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Dress up Your Content with Royalty Free Images

My Gift to You: How to Get Free Images for Your Content

Content, blessed content. Many of us are writing and publishing blogs and other content for many reasons – for marketing, SEO, brand evangelism, education, authority and so on. And we need some go-to sites for royalty free images. If you’re like me, you are always looking for a few good resources where you can get high quality photos that enhance your content visually. You want fast, free images that don’t require you to offer up your first born child just to get them.

I’m going to share just a few sites that offer royalty free images, based on my recent test. Here were my criteria:

  • There is no complex licensing. I don’t know about you, but if I have to read lengthy documentation, and alter the image, and sign a waiver, and provide attribution, I’m just completely overwhelmed. I can do one or two of those things, but if it involves clicking over to more than one piece of information to figure out how to use an image, I lose patience. I know Flickr is very popular, for example, but it’s off my list because it’s too complex to figure out the licensing, attribution, and permissions stuff and I’m always certain I’ll do the wrong thing and get arrested or something.
  • A nice selection of high quality images pops up in a search, on any topic I may be writing about. ¬†This seems so simple, from a user perspective. But most of the people who build royalty free image sites, I’m convinced, do not think like a user. They think like a sales person or an attorney, or both. How frightening is that? I have nothing against sales people or attorneys, mind you, but they probably shouldn’t be in cahoots in the building of royalty free image sites.
  • The images are large, so you can set them to various sizes without losing resolution. Wait until you see the results below. These are severely reduced from their original size. I’ll bet there’s special terminology for that in the image world.

Okay, here we go. The royalty free sites that passed my test were (drumroll)….

1. Morguefile. Morbid name aside, this is an awesome site. The requirements for using the gorgeous free image below were to alter it in some way. Simple enough! I just used some image editing software to crop it to a smaller size. Morguefile did not even require attribution. Look at the resolution! The delicious detail. You can almost hear the crackle of a fire nearby, the jingling of bells and hoofs on the rooftop.

Christmas Ornament

Image credit: Morguefile.com

2. Pixel Perfect Digital. Again, an easy to use site that has great images, an awesome selection, and easy terms that give you confidence that you’re not victimizing people via copyright infringement. Just to give you an idea of how easy it is to get a nice image that doesn’t require an act of congress, check out the agreement for the picture below:

“Attribution means: We allow you to use this image for both personal and commercial projects (and create derivative works based upon it), but only if you credit pixelperfectdigital.com for the original creation.” Happy to! Thank you, Pixel Perfect Digital!

Neon Santa

Image credit: Pixel Perfect Digital

3. Microsoft Office Online. Okay, I know you weren’t expecting that one. You were probably thinking the last free image resource would be Dreamstime.com or Openphoto.net. Yes, they have their merits, but MS office has not only high quality, royalty-free images and an excellent search tool, but there really are no restrictions whatsoever.

Santa and the reindeer

Image credit: Microsoft Online

As a closing note, I just want to thank graphic artists and photographers everywhere for your great works. Images bring our digital world to life, make our dull and boring blog posts more visually appealing, and lend an air of wonder and professionalism to written content, which is – at the end of the day – just words on the page. Thank you.


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