2012 is definitely the year of the image. More that ever the web is becoming visually driven by rich photos, videos and graphics. Take Pinterest for example. Pinterest.com is a social community built on visual bulletin boards of interests and it has taking off in a big way. According to Jeff Bullas, “…in January 2012 (in the space of just 3 weeks), Pinterest traffic has increased from 10 million users a month to 17 million!” A recent post on Mashable shared seven Pinterest clones (and there are a lot more than 7!).
The Pinterest interest seems to possibly had an effect on Facebook as they have launched their new “Timeline” which displays pictures much larger, in two columns, looking more like a bulletin board. Not to be left behind, Twitter is getting into the game with their new “Enhanced Profile Pages“. And of course there is also Google+ featuring and displaying large photos in it’s profile feeds.
The point is that now more than ever your social networks, blogs and web sites, need to be enhanced with interesting, attention grabbing photos, videos and graphics. One of the hottest graphic trends is “Infographics” which are visual representations of information, data or knowledge designed to present complex information quickly. There are some great examples at coolinfographics.com. (tip: look for the infographic links in each blog post)
Base on this visually rich reality, I want to share six of my favorite places to get FREE photos, icons and images for your web and print needs. What I really like is that most of these sites allow you to contribute you own images as a way to give back. Be sure to notice that these site also sell images so be sure you are shopping the free section.
Please note: Although free, each image will have a use license. This license will give parameters of how you can or cannot use the image. Please be aware of these terms and abide by them.
Here are My Top Six…
Stock.xchng – http://www.sxc.hu – My personal favorite! A Free stock photo site hosted by Getty Images, one of the top providers of stock photos. 350.000 quality stock photos by more than 30.000 photographers! Free downloads without any registration requirements.
Morgue Files Photo Archive – http://www.morguefile.com – The morgueFile free photo archive allows you to download without need for registration. You can also contribute your own images to the free photo image archive. Over 11,000 free images.
Creation Swap – http://www.creationswap.com – I included this because it is an interesting twist directly marketing to churches by providing church media shared or sold by thousands of Christian artists. Search photos, logos, church bulletins, sermon graphics and more.
Public Domain Pictures – http://publicdomainpictures.net – After you create a profile, you can right mouse click and download low-res images for free. You are asked to pay a subscription fee to download unlimited high-resolution files. Your choice of daily, monthly, 30days or yearly, ranging from $4.99 – $89.99. Over 18,000 images.
Public Domain Sherpa – http://www.publicdomainsherpa.com/public-domain-photographs.html – I like this one for those hard to find unique images like the one I used here. This is a post about finding and using public domain photographs with a good list of reference sites.
Free Icons – http://icons.mysitemyway.com – This is where I like to find current icons to use on my web sites (i.e. social icons, e-mail icons, print icons, etc.) Royalty Free Icons & Clipart Stock Images. Free downloads with no registration or log-in required.
These are the best of the best that I have found, but you may know of some others well worth sharing. If you do please leave a comment and let us know about them…