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How to find totally free images for your business, legitimately

marketing Feb 06, 2024

By Jane Steen, Small Business Marketing Expert

Most of us need images for our business, whether it's to illustrate a blog post (like this one!), to make an advert more interesting, or to use on a leaflet or flyer. And the good news is, you don't have to infringe an artist's copyright by pinching their carefully crafted photograph or artwork from other people's web pages! Instead, there are lots of websites which will let you have images completely free of charge.

Traditional image libraries, such as Shutterstock, do have some great images. But they come with a hefty price tag if you just need an image every now and then. To avoid incurring costs, take a look at these free image sources instead.

Pixabay: This website is a great resource for a whole range of different photographs. The library tends towards conventional, not particularly arty, images but that's great if you're marketing to a mainstream or corporate audience.

An example of a free image from Pixabay:

Unsplash: While some of the images on the Unsplash site are paid-for (watch out for Unsplash Plus icon), this site is another good resource. The images tend to be more arty than Pixabay's, which is ideal if you've got a fashionable or premium brand.

An example of a free image from Unsplash:

Raw Pixel: If you need illustrations rather than photos, Raw Pixel is one of the best resources. It has many free images mixed among paid-for ones; use the 'Free' filter to sort through to the totally free options. There is also an AI-generated design option in which you can add or remove certain elements of your chosen image.

An example of a free image from Raw Pixel:

Pexels: The images in this library tend to be similar in style to those on the Pixabay site, making Pexels a good alternative if you can't find what you want on Pixabay.

An example of a free image from Pixels:

Burst: This site seems to have fewer images than some of the others, but is worth checking out if you're struggling to find the right images on other websites. Burst has recently become part of the Shopify website-builder group, so potentially in the future you may need an account to download an image.

An example of a free image from Burst:

Canva: Many of you will be familiar with using Canva for creating artwork, but have you tried the AI function? You can use it to create any image you can conceive, from a friendly team of florists to a unicorn playing the bagpipes. One thing to note is that the results tend to look more like illustrations than photographs. The technology is at a relatively early stage, so you may find your unicorn has six legs instead of four, but you can repeat your request as many times as you like.

Pick any design template (or use one of your old designs that you don't need any more), delete all the elements from it so that you have a plain white background, then look for the Magic Media button on the left. Type in some text to explain what you'd like Canva to design, then add the finished image to your plain white background. You can then download the image to use in your marketing activity. If you'd like to add the image to an existing or new Canva design, just don't delete any of the design's original elements.

Friendly florists:

A unicorn playing the bagpipes:

I hope you found that useful!



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