As a blogger who blogs about blogging, it’s imperative that I find cool looking blogging-related photos. While I do have a subscription to Storyblocks (which is only $149/year for unlimited downloads and completely worth it!), I like to find other website that offer free stock photography that I can’t get on my paid subscription. Sometimes I get tired of seeing the same images and want something fresh.
I got an email from DreamsTime (I guess I signed up for them at some point…probably to get some free stock photos among their paid subscription) and they were offering their “Free Image of the Week”…which honestly was kinda lame, but it piqued my curiosity and I went to their website and realized that even though they have an entire paid section (where the cooler photos are), they still have quite a collection of royalty-free photos that are actually free.
*Clicking on any photo will take you to the actual photo on Dreamstime you can download. I recommend getting it from them because my photos are cropped and KEY ELEMENTS that might be useful to YOU might be cropped out!
Also, as a side note, it’s nice to give credit (and on some images is required for royalty-free use) when using an image you didn’t pay for but have permission to use. NOTE: Do not download images from the web and post them to your site!
3 Tricks For Using Actually Free Royalty Free Photos
Using Old “Popular” Stock Images are “New” to Your Audience
So, most people will say if a photo is actually free (meaning it doesn’t have any known licensing attached to it) that means everyone and their dog has downloaded it and it might be kinda played out…but that’s not totally true.
The trick about the internet in general is that there are SO many royalty free stock photo websites, there are SO many budding photographers, that not every photo has been overused on social media. And even if it is, that doesn’t mean YOUR audience has seen it. I remember there was a certain photo of a baby that I used on the cover of my first devotional. It was on a popular stock photography site called Shutterstock. But since the paid subscription was from a major stock photo site, that photo started to be used EVERYWHERE! I was kinda ticked, but it happens. But the thing is…now you don’t see that photo anywhere! I could use it freely and it would look like a brand new high quality stock photo to the people today…even though it’s over 6 years old! People have short memories, ya’ll.
It’s kinda like fashion…it can come around again and the young people think it’s “all their idea” right?
Any photo can seem like a different photo based on how you crop it! In fact, over at Stock Shop, photographer Shay sent an amazing email out about how ONE photo can be cropped 30 different ways. I was riveted buy this challenge!
By the way, if you sign up for her email list, you get like 20 more free (and super cute) images.
If you have 20 images x 30 crops = 600 images you can use on social media! 600! What even!
To see an example of my own cropping of ONE images see below!
Levels, Curves, Contrast
I use Photoshop. I have for years. One of the easiest ways to make a stock photo look “different” than everyone else’s is by messing with levels. The general non-professional graphic design person might call this “tone”or something like that. Basically, it means you can make a photo look more reddish or blueish depending on what level you amp up.
Another thing you can mess with are curves, which means you can give it that hipster light washed out vibe. Also, you can make a boring stock photo look different by playing with other elements like contrast or exposure. I don’t use PicMonkey or Canva much so I can’t remember if they have these options, but if you download GIMP (a free open source Photoshop type software) it has these capabilities, I don’t remember if they are called the same things, but they are there.
50 Totally Free Blogging-Related Images for Bloggers
Click on ANY image and it will be linked to the download page (you might have to sign up first, but the images are still free!)