Creative Commons is an American non-profit organization that provides free, easy-to-use copyright licenses to creators so the public has permission to share and use the work, based on the conditions of the creator’s choosing. For example, a NonCommercial license means that you cannot use the image for commercial purposes, while an Attribution license requires people who use the work in any way to grant credit for the image. This does not mean that the image is free to use, however. Unsplash has their own license which grants users permission to use all photos published on the site for free, for both commercial and non-commercial purposes, without attribution. Nappy.co is a stock photography website with “beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people.” The site offers businesses of all sizes to be more purposeful about representation in their marketing. All photos posted on Nappy are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license and are free to download, edit, share, use, and distribute without credit. Burst curates Collections, much like Unsplash, but you cannot create them yourself. Otherwise, you can browse photos by Burst’s “top free pics” of the week or search for something specific. When you’re done, download the graphic and upload it to your next social post! You don’t need to be a pro to create beautiful social media graphics With these tools and resources, you’re ready to start sharing graphics that capture your customer’s attention and drive them to your website or your store.
You know the saying, “you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover?”
While it’s something we’ve all been taught since childhood, we humans are actually pretty terrible at it. In fact, did you know people typically form a first impression in a mere 50 milliseconds?
For a small business owner, this statistic can be daunting. The pressure is on to make a good first impression. When people are posting every second of every day using social media marketing, it’s even more challenging to stand out.
What’s the secret to capturing attention and making a good impression? Sharp, professional images.
Social media posts that include images produce 650 percent higher engagement than text-only posts. Looking for the secret to capturing the attention of prospective customers in a short amount of time? Images are a surefire way to do so.
But, wait a second! You’re a small business owner. You may know everything there is to know about baking, financial spreadsheets, fitness classes, real estate, church services, or how to run a restaurant…but photography? That might not be at the top of your list of specialties. Unless you actually own a photography company, or happen to have a photographer on your staff, chances are you could use some help finding crisp, clean images to use for your marketing.
The rules of using free images on the internet
As you’re looking for free photo resources, there’s a good chance you’ll come across some terms you may not understand. Creative Commons, public domain, and royalty-free image rules help outline who can use the photos and how they can be used.
It’s important to check the terms and conditions for each site you visit, as well as take note of any required attribution, in order to avoid any copyright or unlawful use issues.
What is Creative Commons?
Creative Commons is an American non-profit organization that provides free, easy-to-use copyright licenses to creators so the public has permission to share and use the work, based on the conditions of the creator’s choosing.
If a photo states that it’s available under a Creative Commons license, be sure to check what type it is. There are six main Creative Commons licenses and each one grants users a different level of permissions. For example, a NonCommercial license means that you cannot use the image for commercial purposes, while an Attribution license requires people who use the work in any way to grant credit for the image. Photographers work hard to create these images, so it is important to respect the terms each license requires.
What does it mean if an image is “public domain?”
If you find something that states it is public domain, this means that the creative work has no exclusive intellectual property rights applied to it. In other words, the public owns the work, not an individual. This means you are free to use the work without obtaining permission.
Please note that just because you found something online does not mean that it is in the public domain. Always make sure that you’re not using someone else’s work without express permission.
What does “royalty-free” mean?
Royalty-free means you have the right to use copyrighted material without the need to pay royalties, or license fees, for each use. This does not mean that the image is free to use, however. Many royalty-free images come with a one-time fee you pay to download the image, but a royalty-free license means that you don’t have to pay every time you use it.
Now that you’ve read the rules, it’s time to find free stock photo websites to help you get started.
Free stock image resources (yes, free)
While stock images are oftentimes associated with being fake or cookie cutter, these sites are chock full of authentic images to help your brand stand out.
With over 850,000 free high-resolution photos submitted by a community of photographers, Unsplash has become a popular option for stock photos. Unsplash has their own license which grants users permission to use…