A study carried out by ROI research found that people are 44% more likely to engage with a brand if an image is involved. On Facebook, a post that includes an album or picture receives 120% to 180% more engagement from fans than a text-based post. According to 3M Corp, our brains process visual content 60,000 times faster than text. Suffice to say, images are often the perfect way to bring a piece of content to life, in order to attract the highest levels of engagement.
The good news is that images don’t need to be a high cost strategy, and if you know where to look, there are places on the web where you can get your hands on images and photography which are entirely rights free.
The symbol to look out for is CC0, which stands for Creative Commons Zero. Images with the CC0 license are completely free of all copyright restrictions around the world. This means “you can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.” When using such images, you may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.
CC0 is a universal instrument that is not adapted to the laws of any particular legal jurisdiction, similar to many open source software licenses. So it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, or the countries in which you wish to use or publish the images.
So to help you with your search, here are seven websites which host images available under the CC0 license:
Unsplash hosts some stunning photography, and sends subscribers 10 new photos every 10 days.
Pexels hosts over 2,000 photos licensed under CC0, and every week at least 35 new high res photos are added. All photos are hand-picked from free image sources.
StockSnap curates CC0 photos from around the web and selects photos from a number of daily submissions. Photographers are credited and their profiles linked to within the site.
Tinyography hosts free iPhone images, all available under the CC0 license. Don’t let the ‘iPhone’ bit deter you from the quality and originality of the images, which can all be downloaded in high resolution.
Gratisography features high resolution images by the same photographer as Tinyography, but images are different and added to weekly.
6. Little Visuals
Little Visuals is currently not being updated, as its 26-year-old founder sadly passed away from S.A.D.S (Sudden Adult death Syndrome). However the archive of photography is still available for download under CC0, and if you wish, you can make a donation to the Hand on Heart Charity.
Slightly different to the rest, Picjumbo hosts photography which is entirely free for private and commercial use. However the photographer requests an attribution if possible.
If you decide to steer away from these sites, just be sure to look out for the CC0 symbol, and make sure you are clear on the license terms before publishing or re-purposing an image.
For a few more site suggestions for sourcing great images, check out this post which lists a further 15 websites that feature both free and paid for images: 15 image sources for your next presentation.