6.4 Where to Find High-Quality, Free Royalty-Free Images

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WARNING: Goo-roo’s ain’t gonna like this

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In this video I discuss:

  • Where to find high-quality stock images that you can use for FREE
  • A brief discussion about what you need to do concerning attribution and licensing
  • A quick look at some of my favorite royalty-free stock image websites

Please direct all questions and requests for support to the FIMP Facebook group (free for registered members).


6.4 Transcript Below


Now that we’ve talked about how to format your content, and of course, I mentioned that you want to add images. You kind of need to know where to get the images and that’s what we’re going to cover in this lesson, alright?

So there are a lot of resources out there. This is not an exhaustive list. There are a lot more out there that you can look up. There are articles that have compiled all of the best. But I’m just going to share some of my favorites today.

And in my personal experience, I’ve never needed to go beyond these favorites. And as the years go on, we just get more and more and more options in this regard – which is really nice. You just have no reason to ever infringe on anyone’s copyright with all of the options we have these days. So that’s what we’re going to talk about in today’s lesson.

There are a lot of good options, like I said, and this is not at all exhaustive. But my personal favorites are: pixabay.com, unsplash.com, and burst.Shopify.com. A lot of people have kind of some confusion surrounding that last one because they think, “Oh, these are royalty-free images that I can only use on Shopify stores.” That’s not the case at all. It’s just a branch that Shopify launched that’s helpful for Shopify store owners, but it’s also really, really helpful for everyone else.

It’s not at all restricted to only being used on the Shopify platform. So you can use them on your WordPress website or on your blog or on your social media – whatever you want to do. It doesn’t have to be used on Shopify. But they have some really, really high-quality images there, which is one of the reasons it’s one of my favorites and it’s the most recent addition to my list of favorites.

You are also able… like if you do some research and you Google it, you can learn about how to use licensed specific images – which means that they have their licensing set a very specific way that it’s not necessarily as easy and straightforward as it is on my three favorites. Because most of those require no attribution – meaning you’re not at all required to say, “Hey, this image comes from this artist”, and linking back to their website and stuff like that.

You can use some images from Google and Flickr and other sites like that but the attribution is more complex to say the least and it varies a lot, sometimes from license to license. And in my experience, it’s just a lot easier to stick to the three that I’ve listed here or any other royalty-free image site where attribution is not required. And we’ll take a look at that as we get into some of these, okay?

The most important thing that I want to drill into you right now is do not use images that you don’t legally have the rights to because you can get some serious trouble for that.

I’ve had people that have violated my copyrights in the past and I just have to send a what’s called a DMCA takedown notice. DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act, I believe, and it’s just a standard for that I send to their hosting provider’s abuse department. And once I send that off, I usually hear back within 24 hours and they will literally shut that person’s entire website down because of one copyright violation.

And then on top of that, I have the rights to take them to court if I want to spend my time doing that – which is just a huge pain in the butt . And I wouldn’t do it unless it was just a really blatant violation of my copyrights and just like really… because they’re all blatant… but just like really harmful in one way or they were really benefiting anyway around it. Most people aren’t going to take you to court over it but some people will. Especially some of the really big brands. I believe Disney is a very staunch defender of their intellectual property, their trademarks and copyrights. You know, most football sports teams, et cetera.

So anyways, just don’t walk down that road. Don’t use images or graphics or anything like that. You don’t have the rights to because it can shut you down in a hurry. It can get your entire website shut down, it can damage your relationship with your hosting provider, it can end up with you being sued in a court of law – there are just all kinds of nightmares that you open yourself up to if you use images that you don’t have the rights to. So flat out – just don’t do it, alright? Take my word for it.

So let’s take a quick look at some of these. So I want to come over here… we’ll just kind of start at the top of my favorites and work our way down. You know on the home screen, they always have some of their most recent, really, really beautiful images and these are all images that you can use without attribution – which is just insane that you get access to these really, really high-quality images without attribution.

But obviously… usually you search, right? So I can search “tattoo” since we’re talking about Rue Tattoo. And I mean we’ve got all of these images that have to do with tattoos (this is a really cool one). And of course, you’ll get some risqué stuff here and there. Yeah, it just comes with the territory, I guess. Hopefully we can all be adults and look past that. But yeah, so we’ve got some really, really, really cool stuff in here.

But also… like you can put in “dog”… you know what… I mean, come on! Just adorable! Just precious! Alright, somebody click on the image you see over here – CC0 Creative Commons: Free for commercial use, no attribution required. And every single image I’ve ever pulled off with Pixabay has that qualification, has that license.

If you’re more of a cat person… you know what, instead of “cat”, let’s go “kitty”. Yeah, we’re going to break the internet today. So you know, you’ve got…same thing – click on it and you can download it in multiple different quality formats, different sizes. And if you create an account, it’s even easier to download because right now I’m not logged in into my account so they make me insert a CAPTCHA. At least at Pixabay, it’s really not that big of an inconvenience. But if you create an account, they don’t even bother you with that CAPTCHA. Okay, so that’s Pixabay. Long story short, really, really good one –

Unsplash as well… Unsplash and Burst.shopify.com have a smaller selection overall, in my experience. But on the whole, I would say that their quality is dramatically higher and more professional. Obviously, you just saw on Pixabay, you don’t have any shortage of really high-quality… God, that’s terrifying!… you know, a shortage of really high-quality professional photos. But sometimes, you’ll search really hard keyword like… let’s say you were looking for images for “synergy”. And you know, sometimes, it could just be really, really hard to find some stuff so you kind of have to play around with different keywords. And until you find something that pops up an image that you really like, you kind of think about, “Okay, ‘synergy’ isn’t a good word. Okay let’s try ‘business’,” okay? And so, you know, you get some images that are similar to what you might be looking for with “synergy” right? So you just have to kind of have to figure those things out.

But overall, I would say Unsplash has… like you saw over here… well okay, I was about to say “No business images. That’s great”. You’ll see, you know, Pixabay has a lot of these really crappy like these graphics. It just looked like crap… like who really uses these? They would just make your website look really dated and low-quality overall, in my opinion. I never use stuff like this. Even this… my God, she looks possessed.

But over here, you know, look at all these images for business. These are super, super high quality. All very related to business. And that’s just the difference you’re going to see between Unsplash and Pixabay sometimes. No idea what this has to do with business, but you know, whatever.

So you know, it works the same way. You would just come over here, you would click on it, and then you can download. You can even down… you have a shortcut to download right here. So you know, just really helpful stuff. Unsplash is excellent. So you can see Unsplash whenever you download an image, they say: “Crediting isn’t required…” Awesome! But… sorry for dogs barking… but you can… you can… Threw me off my groove! You can add attribution as kind of a thank you, as a kind of way to say thank you. I guess kind of really good etiquette if you’re using an image in a way that it really isn’t going to affect your content one way or another. But yeah, I very, very rarely do this. Just because (1) I don’t want to spend the time doing it and (2) I just don’t want that distraction on my website. So I very, very, very rarely do this.

But, yeah. So you could just click through and… same thing… let’s see… dog pictures. Oh, no. Let’s go “puppy”. I’m telling you, we’re going to break the internet today. So yeah, just really… again, the quality was good on Pixabay for the search term. But on Unsplash, you’re going to have a smaller selection overall, but the quality is typically out-of-this-world good. Very professional.

And the same thing is true for burst.shopify.com. I’d say even a smaller selection than Unsplash but overall, you’re going to have a lot of really good options, too. And it all works the same way. You know, download free photo, and you’ve got a Creative Commons license – you can click it to find out details about the license. So yeah, that’s basically it.

So I will say, I almost always find what I need on Pixabay. But there are times where I’ll put in a search term and I’ll just see all these really kitschy, corny, crappy graphics and I’ll go: “You know what, no.” I’ll go over to Unsplash and I’ll put in the same search term and other terms around that search term, trying to find an image. And if I still can’t find it…like let’s search… see what “tattoo” looks like here. Yeah. So again, lots of really, really, really good options. But like if I put in “tattoo removal”… probably not. Yeah, not as good options. I’m just getting a lot of tattoo stuff. And the same is probably going to be true of Pixabay.

So you just kind of have to work around these things. That’s not a horrible image for tattoo removal. But fortunately, I have plenty of my own personal pictures from tattoo removal that show removal pretty well. Now but you could see in this particular instance – nothing. None of these sites have anything for tattoo removal so I would just have to figure out how to work around that. I would use a different type of picture or something along those lines. You know like maybe “bandages” – which would indicate the recovery after tattoo removal. Yeah, so something more along those lines. My God, some of these are atrocious.

But yeah, you just kind of have to figure out… good God! Some of that’s getting graphic. I apologize. So we’ve had risqué and graphic at this particular video. That’s wonderful. Those are definitely boxes I was looking to check when I started.

So anyways, I think you get the point between these three and trying different search terms you should never ever need to go get images elsewhere. And if you do, it’s probably a really specialized image that you might want to end up taking yourself anyways – which almost all of the camera phones, cameras these days are high enough quality for you to take pictures for your blog and your website.

So we’ve just crossed a threshold in technology where images should never been an issue. 10 years ago, not the case. It was much, much harder than this. You basically had to shoot all of your images yourself unless you wanted to violate someone’s copyright or you had to pay a lot for stock images, you know. Seriously, as much as $20 to $25 each for a stock image. Like this stock image right here… the only mainstream option used to be iStock photo and it seriously would have cost me for a high-quality copy of this, $15 to $25.

So we live in a great day and age to start a website. The barriers to entry even lower that they used to be. And I think, again, between these three websites, you should have all of the access to all of the images you will ever need. Alright?

So, with all of that being said, as always, if you have any questions, feel free to post your question to the Facebook group – it’s free for registered members – and other than that, I will see you in Video 6.5. See you there!