Every social media marketer knows that online posts accompanied by visual content will garner more engagement than its text-based counterpart. For instance, tweets with images received 150% more retweets than tweets without images. Also, Facebook posts with images see 2.3 times more engagement than those without. Several studies have confirmed that when information is paired with a relevant image, people pay more attention to the image than the text itself. This doesn't mean that visuals should be a replacement for your text-based content. No, that’s not how content marketing works. It should rather complement your written material and boost your entire campaign.
However, this poses a challenge: Sourcing high-quality social media images to fit your business needs can be incredibly costly and time-consuming. We know how hard it can be to find the right image to go with a post especially when quality and budget come into play. That's why we are sharing this handy collection of the 10 best free stock photo websites for your social media needs. But before we dive further into these copyright-free resources, it's important to know your rights and responsibilities when sharing images online.
The photos you use for your social media campaigns can have a big impact on your business, which is why you need to be careful where you get them from. If you source your images from repositories like Getty Images, iStockphoto, and Shutterstock, then there's no need to worry about attribution since you pay for the rights to use the image. It's a different story though if you're choosing to go the free route.
What license is needed to use pictures on social media?
The license that you should always look for is Creative Commons Zero. Images that are licensed as CC0 allows you to copy, modify, and distribute them without permission. This means that the owner has relinquished all rights to his or her works and no attribution is required.
Another type you should look out for is images in the public domain. These are images whose copyrights have expired or whose creators waived all rights to the works, However, if it's a picture of someone known, you may have to get that person's permission first to use the photo. That is the only exception. So, when sourcing images from free stock photo websites, you should always consult the license agreement that comes with the image.
Best Free Stock Photo Websites For Social Media
Pixabay is one of our personal favorites. It has a vibrant community of sharing copyright free high-quality images and videos. All visual content uploaded on the platform are released under Creative Commons CC0. Thus, they may be used freely for almost any purpose – even commercially and in printed format – without having to ask for the owner’s permission or give credit to the artist. Attribution is not required, but will be appreciated.
They have everything you need for creative projects and upload every single week. All images on Public Domain Archive are released under CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication, which means that any image found on their website can be copied, modified, and distributed by users commercial or non-commercial purposes.
Not only you will find free awesome visuals to use for your social media campaigns, but you will also get one of the most professionally edited sets of images on the web. They pretty much have every popular category covered. They have over 300,000 free high-resolution photos that are generously provided by a community of professional and amateur photographers worldwide. Users can also join the club and submit their best photos as long as they meet the guidelines required by Unsplash.
One of the things we love about Pexels is that it lets you filter the images by color. For example, if you choose the color green, you will get all those images that contain that specific tone or color in your search results. You can also browse through the most popular photos uploaded on the website. They have a feature wherein you can discover images that received the most views in the last 30 days. The site also offers copyright free videos that are grouped by categories which makes it easy for users to find exactly what they're looking for.
5. Stock Snap
Stock snap adds hundreds of high resolution images weekly that are free from copyright restrictions. The photos are taken by photographers around the globe, of which the best are only selected and uploaded by the their admin team, Snappa.
Images on Freerange Stock either come directly from their in-house photographers and archives or from a talented pool of creative photographers. When they acquire images, they are sharpened, colored, cropped and corrected. They also manipulate images in Photoshop to enhance them digitally. The original unedited pictures are archived and a 2400x1600 version is optimized and posted on the live site.
Fun Fact: Freerange Stock is an advertising revenue that supports the photographic community meaning that photographers earn money through the ads on their website. They get paid when users click on those ads that appear next to their uploaded images.
You can browse through content under each type of license in Flickr. For copyright free images, you can find them by going to Creative Commons page on their website. Flickr will show you the 100 most recent licensed bits and pieces. You also have the option browse through the photos by using filter "No known copyright restrictions" and typing in a particular keyword.
Rawpixel is proud of having the most diverse stock photos in the industry. They have obtained all the necessary model and property release so that users can feel safe in using their images for both personal and commercial projects. There’s a catch though: You cannot claim ownership of them since the image copyright is still their property.
9. Pickup Image
Pickup Image offer high quality premium free stock and public domain photos which enables you to copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.
Morguefile is one of the oldest free photo archive founded by Michael Connors in 1996. It's still up and running to serve as a free image exchange for creative professionals. The photos have been contributed by artists from around the world, ranging from amateur photo hobbyists to professionals.
We know that the quest to find the perfect image for your social media campaigns can be quite challenging, but we hope that with these resources, it will be easier for you to continuously produce highly-creative visual assets.