I have been researching stock photography for a few months now, and gathered some pretty great resources for entrepreneurs as far as quality imaging, and even found great stock photos for FREE. I’ve shared all of my findings freely with you all, and they have all been a huge hit.
I’ve continued my search and learned quite a bit about stock photography myself as a photographer, and as a consumer looking for a deal (freebies). What I have found is, a lot of stock photography is free until you want to use it for something specific, such as a paid OR even sometimes, free products of your own. And if you want to use it for something other than putting it somewhere as decoration to look at, there are many other permissions needing consideration.
Say you are a lifestyle blogger, or a virtual assistant looking to build a following through an email list, and you design a killer digital opt-in guide on How to Do a Certain Thing; Tips, Tools, & Tricks of the Trade to Do the Thing Right! You have an image for the cover, or the background of the pages from a free stock shop. If the owner of that image has not explicitly allowed the rights of this image to be for Commercial Zero, or Public Domain, or have some caveat in their license that allows you to use this image in your own products and redistribute it for free or for money, you can not use it… and if you DO choose to and get caught, that is Bad News freakin’ Bears up in there.
Research Image Licensing
The majority of “free” stock photos will have a basic CC license attached, with some having specific rules for attribution, and it is your responsibility to check whether or not you need to have attribution. Attribution is using an image or content however you wish, (with or without monetary gain intentions) but you are also saying somewhere in your product or content that that specific item is not yours, and then you state where you got it from. Giving credit.
There are two definitions you need to be clear on before you go creating content and selling it, and it is the difference between commercial and non-commercial. Commercial use means that it’s somehow making you money. Non-commercial use means that it’s not. Finding out which type of images you need will be as simple as thinking, “Will I sell this?” Even if you may possibly sell it in the future, your images need to have the proper license, and you the proper permission. Some Commercial licensed images require attribution, and some do not. ALL Creative Common licenses require some type of attribution, with the exception of CCZero.
Creative Common Zero is basically a No Rights Reserved statement. No one owns the rights to the works, at all. You’re free to re-make, redistribute, and charge for any creations you make with that item. Some items may have this permission, but state somewhere that you may not claim the content as your own, and you need to get familiar with where to find those terms.
Finally, my point. I have found 10 resources for high-quality, diverse, and beautiful and useful photographs anyone can use for anything, even if it is creating a product you want to sell, and you don’t have to say where you got the original image from. AKA: Public Domain Zero
*dun dunn DUUNNN*
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
See what I did there, I created a thing, my own intellectual property, and gave you permission to use it, download it, show other people, but not sell it, change it, or claim it as your own.
The bottom line is, if you are using an image you yourself did not create, and you are not exactly sure what your limitations are with it, research the license associated with it, and if you are STILL unsure, ask the creator, and be open with what your intentions are. It never hurts to ask, it may hurt to assume. Creative Common Licenses are enforceable by law.
If you are a content creator, and want to know which license you should keep your content under, read more about that here.
If you just want to click on the links to the sites without the download, here ya go.
Free Stock Photos Commercial List
For more high-quality FREE Stock photos, which you may use in creating commercial products, and have no attribution requirements, do sign up for the Happix Hookup, and get access to our Stock Photo Library, and tons of other freebies, resources, tips and tutorials on DIY design.