Various images

When you only have a few seconds to grab people’s attention, images and photos can help your content stand out in a big way. Our brains can process visual information much faster than text, and content with images receives much more engagement than content without.

Copyright infringement and the resulting legal hassles pose a real risk to marketers searching for great visuals. To avoid these issues you usually need to buy images from relable stock photo companies. But if your budget is tight, here are a few sources of free, legally-available images for you to tap when needed.

1. Flickr Creative Commons

Stock images are usually available under a Creative Commons license, which allows for the free distribution of copyrighted material. Flickr makes locating images with this type of license easy. Go to Flickr’s advanced search, enter a keyword and narrow your search by your chosen Creative Commons license type – most of the time, you’ll find exactly what you need. Just make sure you give your free pics the proper attribution when you use them.

2. Unsplash

This site only adds 10 new images every 10 days, but these royalty-free photos are usually spectacular. The photos here have a realness and honesty that you don’t always find with stock images. You’ll probably find yourself browsing through the site long after you found the image you needed.

3. New Old Stock

This site contains a curated selection of photos from the Flickr Commons – a repository of photos from institutions all over the world that have no known copyright restrictions. Not to be confused with Creative Commons, the Flickr Commons contains photos that are old enough to be part of the public domain or belong to an agency that have granted its permission for use.  New Old Stock shows you the best of these images.

4. Gratisography

If you’re looking for something a bit different, try this amazing collection by web designer and artist Ryan McGuire. His quirky photos are free and require no attribution –   just don’t try to sell or submit his free pics to another photography site as your own.

5. Death to the Stock Photo

Don’t worry – the creators of this innovative service don’t really want to kill off stock photography. Instead, they want to do away with the stereotype of mediocre, uninspiring stock images.  Users who sign up for Death to the Stock Photo’s email list will get new stock photos delivered to their inbox each month.  Their license system is similar to Creative Common, and they do a good job explaining it in plain English on their website.

6. Jay Mantri

This California-based designer and photographer adds new images to his site every week.  Mantri tends to favor black-and-white photos, and his images rarely feature people – you’re free to choose any image from the site and do what you please with it. In addition to sharing his own free pics, Mantri also suggests new photographers to follow on Instagram each week.

Low Cost Premium Images

These sources will help you track down the free pics and photos you need to make your content more eye-catching and engaging. But free stock images to fit your content aren’t always easy to find or they are more likely to be overused.

If you’re looking for high-quality images that are the perfect fit with your content at a low cost, Constant Content offers a catlog of over 70 million premium images through a partnership with Shutterstock for less than buying through Shutterstock directly.

Good luck and happy image sourcing!