5 Top Online Photography Resources

Rays of sun through cloudsThere’s an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, and it applies to new media too. Presentation is an important part of a good blog post. An appropriate, good quality photo can add context and interest to your post (and humour, too, if you like).

It can be hard, though, to track down an appropriate, high quality photo with a license that lets you re-use the photo for your own needs.

Here are five sites (and a couple more utilities) to try when you’re searching for photos online.


stock.xchng is a fantastic resource of over 350,000 high-quality free photos. I discovered this site a couple of months ago and haven’t really looked back. There are none of the casual snapshots that you encounter with many other sites, and all of the photos are available in high-quality. If no free shots take your fancy when you search, the site also provides links to low-cost professional alternatives. Be sure to check out the license for each photo, but I’m yet to find one that doesn’t let you re-use the image freely.


Most people are already familiar with Flickr, but they may not be familiar with a few services that make the site much more useful when you’re searching for useful images

Advanced Search – Perhaps the simplest route to take when you’re looking for photos for your site, Flickr’s advanced search lets you narrow your search using multiple criteria including date (useful for seasonal shots) and license.

Creative Commons – Flickr’s a great site, but it can be frustrating to search for ages, find the perfect shot then realize that you don’t have permission to use it. The Creative Commons search removes that worry. With over 25 million shots in the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License search alone, there’s plenty here to go on.

Compfight – Compfight is another cool utility that lets you narrow down your Flickr search. You can search by specific tags or text, by license type, and purely for photos that are available in a high resolution.


iStockPhoto is the one photography site where I actually buy photos. The site has over 3 million royalty-free stock images available for as little as $1. If the other sites don’t have something to fit your needs, the odds are that this one will. If you’re a decent photographer, you can make a few pennies on here too.


MorgueFile is an excellent resource of free stock photography, for personal or commercial use. Well worth a look. Don’t worry, it’s not as creepy as it sounds. The name derives from a term used by traditional artist and publishers as a place to keep reference material.


Image*After is another useful site, with perhaps the easiest-to-understand terms of use of any of these sites (other than creative commons licenses, anyway). Again, the photos on this site are free to use and redistribute, even for commercial projects.

These are my top sites for stock photography. What are your favourites?

Dave Fleet
Managing Director and Head of Global Digital Crisis at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.