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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mother and daughter outside free stock photo

This nice natural portrait of a young Mum and her daughter enjoying time together in a park is available as a free download from Dreamstime.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Best microstock sites for free photos

Many of the microstock stock photography sites have some photos that are available for free. The sites offer these images as incentives to attract visitors but there is no requirement to do anything more than sometimes register on the site in order to download free images. The advantage the microstock sites offer over many regular free photo sites is the availability of higher resolution images and a generally higher quality of photos.

Sites that have a searchable collection of free images
These sites maintain seperate collections of photos and illustrations that can be searched and/or browsed. They therefore offer a very useful resource in your hunt for a free image when you're after something specific.

Dreamstime - Dreamstime have a very user friendly searchable free section that offers high resolution downloads.
123rf - 123 Currently offering over 25,000 free images! Images stay in the free collection for 30 days so the content is constantly being refreshed.
FeaturePics - Themed collections of free photos created by FP contributors.

Bigstockphoto don't actually promote any free images on their site but they do make them available to site developers. Scroll down to the bottom of any page on this blog and you'll find links to search and browse the free photos you can get from Bigstockphoto.

Sites that offer regular free images
These sites only have from one to a small selection of images available for free at any given time. They aren't, therefore, great for finding a free photo for a particular use when you need it. Visiting these sites regularly though will enable you to build up your own collection of free photos for potential future uses.

iStockphoto - iStock have a free image of the week and these are archived so at any time there are several available for download. Arguably some of the highest quality free images available.
Shutterstock - Offer a free photo and free vector each week.
Crestock -A fresh free photo is served up every day, and there is an RSS feed if you'd like to subscribe.
Fotolia - Have a large database of free images from which a different selection are available each day. Update; Fotolia now encourage you to connect with them on their facebook page to access their free images.

So there is a wealth of good quality imagery available for free from the microstocks, and if you can't find quite what you need their prices for regular images are of course micro cheap!

Free Money!

Well not quite, but this money photo is available as a free download and the perspective used makes it useful for illustrating money making and success concepts.

Download the full size (2560x1920 pixels) image here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How to find free photos on Flickr

If you haven't already done so you might like to read the previous post on Creative Commons licenses. CC licenses are the things that make it possible to find photos and images to use for free on Flickr, but there are usually still terms and restrictions, so it is important to understand what is being offered. Usually attribution is required; so you need to credit the photographer as author of the work.

The whole of Flickr is not a source of free photos! While Flickr is the Internets biggest photo sharing site the term 'showing' would really be more accurate. Photo sharing on Flickr does not mean any image can be downloaded and used for free. It depends on the license a Flickr user has chosen to publish an image with and if they have gone with traditional copyright "all rights reserved" then the image may not be used without first seeking permission to do so.

However Flickr is a great source for free photos and images if you know where to look! To find photos for free we need to filter Flickr's collection to show us only images available under Creative Commons licenses. Before starting a specific search you should be clear about what you need the photo for in order to look for the applicable CC license that will allow this.

To search for CC photos
Go to the advanced search page on Flickr. This page gives you various options for fine tuning a search on Flickr. The last of these at the bottom of the page is an option to show only content with a creative commons license. This is what you want to find images, and videos, available to use for free. If you want photos etc to use commercially or to adapt yuo can further filter the results to allow for this.

To browse for CC photos
Or to use Flickr terminology, Explore! Go to the Creative Commons page on Flickr. Here you'll find brief definitions of the different license options and links to explore content available under each diferent set of options.

Flickr can be a gold mine for creative photos and a lot of great content is available to use for free. Just remember to credit authors and abide by any other CC terms and if you find an image that is just what you need but isn't Creative Commons licensed then be sure to contact the photographer to seek permission to use their work.

What is a creative commons license?

Creative Commons (cc) is a non-profit organisation founded by Lawrence Lessig with the aim of facilitating the easy sharing and use of creative works. The premise being that traditional copyright laws are too restrictive in this regard by preventing creatives who would like to make their work more freely available from easily doing so.

It should be noted that an image, photo or an other creative work made available under a creative commons license may be free in that payment for its use isn't required but it is not usually entirely free from restrictions and conditions on the use of the work. The nature of these depends on the particluar CC license the creator of the work chooses to use; there is no single creative commons license but many versions depending on the combination of permissions and restrictions set. The copyright of CC works does still remain with the original creator.

Photos and images offered under Creative Commons Licenses will usually come with the attribution condition. This means the author is happy for the image to be used as long as credit is given, so for instance if the image is used on a blog a credit line and link back to the photographer's own site or Flickr stream for example is required. Often sources offering CC images will provide the details of what is required and any necessary code.

Other common terms used in CC licenses concern the further sharing and distribution of works, the use of works in derivative work and the use of works for commercial purposes. An image made available under a CC license may, therefore, still have rights retained by its author that prevent some uses. It is important to understand the particular license that is being offered in order to avoid infringing an author's copyright; remember CC images are still the copyright of the author and are only free to use within the terms of the CC license they are offering!

Here's a nice video presentation that explains the ideas and benefits of using CC licensing.

So, with that understanding of creative commons licensing, where do you find photos and images to use for free under a CC license?

Free Valentines Day stock photo

Valentines day is one of those dates that demands coverage so if you need some good free stock photos for your blog or website now is the time to start searching!

This shot is actually a crop from a wider view of a pinboard with other pieces of paper that make great space to add your own copy. The shot could also illustrate office romance topics around Valentines day.

The original file is 2912x4368 pixels (12.7 MP) and can be downloaded for free here.

Or click on any of the images below which are all also available as free stock photos.

Free photo of beautiful happy woman

This image of a beautiful young woman enjoying the outdoors in Autumn / Fall is available as a free stock photo at a full resolution of 2336x3504 pixels (8.2 MP).

Click here to download this free stock photo.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Free green leaf texture stock photo

Creative Commons License
This photo is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

If you require a larger high resolution file size or want to use the image for commercial purposes click here.

Free Stock Photos

This blog is a source and showcase for stock photos and images that are available for use without payment. This is distinct from Royalty Free Photos which actually aren't usually free but are just confusingly named! Go here for an explanation of stock photo licensing terms.

Images made available on this blog will usually be licensed under these creative commons terms meaning they may be freely used for non-commercial purposes in return for attribution such as a link back to this blog, the image author's website or other agreed site.

For commercial use and/or higher resolution images where applicable please follow any relevant links to download the images with a standard royalty free licence.