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Digital Marketing

Places to Find Free Pictures That Communicate

By Merrilyn Astin Tarlton

Okay, I’ll say it and get it out of the way: “A picture’s worth a thousand words.” Trite as the aphorism may seem, it has been proven true time after time that a good solid image can be far more powerful than any block of text. Why do the most powerful speeches feature slides with absolutely no words — only images?

Start incorporating more pictures and images into all your communications — slides, presentations, papers, blog posts, social media, you name it! Not just any pictures, of course. Awesome pictures. Evocative images. Moving illustrations.

Get Your Free Pictures Here

Here are five great places to go (plus a bonus at the end that takes you to a whole lot more) to find powerful images to include in your marketing — and anything else — for free.

1. 335 million free stock photos! That’s what you’ll find at Lest you fear the torment of looking for just the right image for your purpose, be assured it’s beautifully and generously searchable (as are all of the sites identified today). Many of these gorgeous high-resolution images are sourced from Flickr and require attribution. But Fotor even makes that simple by providing the exact text to be used — just copy and paste it. Looking for something fun that says “working together” without words? I found this photo in less than two minutes:


Photo Credit: North Charleston via / CC BY-SA

2. Small but mighty. Offered free by photographer Ryan MccGuire, the less massive collection of images found at Gratisography offers a touch of humor and a lot of heart. Some of these images are quirky indeed. Again, no fee is involved, but Ryan does say that attribution is appreciated. Here’s an image that illustrates the concept of value:


Photo Credit: Ryan McGuire of Gratisography

3. Handpicked free photos to inspire. Magdeleine offers a petite but beautiful and inspiring collection of free photos hand-selected by the editor of the site. The functionality of this site takes a little figuring out, but once you do, be careful. You may get lost in the inspiring images. Because the images are curated from across the internet, make certain to check the need for attribution with each image. (Next time you make a presentation to clients about risk, you could use the Magdeleine image below.)

riskPhoto Credit: Josh Felise

4. Public domain images. Matt, a graphic designer from Athens, Georgia, grew tired of spending hours wandering all over the internet looking for images in the public domain for use in his web designs. So he created this repository where he can archive the high-quality images he finds across the web. He views Public Domain Archive as a hub for public domain images. You’ll find both vintage and contemporary pictures. This one, for example, could make a great title page for a brochure or slide presentation:


5. They would just sit on hard drives, anyway. Ed Gregory is a commercial photographer who likes to “give his photos away” at Stokpic. Why? He says he takes lots of photos and most of them will never be seen by anyone. So, since not everyone has hundreds of dollars to spend on photos for their projects, “Why not let people put them to use?” He’s expanded his site’s collection to include “sponsored photographers” and raises money by selling advertising. His beautiful, evocative images are still free, though he politely suggests you might include attribution. (If that makes you nervous, you can read Ed’s license agreement in both legalese and plain English.)

Concept Of Man Holding iPad In Front Of Face With Clouds And Countryside

Photo Credit: Ed Gregory

BONUS: 73 More Sites With Pretty Pictures

About now, you may be rubbing your hands together in anticipation of searching these five sites to turn your blog and social media posts into things of beauty. Hold that thought, because at this Canva page you’ll find a collection of 73 different sites where you can find free images — vintage and modern, buildings or nature, people or not. The collection is absolutely massive in the aggregate.

Put these sites to good use and enjoy being a person of few words — and powerful images!

Illustration ©

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Merrilyn Astin Tarlton Merrilyn Astin Tarlton

Merrilyn is the author of “Getting Clients: For Lawyers Starting Out or Starting Over.” She has been helping lawyers and law firms think differently about the business of practicing law since 1984. She is a founding member of the Legal Marketing Association, an LMA Hall of Fame inductee, and a past President of the College of Law Practice Management. Merrilyn was a founding partner of Attorney at Work. 

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