Creating Images is necessary for your website.
They make reading your content easier, it makes things more scanable and they add a bit of design, style and color. This is important because design should enhance your content. People don’t see the design and the content as two things. They see it as one thing, your website.
So the problem most have online is where to find images to use on your website and how to edit them. You can’t just steal images from other websites, you have to get permission (and if you do steal and the copyright owner finds out, they are within their rights to file a complaint with your web host to take it down. Let’s avoid that and use these wonderful resources below (both free and paid).
PLACES TO SOURCE IMAGES FROM
Canva (FREE and PAID)
Canva.com is one of my favorite new online resources. It’s a website that allows you to make trendy looking images and graphics using images you already have, or images provided by Canva using fun, creative looking templates. Canva now allows the average internet user to create professional looking graphics for blogs, social media and even ebooks for free or at a fraction of the cost of using a designer.
I use Canva and a combination of Unsplash or Pixabay to make all my thumbnails for blog posts.
UnSplash.com is super simple. They post 10 new high res, high quality images every 10 days. The images are free and you can do whatever you want with them. They also have an ever growing archive of free, beautiful images you can use. Check out the archive of all the images here.
If you’re going to use Unsplash, please note that you should also learn how to edit pictures as needed. Particularly, UnSplash images are high resolution, which means they are massive, large images. Usually 5000 x 5000 px. Way to big for your average website. You’re going to want to reduce the size to something more manageable like 700 x 700.
You’re also going to want to compress the image further so your website loads fast.
Pixabay is a search engine for fair use images. No attribution required. That means, you can find various images and use them in any way you like without giving the content creator of the image credit. Pixabay works the same way as UnSplash.com.
Another helpful feature of Pixabay is that you can also find video clips to use for free as well.
The old school image website. Flickr was much more popular before the likes of Instagram and UnSplash.com/Pixabay.com rose up.
With Flickr, most images require some sort of attribution. Which gets annoying having to link back to random Flickr profiles in your blog posts.
Flickr.com is also a decent place to find quality images but it takes a lot of searching…which is why I enjoy UnSplash more as all their images are stunningly beautiful while a lot of the higher quality images on Flicker are not available for use (you have to ask permission or pay a royalty). But with enough work, I’m sure you can find an image that is free to use among the 43 million images Flickr hosts.
IM Free (Free with attribution)
IMCreator.com is a website builder service that also offers a small directory of images, graphics and templates you can use for free. The images are categorized into such topics as business, ambient lighting, arts and music, lifestyles and so forth. The images are under a creative common licenses which typically means you can use the image for free as long as you give attribution (but check!).
500PX (Free and Paid)
500PX.com is a service that provides high quality free and paid images across all different types of subject matters. Their free images are released under a creative commons license like Flikr.com BUT the quality is much higher and it takes less time to find a decent image than it does on Flikr.
Gratisography.com is a website that provides free high quality, high res pictures that you can use for your personal use. No copyright, and new pictures are added weekly. Lastly, It’s run by Ryan McGuire so make sure to say thanks to him.
Getty Images (Paid)
GettyImages.com is a website specializing in stock photography, graphics and music. Their quality is quite high and so is their price. They typically target more of a corporate user than your typical webmaster or blogger.
Shutter Stock (Paid)
ShutterStock.com provides a similar service to GettyImages.com and there is not a lot separating the two except that Shutter Stock has a more massive library of vector graphics, stock photography and illustrations for your online work.
Big Stock (Paid)
BigStockPhoto.com is another stock image website selling vector graphics and pictures. They are not the biggest but they do have many items unique to their website. They’re worth checking out if you’re looking for a specific image. They also provide a free plan where you get one free image a month.
Pond5.com is my favorite paid website out of all of them. They are basically a digital market place for videos, vector images, music, sound effects, after effects (video editing software), 3D models and pictures.
Graphics editors allow you to compose raster images (look at MS Paint and zoom in on whatever you draw…see those little squares? That’s called a dot matrix data structure which help make up what’s called a raster image) with multiple layers. Layers being images on top of images (to keep it simple). The following are decent graphics editors that allow you to do some of the things you can do in Photoshop.
Pixlr is THE BEST free online graphics editor I’ve used. It’s feature rich, it comes in at 3 levels from simple picture editing all the way up to editing graphics. I use Pixlr all the time because of it’s ease of use and flexibility from adding frames to images to editing colors or adding text to composing images.
Ok, I’ll admit that GIMP is not a hosted online graphic editor like Pixlr, but it is a free open source downloadable piece of software. GIMP is complex like Photoshop, it’s been updated for the past decade and it’s a good free alternative to Photoshop though it tends to fall way behind Photoshop for a while and then it catches up with a big update.
I use Pixlr over GIMP. More so because I use Photoshop and when I don’t have access to Photoshop I just revert to Pixlr. A lot of people love GIMP however because of it’s open source nature and it’s effectiveness at editing and composing images.
Looking for a quick online image editor? You’re main option for simple image editing is BeFunky.com. Be Funky comes with a host of various color editing and text editing options and is ideal for the person looking to make some quick color changes to an image.