Images, visuals, videos, and infographics are being staples of nonprofit’s content strategy, especially for social channels. While Facebook recently launched a huge free stock photo archive for use in Facebook ads, finding compelling, high quality images that are low cost or free for image overlays, blog post and other channels can be difficult. I recently asked nonprofits on my Facebook brand page where they got their images. Here’s a round up of resources and advice.
It is important to respect copyright laws. It isn’t a good idea to just grab an image from Internet, tweak it, and call it your own. That’s not the definition of fair use. Some images are in the public domain and some of licensed through creative commons which can be used as long as you give proper attribution.
An excellent source of images is to take them yourself with your digital camera or mobile phone camera. If you practice some the basic photography rules, you should be able to DIY some good images for your content strategy.
I put together list of many resources for low cost or free stock images based on the recommendations from fans on Facebook, but here is a short list of the services more frequently mentioned as favorites from nonprofit folks.
1. Flickr Creative Commons – Flickr is a photo site but it offers creative commons licensing and you can use it combined with keyword searches to find an image. I’ve been using this method for almost ten years!
2. Microsoft Office Clip Art Collection – This collection includes a combination of photos and illustrations and if you ever used the clip art option in PowerPoint, these will look familiar.
3. Morgue File – This collection of photographs were freely contributed by many artists to be used in creative projects. This collection was started in 1996 and you will find many beautiful images here.
4. Photoshare – This collection focuses on images that depict international health as part of the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project and was funded by USAID
5. Wikipedia Public Domain Images – Wikipedia uses public domain images and has organized a collection with information on how the photos can be used and attributed.
6. Wylio – This is a searchable archive of public domain or creative commons licensed photos that bloggers can use.
7. Stock Exchange – This is a huge image archive of stock photos that are available for free.
These should get you started . I’ve pulled together a more comprehensive list of free or low cost stock images at list.ly.
What are your favorite sources for free or low cost images or illustrations?