Are you paying for high resolution images for your place marketing? Stop! There are many sites offering royalty-free, copyright free images and videos. Before you whip out the company credit card to purchase images for your economic development e-newsletter, blog posts, social channels and website, check out some of the great sources of free images listed below, then bookmark this post for easy access.
To understand how these free images work, it's helpful to understand Creative Commons licensing. Some of the sites below offer Creative Commons CC0 works that can be downloaded, modified, distributed and used,even for commercial purposes, all without asking for permission. Many of the sites don't require you to credit the artist, though it is considered common courtesy to do so in recognition of their generosity in providing the images for free. Other kinds of Creative Commons licenses exist, requiring attribution, limiting use of works for commercial purposes, or prohibiting modification, so have a look at the licensing requirements for each work.
- Flickr: This is the first place I go for creative, high-quality images. Arguably the world's biggest online photo sharing community for professionals and amateurs alike, Flickr offers users the chance to filter their search by license level, with a huge selection of copyright-free options. Just click on the "License" dropdown tab in the upper left hand corner to select your preference (see image below). Each image comes with a link that explains what that license level means for you as end user.
- Pixabay: This site offers a good selection of searchable Creative Commons CC0 (copyright-free) images. If you choose not to set up a free account, you'll need to fill out a captchafor each download to prove you aren't a robot.
- Unsplash: A little more artsy and thematic, the images here are gifted by photographers who waive all copyright. While no credit is required, it is appreciated. See how to give credit here.
- Wikimedia Commons: Over 40 million media files in the public domain are available, with many images of maps, city skylines, elected officials, as well as general and thematic content.
- Freerange: A free registration gives you access to thousands of high-rsolution stok photos for personal or commercial use.
- Pexels: This site offers a great collection of Creative Commons CC0 images to "empower creators." Their searchable database includes original image, and also draws from sites such as Gratisography and Little Visuals.
- Life of Pix: Beautiful, original images that can by used copyright-free. Also check out their companion site, Life of Vids, if you are looking for stock video without copyright restrictions.