Flickr as source of free stock photos

Images are very important factor in blogging – they help make our blog nice visually, they can significantly improve our traffic stats by attracting visitors and are important factor in Search Engine Optimization. Unfortunately most of bloggers are not very good artists – even using good photo editor may not be good enough if we don’t have good photos, right? How to find them?

Solution to this problem are Stock Photos – directories of photographs licensed for specific uses.  There are dozens of sites specialized in selling Stock Photos across the internet. Prices are not high, but it’s still an expense which beginner bloggers would like to avoid. I had this problem when I started my blog about Poland – comevisitpoland.com, which relies heavily on the photographs of different places in Poland. We tried to use as many of our own photos, but unfortunately we couldn’t visit all locations we were writing about.

Fortunately Flickr launched their Creative Commons program, which allows users to set different licenses for their photos:

  • Attribution – author lets others distribute, copy, display and modify his work, as long as he is given credit for the original image.
  • Noncommercial – author lets others distribute, copy, display and modify his work as long as it’s not used for commercial purposes (I think blogs with ads are OK – but worth checking).
  • No Derivative Works – others can distribute, copy and display original work, not derivative works based on it.
  • Share Alike – author allows derivative works as long as they are shared under the same license as original.
Flickr - license types page
Flickr – license types page

How to find free stock photos using Flickr?

Finding free stock images under Creative Commons on Flickr isn’t hard, but you need to know where to look for them. Let’s say we want to find rooster image: we enter “Rooster” in the Search box on the top right and we get some generic results.

Flickr - standard search reasults
Flickr – standard search reasults

Now press “Advanced search” next to Search button – it will take you to the Advanced search page, where you can search by content type, media type and licenses – by ticking “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content“ box. Press Search button at the bottom and here they are – free stock photos under Creative Commons license.

Flickr - Advanced search page
Flickr – Advanced search page

If you want to download anything, click the image you want and go to the picture page, then click the picture again (when cursor is changed to the Magnifier) and press “All Sizes” on the right top. On next page you can select different sizes of the selected image, once you have size you are interested in, right click on the image and choose “Save Image As” (or however this function is named in your browser). Voila! You downloaded free stock image from Flickr!

Flickr - all sizes of photo
Flickr – all sizes of photo

Selection of images is not as huge as non-licensed ones, but usually you can get what you need – if you don’t, try to change your search phrase. One warning: there are license symbols on the right bottom of image page, you should check them for every image you download. The reason for it is that some of the images require license via Getty Images, which is rather expensive.

Flickr - getty license
Flickr – example of getty license

Flick is excellent source of free stock image photos – you can find almost anything without spending a penny. I can definitely recommend it to everyone!

Visit Flickr and get free stock photos now.

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