens, A widow feed Elijah.
Free Bible Images still has a lot more stories to bring in. Since the photo's come from a dramatization with actors, it is no small task. They will bring more as the years go on. They add frequently to the illustrated gallery. By the way, the illustrated Bible stories are perfect for children's Sunday school. The photo's too, but the illustrated gallery has so many more stories covered.
There is a search feature, a page to find out the story of Free Bible Images, and there is a really cool page where we can give our story of how we used the images. This is an incredible website.
© 2013 Lori Colbo
More by this Author
A humorous look at the antics of three little girls when Mom takes them shopping.
A Tribute to JP Patches, Seattle's TV icon, who starred in the Emmy Award winning show The JP Patches Show for 23 years. RIP JP.
Support groups can be a helpful tool for people experiencing a difficult life struggle. Here are some things to look for in a good support group.