If you’ve ever had the pleasure of running a website or a blog with a decent amount of content, then you know how expensive it is to plaster relevant stock photos on every page. Even if you only pay a few dollars for each of them, that adds up rather quickly, and sometimes you just don’t have the luxury of splurging like that when you’re just starting out and need to save as much of your capital as you can.
You might just avoid using images, but that’s probably not the greatest idea, since people are very visual creatures, and every article you write should at least have one photo to get people’s attention and tie everything together. You could also go the shady route and use commercial images without paying for them, but of course that’s copyright infringement, and if your website gets even a little popular (which is the point of building it in the first place), that’s kind of a ticking time bomb; the last thing you want is to get sued.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to all these less-than-ideal choices: you can get stock photos for free. There are millions of images, in fact, that are either in the public domain or that have been released under different versions of the Creative Commons license. In other words, you can use them without paying for the license, often for even commercial purposes. Most of the images on Wikipedia fall under this category. A lot of them don’t even require attribution, and you can use them for whatever reason you’d like. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Well, the challenge here is that these images with liberal licenses are scattered all over the Internet. Just using the usual Google image search won’t necessarily allow you to find free ones easily, and you won’t always be able to examine the terms of the license if you do. What you need is a dedicated search engine that shows you free stock photos according to your keywords.
This is basically what Visual Hunt does. Just like any other stock photo site, you can search through millions of photos—hundreds of millions, in fact—and find exactly what you’re looking for. Sure, the selection isn’t always going to be as perfect as what you would find on a normal stock photo site, but considering that it’s free, there’s nothing much to complain about. All that Visual Hunt asks in return is that you link back to them as credit for providing this great service. This is totally optional, by the way.
One caveat, though, is that you should make sure to check the license on all of the photos. Just because they are free doesn’t mean that the creator doesn’t retain some rights. Specifically, check to make sure that the photo is available for commercial purposes, and also make sure that you are allowed to edit it if you wish to modify the photo in any way. You may also be required to give credit to the original creator.
So if you need lots of images for your blog and you want to save some money, find some free ones with Visual Hunt. Many of the stock photos on this site are extremely high quality, and you may just find that you won’t have to pay for another image again.