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How to Get Free Images and Prep Them for the Web

This article, the sixth in a series on content marketing, is a guest post by blogger Alicia Lawrence at MarComLand. Enjoy the read!

You need to appeal to visual learners and capture everyone’s attention with a stunning image. But how do you get these quality images and, more importantly, where are the free ones? Before you succumb to the cartoon clip art on your PC, think from your reader’s perspective. Would you take someone who used a clip art sketch seriously?

Score Free Images

There’s an entire industry devoted to providing images, and many stock photography sites include a wide selection of free possibilities. Stock images are large, high-quality and diverse: exactly what you need. These sites often also have images that come at a price, but you can filter these out. A few top-ranked stock photography sites include:

  • A free stock photography site catering to all industries and with a bevy of great images;
  • It’s just what the title sounds like, and another great alternative;
  • Don’t be put off by the name of this site because it’s filled to the brim with free images;
  • Only free images are available here, so don’t feel confined to the filters.
  • Flickr: Make sure you only choose the pictures in their Creative Commons. Simply go to the Advanced Search, type your query and click on the box by “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content.”

There are many more stock sites available, too. Always make sure to credit the source, preferably with a direct link. To credit, simply type under the photo in the post: “Photo: [name of person that links to original image]”

How to Prep the Images

If you choose a free stock site, it’s nearly guaranteed the images will be high quality. However, if you go another route or use your own images, you need to keep size in mind. The larger the size, the better the quality. At the very least, only choose images that are 800×800, and this is still a bit on the small size depending on your need. If you need to edit the images, consider:

  • This is a free website that’s user-friendly, requires no registration and allows users to crop, re-size and otherwise play with images;
  • PhotoShop: Photoshop isn’t easy to learn and comes with a price tag, but it’s the go-to software for graphic designers (for a free version try Gimp);
  • Similar to iPiccy, Lunapic is another free online option, so test them both out;
  • Instagram: The free Facebook acquisition has a variety of filters and appeals to younger crowds.
  • Pixlr: This smartphone app and free online program allows the user to manipulate and edit photos.

You’ll want to set up your web images differently than print. Images should be RGB (web colors) instead of CMYK (print). Also, the resolution of the image should be set to 72 DPI and saved as a JPEG.

The best way to prep images is to have as many eyes on the image as possible. Whether you’re photographing office desks for an inventory site or long term rehabs for a health blog, ask for help.