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How to Get Free Stock Images for Your Hubs in 2016

Updated on September 10, 2016
An example of the high-quality free stock photos you can get on sites like Pixabay.
An example of the high-quality free stock photos you can get on sites like Pixabay. | Source

We all want high-quality images to complement the subject matter of our blogs and hubs, but grabbing the first image you find off of Google can come at a high cost. Most stock photo sites are too cost-prohibitive for the average blogger, so I have compiled a short but sweet list of the sites I use for free stock photos. These sites offer high-quality stock photos, but some are better than others.

Why can't you just use any photo you find online? Image attribution guidelines can get you in serious trouble if you aren't careful. This goes double if you're using the image for commercial purposes. Even free stock photo sites have varying licenses, so it's important to check the license requirements of each free stock photo you use. Some stock photos are free only for personal use, while others can be altered and sold as long as they are different enough from the original image. Taking a moment to check the license on each image you use will save you a major headache down the road. The last thing you want is to have your hard work taken down because you used an image without permission.

Deposit Photos

Deposit Photos is an online vault of affordable, high-quality stock images. While most of the images are fairly mainstream, they're more than fitting for the topics of most blog posts, Hubs and professional articles. A word of warning to those who are looking for stock images for books and other professional projects. Cheap stock photo sites provide images to thousands of users, increasing the likelihood that your chosen image has already been used by another writer. This is fine if you edit the photo enough to create a unique cover, but using the same book cover stock photo as five other authors in your genre looks unprofessional.

Deposit Photos offers tiered subscription plans as well as a free image gallery. Unlike many other free stock photo websites, this free stock image gallery is small but the quality is the same as the paid images. Deposit Photos also sends out a regular email to members and subscribers to offer new free stock photos, vectors, videos and other high-quality free images for personal and commercial use. If you're interested, you can check out my referral link to get started with some free stock photo downloads from Deposit Photos today.


Morguefile

Morguefile is by far one of the most popular free stock photo sites out there, and for good reason. Thousands upon thousands of images fill the Morguestock free photo gallery alongside paid options from iStock and Fotolia. The free image search is easy to use and yields a decent amount of results. Because most Morguefile images are uploaded by hobbyists, the quality is usually somewhat less than you would find on a traditional stock photo site like Shutterstock or Deposit Photos. Still, the images are more unique, which makes them ideal for blogs, Hubs and other personal creative projects.

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Pixabay

I would say Pixabay is one of the more underrated free stock image websites out there.With more than 700,000 free stock photos available, you can easily run a search for what you need. As with most of the other free stock photo sites, Pixabay is still limited when it comes to highly specific images. I prefer to use free image sites like Pixabay and Morguefile as the basis for my stock photo collection and supplement posts with a few paid images for specific intent and a professional, polished look. A little goes a long way!


Flickr

Flickr is one of those hit-or-miss free stock photo sites for me. Many amateur photographers use this website as an online portfolio to showcase their work, so the quality can vary widely. My favorite use for free stock photos on Flickr is for highly specific images with a natural feel. Many Flickr galleries have an authentic feel and you can find some very tailored images to use on blogs in niche topics. Of course, there are many professional-quality photos as well, and the search does a fairly good job of cataloging images in a way that they're easy to find.

With these free stock photo sites at your disposal, you can create high-quality blog posts without paying for stock photos. These websites are ideal for amateur blogs, but you may find that paying for a high-quality professional stock photo here and there is worth the cost if you turn writing into a full-time gig.

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