As a blogger, you know high quality, compelling images that relate to your topic are a key element to make your posts stand out and engage your readers (and if you don't, you're missing out!). Where to find photos for blog posts that are great, cheap and safe to use from a legal perspective, is the question that permanently spins around blogger's minds. And we have the perfect answer!
“But guys, I can get photos for free on the Internet”. Well, you can indeed, but it's a very dangerous practice for your blog! Free photo sites that let you download and use images free of charge and with little restrictions appear to be a God-sent solution, but they, in fact, hide considerable legal risks for any blogger using them.
The best way to get images for your blog is, you guessed, through stock photo agencies. Most of these companies provide a license that covers the use of images in blog posts and other publications, they have very affordable rates and great image quality.
Our own Stock Photo Secrets Shop is an excellent resource to get beautiful imagery for your blog posts. Our license covers the use in publications, we have over 6 million images available and as they are all tailored for small and medium-sized budgets the plans and prices are pocket-friendly.
Do you think it's too good to be true? Stay with us as we explain it all in detail and you'll see it's very real!
The reasons why free photos from the web aren't safe to use in your blog are many, but let's sum it up to the main three:
- They are not legally verified
- They represent a potential risk of being blamed for copyright infringement
- You could end up having to pay thousands of dollars in compensation to authors.
You didn't think it was that bad, eh? But sadly it is. The problem with most free photo sites is that they usually don't have/won't commit enough resources to image verification. Add to that the fact that many of them enable user submissions, and you have a considerable hidden legal risk.
The reason is simple. Free photos still operate under a license, often a variant of Creative Commons license. These licenses do not require you to pay any fees for the image usage, but they're still the document that validates said usage. But (and this is a big but) image licenses are only legal as long as the one authorizing them is the copyright owner of the images. And if the site lets anyone upload images to be offered for free and they do not police the process, how can you know the licenses are valid?
Stock photo agencies and paid photo services dedicate time, money and knowledgeable staff to review the photos they will offer to customers, granting all the legal permits are in order. They also punish fraudulent submissions and often times add a legal guarantee to their service, included in license terms. But free photo sites leave it up to you to do all the verifications to ensure whoever put a photo up for free download is actually the owner. This does not mean you cannot use their services, but that if you do, you definitely should invest time in verifying the legal status of the images yourself.
For more in-depth info, read our explanation on the 5 risks in using free photos from the web.
We love stock photo agencies. They provide an affordable and simple way to get imagery for all kinds of purposes, and that includes blogging. We have a full list with 20+ great stock photo agencies to choose from! However, not all agencies are suitable for publishers.
In most companies, the best and cheapest prices for images are those of high volume subscriptions, for 750 images a month or more. Sure it's great to have such a large number of downloads available, and if you can afford the $200+ a month it costs, you should definitely go for it. But how many of you bloggers out there can commit this amount every month just for photos? And how many of you really need almost a thousand images per month? Many agencies include lower-priced options, but this usually means the price per image is higher, and you get less for your money in the long run.
And let's talk about licensing terms. Stock photo agencies sell Royalty Free licenses for their photos. RF is a very flexible license that gives you a wide range of usage rights, including use in digital publications. However, many agencies do not fully cover specific points that are key to blogging. Use of images in social media is an important one: you want to be able to use the same photo from your article in your social media posts for greater coherence in promotion, but not all agencies allow you to use their photos this way, so you have to make sure to check their terms before downloading images.
Do you have trouble finding the perfect images for your blog? Learn how reverse image search can help you!
Short and sweet:
- It's a stock photo service, oriented to small and medium-sized businesses and individuals
- Provides only legally-verified photos of the best quality
- Has a Royalty-free license that covers all your publishing needs
Being aware of the hazard in free photo sites and knowing not all stock photo agencies fully cover blogger needs for photos, the team and I wanted to make sure our own stock photo agency is a complete solution to using professional images in blogs. And we feel we did it!
The Stock Photo Secrets Shop has a library with 6 million professional images ready to download and use. All images are sourced from a network of professional photographers, correctly cleared for commercial use. And it's not hidden behind a paywall: you can search and explore the entire collection on the website for free, to make sure we have what you need before you commit to a paid plan.
We have specially tailored plans, thought for small and medium-sized budgets. Our flagship is the 99Club plan, which gives you 200 image downloads for one year, for only $99.
It's a very flexible deal as there are no monthly download limits nor hidden fees, and all images come with Standard Royalty-Free license enabling usage in blogs and all kinds of online publications, as well as various marketing and commercial uses. Basically, our license allows you to use the photos in your blog posts, and in all needed supporting material for them, such as social media posts, and even physical prints!
Low Volume & 299Club
If you like this offer but you need more than 200 images, you'll be pleased to know we also have the Low Volume plan, that gives you 600 image downloads for one year for just $199.
And the recently added 299Club, with 1000 image downloads for one year for $299.
These deals work exactly the same as 99Club, only with bigger download allowances.
Monthly Subscriptions & On-Demand
Additionally, we have regular subscription plans, with monthly download limit, that you can hire month-to-month or annually starting at $35 for 25 images, as well as image packs starting at 5 downloads for $49, in case you want to test the waters or you simply don't need that many images or don't need them that often.
Point is, whatever your individual image needs are, we have you covered!
If you're running a blog, this is by far the best solution around to get photos for your blog that are professional, legal, and cheap. You can hardly ask for more!
As you can see, the answer to where to find photos for your blog is more complex than just pointing in one direction. Your budget and your specific needs are to be considered.
The Stock Photo Secrets Shop is a cost-effective way to get photos for online publishing, as it's a complete service that aims at providing affordable photos and takes care of all important points regarding legals. All you have to do is choose images, add them and post.
And if you are going for other options –perhaps check our list of the 7 best stock photo subscriptions-– remember the keys to use them safely. If choosing free photo sites, don't forget it's up to you to do the homework and track copyright owner and models to ensure the photo is legal and safe to use, because the source site won't do it for you. If going with another stock photo agency, always read their licensing terms carefully and make sure you are using the photos in an accepted way to avoid any trouble.
Now that you are armed with knowledge and alternative, it's time to boost up your articles with great images!