There once was a time when finding images for your blog or website or other marketing materials was difficult and costly.

There were relatively few stock  photo sites and most were selling “rights managed” photos. This means you had to pay for the exact usage of particular photo (For example: On a brochure of which only 4,000 would be printed and distributed in the United States) and the cost was often several hundred if not thousands of dollars. Getty remains the largest site offering rights-managed images.

Eventually, other sites emerged offering “Royalty Free” images. These images could be purchased and used to your heart’s content. The images, while much less expensive, often required a investment in time to find quality photos that had not been over used. Popular sites include: iStockPhoto, ShutterStock, 123RF and Dreamstock.

As more time passed, and the popularity of blogging and content marketing grew, the need for photos rose. Thankfully, there are now a number of websites offering photos under various Creative Commons licenses. Some images might require attribution while others may not be used for commercial purposes. Thus it is imperative to be fully aware of the license details under which the rights to use  a photo are granted.

The newest license however, CC0, places no such limitations. Photos licensed under the Creative Commons Zero license are free for use for commercial or noncommercial purposes, without attribution. Some sites that have emerged offering high-quality, high-resolution images completely free of copyright restrictions include: Pexels, Life of Pix, Jay Mantri, Unsplash, PicJumbo, and Death to the Stock Photo. Be aware however that these free photos are used by a large number of websites which can have negative ramifications.

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