Using photos in your posts is important – it helps the user get a better feel for your subject matter. Plus it’s also good for Google Search if you name and attribute the image correctly (learn how to do that in this post from Yoast on Image SEO).
But you may think you have to hire a photographer (sometimes you do) or buy an expensive license (sometimes you do) to get just the right photo for your business site’s latest post because free stock images won’t be high-quality.
Back in 2013 there was a rumor that Google was thinking of penalizing sites that used stock images. Thankfully that didn’t happen – that would have been a big blow to sites with smaller marketing budgets! And now we have a plethora of free stock photo sites that carry thousands of high-quality photos that might work for your business site.
Here’s a review of the best free stock photo sites where you can search for that perfect photo.
Free Stock Images and Copyright Issues
Using free stock of course means others (maybe lots of others) are using your same photo – but that’s also true of commercial stock photos, unless you’re willing to pay for an exclusive license. You might see the same image on your competitors’ websites. If that’s a problem, consider hiring a photographer.
Learn more about using free stock images for business sites.
One of my clients recently asked if she should worry about copyright issues when using free stock. There are certainly restrictions that come even with ‘free’ images. For example, on a free stock photo it’s important to check that the license for an image allows commercial use if it’s going on your business site. Some countries don’t allow posting of images of people without their written consent. A photo of a prominent landmark may require a property release.
But, the responsibility for correct use of images falls on you, not the stock companies – they don’t have the ability to police thousands or millions of submissions. Read this post on safe use of free stock photos to learn more about licensing and what types of photos are generally safer to use.
And if all of this scares you, hire a photographer.