Imagery is important to creating good content, but it can also be expensive. If you have the budget, please, by all means, go for the Getty Images or other sources. These images are usually extremely high quality and you’ll almost always find a photo that perfectly suits your needs.
But what if you don’t have that budget? Well, thankfully, there are some really great options. The ticky part is you may have to get creative because your options are limited - making it tough to find the perfect image - but all of these sources offer high resolution, high quality images that are free for personal or commercial use.
I only learned about Pexels recently and so far I’m impressed. The photos are high quality and there seems to be a pretty extensive selection. You can search based on keywords, making it relatively easy to find what you need. However, keep in mind that you may not find a perfect match, meaning you’ll often need to get creative with your keywords. It’s important to note here that the images require no attribution either (though it’s always nice, if you can).
My tip, when I am having trouble finding an image, do a Google images search and see what comes up - then search based on some of the keywords you can identify in the images that it finds. Often this will lead you towards related keywords by seeing the images that other people used to illustrate your topic.
Unsplash has been my go to site for a while (especially before I discovered Pexels). It’s library isn’t as deep as Pexels, but it is still pretty extensive and high quality. This seems especially true when it comes to landscape or nature images, if those suit your needs (though they have photos for pretty much any keyword). A tip for this site is that, if you can’t find what you want in the photos, dig through the collections - oftentimes this comes up with images that somehow didn’t show up in the initial search. Unsplash images do not require attribution.
I’ll admit to not using Pixabay much since I usually find what I want on the prior sites, but it does have a good selection of images that also do not require attribution. Some of the images are more graphics than photos, which can be useful too (and not typically found on the prior sites). That being said, the quality is much more mixed in my personal opinion.
Once you get past the slightly deceptive ads (for example, beware the search box that isn’t really a search for the site - that is found via the magnifying glass in the top navigation), Splitshire has some good imagery. Even more interesting, it has some (though very limited) stock video.
When all else fails, Flickr can be useful. There are thousands of images and the search let’s you refine to just images that are licensed for commercial or other uses (Google images does the same, but I’ve found it to be unreliable or just return Wikimedia images). The quality varies on Flickr, especially when you get to free to use images, but it can be especially useful for hard to find topics/keywords that the other sites simply don’t have. Keep in mind that, in my experience, the typical license on Flickr does require some sort of attribution.
Know any other good resources for images? Please share - I’m always on the lookout.