When running a blog or business website you know that using HD images is of incredible importance. You know that it not only affects user experience positively but also boosts SEO score and conversions. It’s therefore a must to get your hands on tons of HD photos.
If you have the budget for it, you can, of course, buy all the pictures you need. But what do you do if you don’t?
There’s luckily a solution to this problem. Keep reading and learn how – and where – to tap the riches of the internet in the form of thousands of totally free HD images.
Creative Commons and Public Domain
Images that you find online are usually someone’s intellectual property protected by a license, which you should respect in order to stay on the right side of the law.
Some licenses require that you pay once for using certain media, while others make you pay royalties for as long as you use the image/media. There aren’t any limits for how much you can end up paying.
However, not all licenses should be paid for. Creative Commons and Public Domain are two types of licenses giving you access to millions of totally free HD images online.
While they are all free to use (you don’t need to pay), the licenses define a varying set of rules you have to comply with. They can range from simple attribution to complete restriction of use. You can review the different license types on this page on Creative Common’s website. The only type of license giving you full freedom is Public Domain. Public domain is in all simplicity a way to forfeit all copyrights.
3 Best Sources Of Totally Free HD Images + A Bonus!
Once you’ve understood how licensing works, all that’s left is to find the gold mines for free HD images online. There’re millions of smaller and bigger websites offering free HD pictures and that can make it time consuming and confusing to locate those that are truly worth to look at.
Luckily for you, that job’s already done. If you’re looking for HD photos to use on your blog or website – or otherwise, the sites listed below are truly among the best ones out there.
Pixabay is my favorite source of free HD images and the reasons why are many. They not only offer a large amount of HD photos on almost every topic you could think about, they also make it incredibly easy for their site users.
Unlike large galleries as Flickr, Pixabay offers exclusively images that are licensed under Public Domain and are thus completely free to use, also for commercial purposes.
They offer an okay filtering solution and a simple search function that returns a large number of relevant pictures. Besides photos, one can also find the clip-art kind of images.
All images can be downloaded in 4 different sizes, where the largest resolution requires registration. Needless to say though, it’s the fewest of us who need an image sized 4000+ pixels.
So, in conclusion, you get tons of high quality pictures, ease of use – and there’s no need for registration or payment as all images as completely free to use.
Unsplash reminds you a lot of a cheap blog as its design and navigation options aren’t something to brag about. However, don’t judge the site too quickly.
There are really a lot of pictures on it and if you manage to navigate to the one you want via the search option, it’s completely free to use.
The images are organized in albums but not all albums are named appropriately to help you find what you want. Therefore using the search function is your only chance.
One quite serious pitfall is that the download function doesn’t work as usual. When clicking on Download, you’re simply led to a new browser window with the image you chose. Then it’s up to you to figure out how to save it on your computer. Unfortunately, this means that you have no idea what the photo’s size is.
Even though it seems that there’re quite a few problems with the site itself, this is still a great source of completely free HD images – and it’s definitely worth a look. And if you have some coding experience, you might even consider offering your help to the author to make it better…
Foter is a large library with millions of free HD images. You can browse its content by category or by entering a search term.
There are a lot of photos to choose among and the quality is great. You can choose the size you prefer and download the picture.
The downsides are that you should really be on the lookout as the different images are licensed under different licenses, thus some of them can’t be used commercially or retouched. Also, download works by leading you to a new browser window where you should right-click to save the picture.
Some of the images are sourced from other libraries as Flickr and you should therefore be even more careful regarding attribution. You might indeed need to go to the original source to check author name and license. Attribution should be given to the author and the original source!
Registration is not required.
Bonus: CC Search
CC Search is a great search engine allowing you to browse images, music, video, etc. licensed under a CC license.
It works by you entering a keyword, choosing your license preferences, and choosing a site to explore.
The obvious downside is that you can only look through the content of one website at a time, so if you don’t find the HD images you want one place, you should start from the beginning again.
Another downside is that you should always be on the lookout for the license of the chosen pictures, as some websites ignore your license preferences and others simply “forget” them if you try to, for example, change your search.
That being said, CC Search allows you to browse through tons of free HD images and can be added to your browser bar for ease of use.