Featuring pictures on a blog post undoubtedly increases interest. Nothing is as off-putting to the modern internet user as a wall of text. You shouldn’t simply grab an image anywhere, however, as copyright issues can arise when you use images you don’t own. Through my college years, I was instructed to cite all the images I used in a presentation (though copyrighted images are legal to use for assignments that don’t leave the classroom). I didn’t know about free picture websites until I worked in the digital studio. Though I’m not covering all free picture resources in this post, I’ll share two that I use frequently. Using these sites to decorate your presentation, blog, etc. ensures you won’t face legal ramifications for your image choices.
Unsplash promotes photographers, and all the images are uploaded by their creators. Every image is free to use without citation. As you might imagine with an artist-oriented site, the images are trendy and exude an “Instagram vibe.” Think Tumblr-esque modeling photos evoking angst and work space perspectives featuring gold-trimmed notebooks arranged with a coffee mug. I must admit that their landscape pictures are stunning, though. The tab called “Collections” at the top contains Pinterest-esque albums of related images, which can be helpful.
Pixabay features many free images. The selection includes scenic images, stock photos, and more. Though some of the users appear to capture the images they upload, many users seem to have compiled the images from other sources. The user profiles resemble Pinterest profiles. Though I’ve seen some beautiful photos on Pixabay, its images are generally what you expect to see on the front of a Biology textbook or as the screensaver on library computers. In other words, while the images aren’t “cool” per se, they’re universally appealing.
Choosing Between Them
Whether I’m seeking a particular image or just browsing for a nice photo, I check both sites because they inevitably produce different results. The varying photo styles are appropriate in different situations. Though Pixabay is more “ordinary,” its photos are more pragmatically usable. I say Pixabay images are more usable because Unsplash photos feel more moody, and especially in professional settings, neutrality is preferable to moodiness. Though one could go overboard with super-trendy photos, I generally prefer the charm of Unsplash versus Pixabay for blogging because images that resemble stock photos are easy to overlook on the web.