Jul 7, 2015

Select & Source the Most Visually Appealing, Relevant (Free) Images for Your Blog

by Digital Marketing Institute

Designed by Freepik

If you’re a content marketer or social media superstar, you’ll know how difficult it is to source quality, high-resolution images for free. Sometimes it’s darn near impossible to find that picture perfect photo for your digital marketing campaign, freshly penned post or social media update.

That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to scan the Internet and find the best free open source websites around. We’ve chosen a selection of websites that offer quality stock photographs, illustrated images and unique artistic pictures so you don’t have to trawl the internet for hours. Or worse – risk a copyright penalty.

Check out the ultimate checklist of criteria to help you select the most relevant and stunning images to match your blog post’s tone and intent and help capture your audience’s roaming eye…

Your Perfect Image Make it Or Break It Criteria:

1. Are You Allowed to Use it?

If you use images that are under copyright you could risk incurring a hefty penalty. But how can you tell if your dream image is subject to copyright? Some of the warning signs include a watermark, a copyright symbol or a note indicating ownership. To ensure your images are copyright free, it’s best practice to source your images from an open source website (like the examples listed below).

2. Does it Make Sense?

Business vector designed by Freepik

Is your chosen image relevant to your blog post’s topic and message? Yes, readers will need to understand its context – in a digital marketing sphere filled with fleeting attention spans you’ll have to make sense fast.

Before you select your next image, ask yourself three questions:

  1. Does this image make sense to my message?
  2. Where does it make most sense to place it in my blog post?
  3. Does the ambience mirror or match my tone?

3. Does it Add Value?

Birthday vector designed by Freepik

Your mission? Only include images that add value to your posts. Of course, the term value is subjective and depends on your blog post type, tone and audience. Value-adding images can support your words, add depth to your message, illustrate examples that you’ve mentioned or visually highlight instructions on a how-to post.

Examples of Images That Add Value:

  • Screenshot examples.
  • Illustrative images showing readers how to do something.
  • Humorous images that add an entertaining angle to your posts.
  • Pictures of relevant case studies.
  • Insightful industry infographics.

4. Is it Engaging?

Your images (especially your lead and featured image of your blog post) will need to catch your reader’s attention and pique their interest immediately. You should, therefore, select an image strong enough to capture the scanning, easily-distracted eyes of social media fans. What makes an image compelling? It’s the image that elicits the emotion you would like your reader to feel – happy, motivated, etc.

5. Is it High Quality?

You will need to ensure that each image you include is high quality. How do you know if you’ve chosen a high quality image? It will be high-resolution and will scale on mobile seamlessly. It will be rich in tone, unpixelated and also tick all of the criteria above. But there’s no need to panic…we’ve found some great websites that help you source quality images below.

How to Source Free, Quality Images for Your Blog:

1. Getty Images

Website: http://www.gettyimages.ie/

Why Getty Images?

Getty Images is one of the largest stock photo libraries in the world, with more than 80 million still images and illustrations and over 50,000 hours of stock photo footage. Getty Images is a super useful bank of resourcefulness that allows you to choose from five streams – ‘Creative’, ‘Editorial’, ‘Video’, ‘Music’ and ‘iStock.’

And Here’s How it works:

To Source Your Free Images:

  • Simply click ‘Select media type’.
  • You’ll be presented with a choice of visual content to choose from, including: ‘Creative’, ‘Editorial’, ‘Creative Video’ and ‘Editorial Video.’
  • You will then be presented with two choices – one is ‘Rights Managed’ and one is ‘Rights Free’. Select ‘Rights Free’ for access to free images.

To Search for Specific Terms:

  • Enter the term you would like to search for and click the Search icon.

To Embed Images into Blog Posts:

  • Hover your mouse over your selected image and choose the embed symbol (the one on the right hand side).
  • You will be presented with a screen like the one below – simply copy the entire embed code provided.
  • When drafting your blog post in WordPress, simply paste the code into the Text section in the appropriate place you would like your text to appear.
  • Click save and preview to ensure your image displays correctly.

2. Freepik.com

Website: http://www.freepik.com/

Why Freepik?

Freepik has a team of dedicated designers who create free images for individuals to use for personal, business and digital projects. They also work with new up and coming designers who would like to get their designs seen across the web.

Freepik is perfect if you want a break from the usual stilted stock photography you see on every other blog and if you can’t afford to hire your own designer. Plus these generous and super talented creative types genuinely care about their designs so you can rest assured you’ll always find plenty of high quality options.

And Here’s How it works:

  • Simply search for your desired term in the search box provided and click on the search icon.
  • Click on your chosen image and you will receive a pop up screen (like the one displayed below).
  • Copy the embed code on the right hand side and paste it into the section you would like the image to appear on your blog (this is a necessary step to credit the author).
  • Select the green ‘Free Download’ box on the right hand side of the screen.
  • You will receive a zipped folder that includes your image – simply unzip the folder and copy and paste your image into your blog above the embed code you have already pasted in.

3. Death to the Stock

The Website: http://deathtothestockphoto.com/

Why Use Death to Stock?

Death to Stock is well worth a visit because they are a bunch of creatives who want to help other creatives construct beautiful digital experiences. The masterminds behind this generous venture genuinely care about photography and the people who want to make their website, blog posts and digital ventures prettier, less stilted and stock image focused.

How it Works:

You enter your email address in the box provided and click ‘Let’s Go.’ They then email you a fresh pack of 10 high-resolution photos every month. It’s as easy as that.

4. Unsplash

Website: https://unsplash.com/

Why Unsplash?

Unsplash offers a selection of free high-quality photos taken by talented photographers. All photos on the site are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, edit and/or distribute all images as you see fit. This makes them the perfect companions for customising your digital marketing campaigns. In addition the photos are unique, artistic and contain a certain depth of feeling that will help evoke good vibes in your readers.

How it Works:

The site releases 10 new images each month for individuals, digital marketers and business professionals to grab. Simply download your desired image and pop it in your blog post in the most relevant section.

To Search for Specific Subjects or Keywords:

  • You can search for your chosen subject or keyword by clicking on the search icon on the left hand side of the screen.
  • Subjects include: buildings, food and drink, nature, objects, people and technology.
  • To search for a specific term type your keyword into the search box provided and click on the search icon.

For Inspiration:

To get inspired for using and customising Unsplash images on your website, check out the best examples they display on their website.

Check out the DMI Forum Thread with a list of sources for Free Stock Images, Video and Audio

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